Nick Augustine, J.D., is the principal of Pro Serve Public Relations, a PR firm serving the law and finance industries. Nick advises and assists attorneys in transition based on his experience in law, legal marketing, public relations, and his Secured Solo Practice model. Nick shares career growth strategy and experience with legal job seekers.
Attorneys in transition face unique challenges. If we are right out of school, the student loans take priority. If we lose an associate position, the mortgage and kids are first in line to get paid. If we decide to go solo or look for another job, the clock ticks loudly while the student loans, mortgage and kids have to balance.
If you are looking for more work, be smart with your time. Here are six tips for managing your time when you’re in an employment crisis:
1) Billable versus non-billable hours. Take your “work” day seriously, even if you have no work. If you spend an eight hour day looking for work, you are likely to find work quicker. Too often people get lazy and disgruntled with the job search and only spend the first couple weeks hitting the pavement. If you have a part time income opportunity, then spend your remaining daytime hours hunting for more work. Save your “non-work” matters for the evenings or weekends.
2) Spot “real” opportunities. If you really need money, do something that really produces money. You cannot pay the bills with promise and good intentions. Many lawyers in transition take on other and non-legal work to get the bills paid when necessary.
3) Work with real opportunities. People who are currently working are usually more focused, decisive and appear confident. In a crisis, where people are desperate, they are more likely to appear flustered and weak. Avoid higher-paid but non-ideal positions if you will not be happy or perform well if because you are not passionate about the work.
4) Develop ideal goals. While covering your bases, spend time in the evening or early morning with your goals for the ideal situation. The people who say you can do anything are correct. If you set your goal, make a plan, work the plan, you will meet or exceed your goals. Your plan should be specific and during your “work” day, you should track your time and activities while working towards ideal goals.
5) Evaluate your progress. By tracking your time you can later examine different activities. Ask yourself, “Did this hour move me closer to my goals?” Notice how much time you spent on activity likely to move closer to goals. Also, notice the amount of your time that sucked away by “time wasters” and procrastination.
6) Be honest with yourself. Joining a pro bono effort is a good way to meet people and earn future opportunities. Joining five pro bono efforts is a guarantee you will look independently wealthy. When between jobs it is easy to say yes to people who value your time. Focus on people who can pay for your time.