Most of the news about associate retention is cast in negatives — quoting, for example, that 60-62% of entry-level associates will have left their firms by the end of their fourth year in practice. What if changing jobs more frequently is simply a fact of modern life? Or the result of dual career couples, the consequence of frequent moves from one city to another, or an indication of refusal to settle for a career or lifestyle?
Although the thoughts don’t transfer entirely to law, Penelope Trunk, the Brazen Careerist, has an interesting post today titled Make Life More Stable With Frequent Job Changes. The thrust of the post is that most new employees today will change jobs every two years (that’s what I find difficult to apply to a legal practice), will start adult life by moving back into their parents’ homes, and “will say that money is not their number one concern in evaluating a job.” Trunk argues that the old paths to stability no longer work and that job-hopping is the new way to be stable, which she defines as “knowing you have a life where you can do what you love, during your whole life, not just at the end.”
Trunk identifies 5 ways to use frequent job changes to build stability. Whether you change jobs once or repeatedly, most of these are excellent suggestions:
1. Build up a strong skill set quickly.
2. Get good at making transitions.
3. Make the most of the in-between-jobs time.
4. Get out of paying your dues. (If you find a way to do this in law, forget practice and write up your methodology instead. If it really works, you’ll be a prize-winning author. I’ll remain skeptical.)
5. Keep your finances in order.
Watch for upcoming posts that will wrestle with the question of whether it’s possible to find career stability — meaning, satisfaction, rewards in whatever metric(s) apply to you — without changing jobs so frequently. Perhaps it will surprise no one that I think the answer is unreservedly, yes!