Say Goodbye to Year-long Career Resolutions

by Courtney Liss, PLEN Board of Directors, Trial Lawyer, Keker, Van Nest, & Peters LLP

It's the end of January. You've spent all month hearing about resolutions: whether about how important it is to set them or how most people quit theirs by January 17 of each new year. Maybe you've wondered if you should be setting them for your career in the new year. In my experience, a year is a long time, especially for young professionals. A goal you set at the beginning of the year may not resonate with you midway through the year - maybe you've got a promotion, left for an exciting new opportunity, or decided to pursue more education. Instead, I find a lot of success in setting smaller goals that I can chase each month - and reward myself when I hit them, of course.

Making these goals means thinking about what your overall goals are - for the year, or for your career (at this time!) -  and figuring out what a small step in that direction would look like. 

For example, my big goal this year is to get more clarity on what I want out of the next five to ten years of my career - essentially, my goal is to set a big goal. I currently work at an amazing trial litigation law firm and love it. But is my goal to stay and try to become a partner? And if so, what kinds of cases and opportunities should I be seeking out to build a practice I really love? If that's not my goal, what kinds of exit opportunities should I be looking for? When I start to ask myself these questions, I realize that getting more information will help me figure out what kinds of big goals I want to set.  

So my February goal is to have coffee or a phone call with three different people, each representing a different career path: a partner at my firm that I really admire, an attorney in private practice doing a totally different kind of work from what I do, and a third attorney working in the government. Setting this goal at the beginning of the month means I can go ahead and get those coffees on the calendar and start brainstorming the sorts of questions I need to ask. 

At the end of the month, I'll check in, see if I hit my goal of three coffees, note what I learned, and use that to make a smarter March goal that matches my learnings so far. Plus, if I hit my goal, I'll get myself a little treat.

What small goals are you setting this month? Share on social with #PLENNetwork. 

Courtney liss

Board Member, Trial Lawyer, Keker, Van Nest, & Peters LLP

Courtney Kiss serves as a board member for PLEN. She is a trial lawyer in San Francisco, California at Keker, Van Nest, & Peters LLP. She previously completed a federal appellate clerkship on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Courtney also serves as a mentor for The Appellate Project.

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