• Gerard Petersen

Has the music died in your Partner career ?

“As satisfying and safe as it can feel to have mastered a craft, it also can be a sign that it’s time to learn a new trick.  It’s the known an artist should fear, not the unknown” 

This was one of the messages that leapt out at me when reading an excerpt from Ben Folds’ new book “A Dream about Lightning Bugs’ in the most recent Weekend Australian Magazine - https://www.theaustralian.com.au/weekend-australian-magazine/ben-folds-can-an-ageing-muso-still-make-pop-music

It struck me that like our taste in music, things naturally change throughout the course of our career and life cycle. Amongst many things, the business environment changes and we change as individuals.  For lawyers for instance, this includes the type of work you derive satisfaction from doing, the sort of clients you enjoy helping, the type of relationship you want with clients, the environment you prefer working in, the culture that you thrive in, what motivates you, your priorities, etc.  These will never remain static throughout your legal career.

I’ve been having this type of discussion with several Partners of late, helping them understand exactly why they felt “in a professional rut” & unsatisfied, despite having mastered their craft. There’s nothing abnormal about this, it’s natural, it’s just what happens throughout a career life cycle, particularly in our mid/late-30’s to mid/late-40’s, when we often start to feel it more acutely.

So, what do you do ?  Resist change, let boredom take root, get stuck in the rut of the well-lit areas, as Ben Folds wisely provokes ? And then try as best you can to deal with the professional, personal, familial and financial consequences that often follow?  Or, do you choose to accept the change and do something positive about it ?

It takes real courage and a clear understanding of what is important to you in life and career to effect positive change, but the former is not a sustainable proposition.

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