It’s better to give before you receive. And never keep score. If your interactions are ruled by generosity, your rewards will follow suit.
Carroll Welch, an attorney turned career coach, views the quote above as a guiding principle by which you should plan your career. And she has walked the walk. Carroll stepped away from her career as a large firm litigator and employment lawyer for eight years to raise her three children, now 23, 19 and 16. She loved the law firm experience that she’d had, including the high level of professionalism and great pro bono opportunities. In particular, she loved the dynamic, constantly changing nature of employment law and its focus on the workplace.
“One’s relationship with work is so important…it’s like a marriage,” according to Carroll, who grew up in Queens as a member of a hardworking family, with a father who worked multiple jobs to support his family. “Work was validating, and a part of your identity,” she describes. Even when not practicing law, Carroll enjoyed reading about work-related issues and careers, including NYT columnist Adam Bryant’s Corner Office column, as well as Sue Shellenbarger’s in the WSJ. She also loved reading obituaries that described the ‘amazing paths’ of people’s careers.
In 2008 Carroll decided to return to the paid work world. Her endeavors to rezoom found her networking with all those in her current sphere of influence. She credits networking for opening the door to an opportunity at the career services office of the Elizabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. After a year there, she transferred to Pace’s New Directions attorney re-entry program where she wore several hats including externship and program development, and counseling and coaching the attorney-participants to successfully navigate their way back into the law or alternative legal careers.
Carroll enjoyed the coaching and counseling aspect of her work at Pace immensely and sought coaching certifications to aid in being able to provide this support. In 2013, she opened her private practice, Carroll Welch Consulting, through which she helps her clients, in legal and other industries, plan and reach their career goals. She feels that her expertise in helping professionals in transition is a key strength.
Three tips that Carroll often shares with her clients about their career planning are:
- Be proactive. Have a vision for yourself. Where do you want to be in five years? 10 years? See it and plan the steps that you’ll need to take to get there. It’s important and instructive to have a vision. Having a vision is the only way to make achieving your long-term goals a reality.
- Engage. You cannot make a career transition without getting out and talking to people, engaging with them, finding experiences to help you advance yourself or increase your credibility. Attend programs and conferences to obtain current information and receive feedback on your ideas. Get comments from those doing what you would like to do or whom you trust.
- Be generous. While advancing your own career, operate on a principle of generosity. Be of service. Be generous in any way you can. You will reap the rewards tenfold. Carroll notes the extraordinary generosity she has witnessed in the legal profession with many attorneys helping each other, mentoring junior attorneys or ‘paying it forward’. Being both a recipient and sharer of generosity is one of the most important aspects of a rezooming attorney’s career. If you live by this adage you will succeed.
Now get out there and rezoom.
All opinions, advice, and experiences of guest bloggers/columnists are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, practices or experiences of Solo Practice University®.