In the world of rezooming a professional career, learning how to navigate re-entry may require trusting your instincts. In January 2016, Sarah Feingold, In-house Counsel at Etsy, Inc., spoke about her journey from unhappily employed lawyer to In-house Counsel. Etsy, Inc., an arts/crafts sales platform, is a 2 billion dollar in gross sales public company. Her first statement to attendees as the keynote speaker was, “Trust Your Instinct.” (Registration required)
This may be difficult for those of us who pride ourselves on being realistic. However, your desire to be practical may also limit your trajectory. If you include intuition in your rezooming scheme it may provide additional information you have overlooked. Do you dismiss opportunities that available but seemingly unattainable?
Feingold’s talk, given at the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Women in the Law Annual Presentation (Registration required), listed all the reasons why you need to take a more careful look and steps toward an intuitive suggestion. Although Feingold was speaking to a group of women, and a few very smart men, her message was not limited to women. She spoke from the heart about getting the dream job because you allowed yourself to dream and act on those dreams. My 3 Steps that Help You Trust Your Intuition is an encapsulation of Feingold’s talk. It will work for every rezoomer.
Trust Your Intuition. It will show you where to start. It may be where you left off or, like me, show you that where you were no longer serves you. If you are struggling with getting restarted, allow yourself to think outside the old box and create something new for yourself. Feingold called it, “creating opportunities.” Feingold, a jewelry artist, found herself in a legal job that did not help fellow artisits. As she looked for places to sell her jewelry, she found that Etsy did not list an In-house counsel on its website. She emailed Etsy’s CEO and told him he needed an In-house counsel and offered to interview for the position. She was on her way to an interview and he hadn’t even realized he needed her. She interviewed and the rest, as they say, is history.
Know who to ask for guidance. These are the people in your life who can answer the questions that come up. We all have mentors by now, right? Make sure you have them help you move forward and reality check with a view toward not crushing your instincts.
Ms. Feingold told the audience she was not sure she actually knew what to do next once she was hired by Etsy. However, step two kicked in; she trusted herself and her mentors, “all the brains you have and all the brains you can borrow.”* Together and alone, doing mounds of research, she navigated how an Etsy In-house counsel would progress. She built her position from the ground up. Both she and Etsy grew together.
Focus upon the opportunities you have identified that fit your rezooming trajectory. These steps are key to your success. Sarah Feingold identified this last strategy as welcoming, “no.”* It clarifies how to proceed to succeed and adjust to advocate for your desired end results.
If you find opportunities and they resonate with you (like Etsy did with Feingold) a path to pursue them will come. It is up to you not to stand in the way. Jump fearlessly into the deep end of the pool. If you stop and weigh all the pros and cons you will jump too late or not at all. You need to trust that you have the skill or will to master the job.
How do you implement these three strategies? You first must ask yourself, how do I create opportunities in the legal arena that I want to pursue? See what comes to you intuitively as an answer. Explore those ‘pie in the sky’ opportunities. Then decide what resonates and go for it.
Once you do, remember it is very important to gently but firmly advocate for yourself. You have to balance your left and right brain. Do what you love doing as well as what you are good at. Don’t limit yourself to things you are good at. If your passion shows you a way to evolve into a new area, dive in.
These three steps are all about what it is you want to do, believe you can do and are willing to do no matter what stands in your way. It is important to envision yourself in a position before you even get it. Sarah Feingold did and was not completely surprised when she was hired by Etsy. You can approach and get any job you want if you can first imagine yourself sitting in the seat at the office.
Say yes to opportunities that come your way, whether or not they meet your vision. They may be necessary steps that you need to explore. Get out there, find your balance and do things that are on and off your path toward future opportunities. Once you get clarity about what you don’t want to do, greater clarity about what you do want to do crystalizes.
In closing, Feingold asked us all to be kind. Nothing is so great that you cannot be kind to someone working with you or speaking to as you look for a new job. There is always enough to go around in every arena of the law. Your peers and colleagues will quickly see you as a giver in your kindness and in return give back to you.
Trust your instinct. Be fearless; exploit and explore the opportunities you see and make sure you advocate for yourself. This is the imaginative way of handling your rezooming. Now get out there, let your mind roam freely and rezoom your legal career.
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®.