You may be wondering, what does taking responsibility for your own career have to do with making partner? Surely it’s your firm’s responsibility to help your career progress? Well, yes and no. At the end of the day, it is your responsibility to drive your own career.
Your firm can help you to get to where you want to go, but you have to be in the driving seat.
To find out whether partnership is actually right for you, it’s crucial for you to know what you want or, don’t want; and how what you are doing relates to what you really want from your career. That’s why you need to be in the driving seat, rather than your firm. More importantly, if you don’t actively build a career you love chances are you will not be fulfilled and not work at the peak of your ability – something you will need if you are going to achieve partnership in today’s modern professional service firm.
We have worked with numerous partners who are not passionate about their work, clients and their lives – it’s just a job with onerous responsibilities, demands and pressures albeit well paid.
In our experience, many professionals do not take responsibility for their careers because they believe that their career path is established. Their thinking is that basically, if you do a reasonable job, stay out of trouble (i.e. don’t annoy a client or partner), then career progression will take care of itself. Unfortunately advancement within professional service firms no longer works that way. Hammering this point again, it has to be you taking responsibility for your career. This is why taking responsibility for your career is a key theme of our book ‘How to make partner and still have a life‘. Being very honest with you, you are not at school now, so the only person responsible for creating the career and life you want is YOU. Whilst your firm can help you to achieve your career aspirations, your firm is not responsible for your success. Only you can achieve the success you crave. If you are going to achieve the life you want, you will need to take charge of your role at each stage of your career. This means, for each job, regularly making time to set goals, make plans to achieve these goals and assessing progress against these goals. You will know you are taking responsibility for your career when you:
- Accept that you are in the driver’s seat
- Have identified what you want to achieve, both inside and outside of work
- Have established a plan, with actions and a timeframe
- Are moving forward against the plan, checking progress at intervals and making adjustments if needed
- You, and only you, can drive your career forward.