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How to exit your job

Written by: Ruth Fenton
Published on: 11 Oct 2016

Very few people now have a job for life. Law is a great example of a flexible career because lawyers gain so many transferable skills. So what happens when the bubble bursts? Do you have an exit strategy?


Most people have a pretty good plan for finding a new role, but very few have a plan for a sudden redundancy or losing their job. Having a backup plan can save a lot of stress, time and money. Post-Brexit some firms are downsizing, so now is a good time to plan ahead.

Sometimes losing your job can be a good thing. Why? Because it forces you to take action and control. Many people don’t actually like the job they are doing. It’s safe, it pays the bills so they put up with it when they could be doing something they really love at higher pay, better hours etc.

Ruth Fenton

Ruth Fenton

Giving a job loss a positive spin can help prevent depression and loss of confidence. You accept the situation quicker rather than dwelling on it. This gives you more energy to find something new.

Seven key considerations for your exit strategy

  • If your boss gave you your marching orders today what would the impact be? Do you have saving in place to pay your mortgage? What impact does it have on your family? Speaking to a financial advisor should help put your mind at rest and help you save for a rainy day. You may also consider income protection insurance.
  • Who are your supporters? Being out of work can be very stressful so you need all the support you can get. Lawyers sometimes find it hard to ask for help. If you feel you can’t ask friends and family, your GP or organisations such as LawCare who assist legal professional facing personal and professional problems will be able to point you in the right direction.
  • What can you be doing right now to get the experience you need to get to the next level in your career? Think two steps ahead. What is your end goal? If you get the experience for your next move now, this will allow you to apply for lateral moves and promotions doubling your chances of success.
  • Gather praise and positive feedback as you work. If the worst happens this should give you confidence and show you where your strengths are. You can also show the encouraging comments to prospective new employers.
  • Keep your options open. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the market, check in with recruitment agents now and again. In challenging times law firms tend to move quickly. Roles may not be advertised for long, if at all.
  • Handing in your notice may be met with anger, disappointment and jealousy. So be prepared, professional and don’t take the reaction personally. Personal growth won’t happen without change and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Remember you have to do what is right for you and your family.
  • Whenever you leave a firm, do it on good terms. In the future ex-work colleague can be your greatest resource. Firms are keen to tempt back good employees as they understand sometimes they cannot offer you what you need, at that particular point in your career. Having already invested in you, they know you are a good bet.

Best wishes for your next exciting career move!