“Just graduated? Congratulations! What are you up to? Oh, you’ve not found work yet? It’s tough out there! What are you doing in the mean time?”
Most of us are eventually faced with a variation of this conversation; explaining to some distant relative or acquaintance that you don’t have your official post-grad job in law lined up and that you’re trying your hardest to find that graduate entry position.
The period between getting your first break as a solicitor and finishing your legal study is not only awkward to discuss with others but tough to deal with emotionally. The pressure to have your life sorted by the time you finish your degree or to secure your dream job pronto is huge, and when you fail to do so, panic, depression and/or anxiety sets in.
Though it’s normal to feel this way, a good way of coping is flipping the script and seeing the gap between finishing your studies and getting your first break as a great opportunity to take a break before entering the workforce and pursue new opportunities and achieve great things.
If there's a place you've always wanted to visit, now is a great time to do it. There aren't many times in your professional life when you will have month long gaps to travel so take advantage of cheaper travel times in off-seasons and hit up your dream destination.
Maybe you aren’t getting those legal jobs because your resume isn’t up to scratch. Take the time now to volunteer somewhere relevant to your career or pick up part-time work in an adjacent position. Starting a side business is great for developing and demonstrating commercial acumen, and picking up a team sport is great in showing you are a team player.
Pursue the Long Lost Dream
Everyone has pipe dream or passion they never got to pursue or experience fully. Time is short and even more so when working full-time, so do your future self a favour and finish that painting, write the novel, get the abs, learn to fix the car, run the marathon or whatever else you can dream of.
Explore other Career Paths
Taking a turn down a different road into another job until you can find the legal one you want isn’t a compromise. Give your secondary degree a look and see what it can offer you. If nothing else, it will help bolster that bank account and give you another resume filler.
For some, this might be a step backwards because the law degree is as qualified as you need to be to get a job, but if you want a specialisation or want to target a niche area, consider post-graduate studies.
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