We know careers are rarely linear, yet that doesn't make the unexpected twists and turns any less daunting when they happen. Olivia Moore, our Careers & Wellbeing Manager, discusses the career concerns cropping up due to the effect of the pandemic and asks if you have a story to share of an unexpected career journey that could help others for our new careers blog series.

Concerns about careers have naturally been high on people’s agenda this year, whether it’s through loss of job security or facing an unexpected career shift.

When we think about those who have had their careers adversely affected, we rightly think first about those who have been made redundant or the students unable to secure their first graduate role or traineeship.

Yet, even for people not facing unemployment, the pandemic and economic uncertainty can still stir up all sorts of career concerns.

For example, some trainees may not get to do the seat that they were desperate for at the start of their traineeship, due to changing business need, and are now worried they’ll never get a NQ job in the area of law they’re so passionate about.

Some solicitors may have been eager to make their next career move this year, perhaps having been working for years towards progression or to fit work better around family life. Others might have been finally ready to take the plunge, moving to a different employer and changing the course of their career, but the pandemic has meant the demand has gone or the market is saturated with candidates.

While job security may have the greatest impact of all, having your long-held plans put on hold or knocked off course can still have a big influence on your motivation and how you feel.  It’s hardly surprising that it can make us feel out of control, especially as lawyers have no option but to plan their careers from a young age. Indeed, the Scottish Young Lawyers Association recently ran some research into the impact of Covid-19 on new lawyers and found that more than 97% of respondents had concerns about the impact on their career development.

Yet, we know that, often, careers can take unexpected turns. That’s not something we can plan for, it’s just something we have to adapt to.

Being able to secure your perfect role at any one time isn’t always a reality, particularly in a tough job market, but it doesn’t mean that your career is doomed. It might mean you’re off the path you expected, but the tangents can often be what really enrich our careers. All we can do is explore the opportunities we have, measure up the pros and cons and make a decision to move forwards and give something a try.

Sometimes there are too many stories out there that don’t address failure or challenge, but this is the very reality of (if we’re being honest, ALL) career journeys at some stage.

You might be reading this and thinking that one of these scenarios above rings a bell. In which case, we’d love to hear from you for our new careers blog series, focused on unplanned careers shifts.

Perhaps you have a story of how an unexpected job came up and led you down a path you had never thought about. Or maybe you took on a non-legal role at a stage in your career. Or perhaps you struggled to secure a traineeship or a NQ job in the last recession.

Whatever your story, we’re looking for your messages of optimism, inspiration and practical advice.

If you’d like to contribute or find out more, please get in touch with me at oliviamoore@lawscot.org.uk. The blog series will launch in January 2021 and run throughout the year, so even if you would like to do something later in the year, please do register your interest and we’ll find you a slot that suits you.

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Redundancy and unemployment support

Guides and resources for employees and employers including redundancy procedures and entitlements, managing your finances and finding a new job.

Career support and advice

We have a dedicated careers team, who provide advice on employability skills, entry to the profession and career growth.