I’ve got an open secret to share. This is especially directed to the lawyers in the house…
…most people do not bill their hours.
What that means is this: when you are looking to change your job and life, many, many people will be happy to talk with you.
They don’t see it as costing them anything. In fact, often they see it as a benefit.
Whether it’s over a cup of coffee, a phone call, Zoom or Skype…People are happy to share their experiences and their stories.
Everyone has had moments of indecision.
Everyone has had moments of doubt.
Everyone has had to find their way to where they are in their life now and most people are happy to talk about it.
Many women lawyers are not used to this. Time is money when you bill every minute. That’s the way they grew up in their professional careers.
But once you step into this parallel reality, here is what you can do if you are curious about someone’s work or career:
1. Send an email.
Send an email to someone you’ve been introduced to, met, or whose work or career you admire. If you can get an introduction, do so. It not, reach out anyway.
Tell them something genuinely complimentary about their work, writing or the impact they make. Ask if they have 20 minutes to speak with you.
I have sent emails to total strangers. Maybe I saw an article about them, or read a blog post that they published. Almost all of them have been happy to find time to talk with me. Some are now great colleagues.
2. Set a mutually convenient time to talk for 20 to 30 minutes.
That’s all you need.
3. Prepare the following questions. These are adapted from Liz Brown’s Life After Law…a great read if you haven’t already.
- How did you get into this line of work?
- What do you like best about it?
- What do you wish you had known more about before getting into this field?
- Who else should do you suggest I speak with?
Note: you do not need to sell yourself. There is no selling involved. This is not business development. This is YOU development. Be curious. Ask questions. Take notes.
4. Send a thank you note or email. Or both!
Conversations are key to making the changes you want in your life. They unlock ideas and open opportunities, they take you to places you never knew you could go.
And it doesn’t cost anyone anything. In fact, everyone comes out richer.