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Reviewing your options annually can protect your career, writes Anne WinckelMany of the senior lawyers I meet are so busy that they do not have time to think about whether or not they are on the…

Reviewing your options annually can protect your career, writes Anne Winckel

Many of the senior lawyers I meet are so busy that they do not have time to think about whether or not they are on the right career track. In fact, I have met a number of practitioners who reach retirement age and regret never taking on new challenges earlier.

In order to avoid regrets down the track, and in order to increase your level of certainty right now, there is wisdom in setting aside time on an annual basis to ask yourself some simple questions. In our company we call them "Delta Questions" because they help you navigate which potential stream you will take in your career journey.

Try out the following questions on yourself: Do you want to be in your current role when you reach retirement age? What is your current five year plan? What gives you most pleasure in your work? Can a Recruitment Consultant or a friend or a mentor assist you by acting as a sounding board? Can they make some confidential enquiries in the market to help you to assess your options? What will I kick myself for in six months time if I don't get onto it now?

It goes without saying that senior lawyers and executives are intelligent and talented individuals who are driven to achieve outstanding results. You are generally able to succeed no matter which road (or stream) you take. Hence it is sensible to double check where in fact you really want to put your professional energy. The danger is that you will say 'yes' to too much, and as a result, spread yourself too thinly. Asking yourself a series of "Delta Questions" each year can help you to stay focussed on your real priorities, as well as ensuring that your career path does not end up a career rut.

Anne Winckel is the managing director at Delta Partners - Legal & Executive Search.

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