Well, the summer is officially here! However, for some reason, June always reminds me of school and university law exams! I remember all the months leading up being filled with nothing but revision, and I just couldn't wait for June to be over. The pressure!
Even though I stopped taking exams a few years ago, I still remember that horrible uncertainty of what questions may come up and whether or not I was prepared enough. As well as the battle of trying to stay positive, along with the shear dread of "have I forgotten to revise something?" Is this all coming back to you too?
An exam every day
My parents would naturally always say “just do your best” and “go for it”! They would remind me that one day when I work, it would be like having an exam every day. I would always brush their comments under the carpet and tell them how things have changed since their day!
I mean how can work be an exam every day? Even if it were, at least we would be getting paid to take them!
Since graduating and being in employment for a few years, I can (reluctantly) understand what my parents were trying to tell me, as there are some similarities. Let me explain.
Firstly, you always want to do your best (I hope you do anyway) in your job. You should have a desire to succeed and do well, to achieve that A* or the equivalent of that promotion!
Secondly, everything has a deadline. In your exams, you would be answering a question within a time limit depending on how many marks you would get. Similarly, lawyers have strict deadlines to adhere to, as the consequences can be rather disastrous if things are missed! Sorry to remind you if you have ever had a strike out or a judgment entered!
Thirdly, each exam you did was a new challenge. So it didn't matter what you did yesterday, it's what you did today that counts. That's where planning and preparation is key!
Fourthly, exams can be stressful, just like work. Did you ever have that blank moment of not knowing an answer just for a split second, followed by the relief of the knowledge all coming back to you? Well, try standing in front a judge asking you questions on the spot. Just as daunting! However, organisation and practise makes perfect.
Fifthly, I weirdly used to get a buzz when the right question would come up in the exam (nerd alert!), and you just know you answered it correctly. In work, when something well happens in the day, you get the same good feeling! Nevertheless, ask yourself... Is that positive feeling rewarded by the powers that be?
Sixthly, remember the night before an exam? That horrible, sickly feeling in your stomach and, of course, the nervous walk into the exam hall with the line of tables and chairs, which is equivalent to you walking through those office doors and sitting down at your desk. If you're having that fear and dread every day of walking into your office, please stop and re-evaluate your life!
Get your mojo back
Ultimately, if you are reading this, you have probably had similar experiences to me. You have been in non-stop education, you've taken and passed countless exams, and you probably thought that those fears and feelings would have been left behind as soon as you started working in the legal job of your dreams… Well… Have they?
If you have lost your passion to do well in your job, your stress levels are constantly as rocket high as the good old days of academia (which let me tell you, isn't normal), you can't even remember when the last time you had a buzz about your role was, and/or you dread going into work every day, then please ask yourself the question ‘why?’ What is the reason?
It may be that you need a new challenge, and that's when I am here to assist. I am from a legal background myself, having worked at two top 50 UK law firms. I understand fully the pressures and demands of the legal profession, as I've been there! Luckily, I provide free, confidential advice to candidates. Sometimes it's good to let it all out and have a good chat about things. Let's go over what you really want. Life is too short to be in a job you don't enjoy, so please do something about it! Let's get your mojo back, because work doesn't always have to be a chore and it certainly doesn't have to be a horrible exam every day!