Career Transitions (aka Ch-ch-ch-changes)…

career transitions - tips and advice2017 update: I still stand by the advice below! You may also want to check out our latest posts on changing careers

Reader D suggests a thread about changing jobs and types of jobs — career transitions in general!…

I recently transitioned from a biglaw firm job into an in-house position, and have gotten loads of questions from people wondering how I did it. In my case, it was actually quite random and serendipitious, but I thought it might be cool to encourage readers to share their stories on how they made the transition from one type of work to another. From what little I know of you, it sounds like you made a career transition, and likely have tips/insights to share with readers.

Great topic.  I think that, while the on-campus recruiting at law schools and MBA schools is amazing (and let’s be honest, one of the main things you pay for when you get a higher degree), I think that so many people end up in Big Companies because of that recruiting — and then have little to no idea how to make that next step.  Better opportunities, better lifestyles, and better careers can be had if you make career transitions, though.  (Pictured:  Change, originally uploaded to Flickr by busy.pochi.)

I’ve made a few transitions, I guess, and I have to agree with reader D – serendipity plays a big part! But I do like to think of the old quote that “Chance favors the prepared mind” — you can only take advantage of those opportunities if you’re ready to for them.

  • Networking helps… for example, when I was transitioning from journalism to media law, I cold-called the only two media lawyers I knew: the general counsel of Gruner + Jahr USA, the company where I was working at the time, and a former colleague’s uncle who worked at People (a fact my former colleague mentioned once in conversation).  I asked both for 15-20 minutes of their time as I was headed off to law school, offering to come to their office — and both took me out for long lunches where they told me their tips on law school, shared their paths to success, offered advice for what they would do if they were beginning again — and both asked me to keep in touch (which I did).  I wound up getting my 1L internship through Nick (the uncle), who recommended a non-profit that *everyone* knew in the media law bar.  (It was then called Libel Defense Resource Center, but is now called Media Law Resource Center, and is my current employer.)  After spending the summer there, I had met lots of other media lawyers (many of them senior folks at major media companies) — and had heard a particular firm’s name come up many times, which was where I worked for 6 years after law school.
  • …but timing is key also. After I started at my firm, I had an “in house or bust” mentality.  If I had been more attuned to the news in the media world, though, I’d have realized that media companies were HURTING, both because of the economy and this new-fangled Internet thing.  There weren’t very many jobs that were being created at major media companies, and the people who had those jobs were so happy in them that they were clinging on for dear life.  If I’d been smarter, I would have assessed the environment and realized I should have gone to a smaller firm and kept the dream of “in house” for a later day.  Luckily, I landed at an amazing non-profit job — writing about media law matters and working with some of the top lawyers in the space, particularly on the digital side.
  • Guts are needed. It takes big, big guts to leave a “known thing” (no matter how bad it is!) and head to an unknown, new thing, particularly if your lifestyle may be very different either because of hours (more or less), or money, or commute.  It’s one thing to pursue the job, but another to actually take it.

I’m actually in the midst of a transition right now — in December, I gave notice at my law job.  Corporette had been growing for a while, and it’s gone from requiring 2-3 daily hours of writing to more like 5-6 hours of writing, networking, e-mailing — and that’s just to maintain the site at its current level, not even to think about other projects (like the book I want to write!).  I struggled for a long time with this question:  was it time to jump, and leave behind the career that I’d been pursuing for 10+ years, and leave a job that was perfect for me?  I hemmed and hawed for a long time, but ultimately decided that I wanted to pursue Corporette.  So, in about a week, I’ll have my last full-time day at my job (and I’ll be part-time through the MLRC/Stanford conference on May 19-20).  Honestly, I couldn’t have done it without, as mentioned above,

  • networking — every time I meet full-time bloggers I’m blown away by how savvy, smart, and entrepreneurial they are.  The ladies I know through Style Coalition, as well as the other bloggers I know, never cease to inspire me.
  • timing — I probably jumped too late, to be honest!  I’ve been maintaining almost two jobs for far too long!  (I’m looking forward to reintroducing myself to this thing called “exercise.”)
  • guts — wooooo were guts needed.  First Amendment lawyer to fashion blogger?  A lot of the people I know through my legal career have been incredibly supportive, though (as well as my amazing husband!), and it helped me summon the courage.

Ok — enough about me.  Readers, what are your best tips for career transitions? Those of you who have landed at cushy jobs, tell us how you got them!!  Those of you who made leaps and regretted them, we want to hear from you too — what lessons can you pass on?

career transitions - how to get the guts to change careers


  1. Whoa. Congratulations! Huge step!

  2. Bravo Kat! You rawk!

  3. Congrats, Kat!!!!!! We are all looking forward to much more Corporette!! :)

    I have only transitioned from biglaw to small law, but in the future I am looking forward to starting a trust-company-like law firm, and have a joint venture or whatever with my husband’s investment mgmt company….but when to do that? We would need health insurance, etc.

  4. A Huge Fan :

    Kat, this post is so inspiring!! Go you!! I think I check your site about 15 times a day. :) I’m excited to know that you’re going to spend more time developing this site.

    • Glad I am not the only one checking frequently

      • SF Bay Associate :

        All. Day. Long ;) There’s not many woman around here, so it’s nice to have virtual female colleagues!

  5. Congratulations!

    I am a fairly new reader and come at this discussion from an accounting perspective. I used to be in Big 4, which is hard and includes long hours, but in some sense it’s “safe.” You know what to expect and what you will be working on and what is expected of you. When I made the jump to corporate tax planning, it was very scary. I am now looking to make another move in the next 3-6 months. I don’t have much to add to your list above (which I think is very well-done, by the way), but I will stress that networking is essential. Not necessarily in-your-face stuff always, but keeping contacts and not burning bridges if you can help it. My next interview is with a company that is a client of my last firm and I was recommended personally by a partner. I wouldn’t have that contact, the recommendation or probably even know about the job if I hadn’t have kept in touch with my past employers and partners.

  6. windupbird :

    Congrats Kat! This is so exciting. Can’t wait to see all your plans for the site!

  7. Valleygirl :

    I’m LAanon (but like valleygirl better i guess) – and still in the process of job hunting (due to the yuck HR hostile work situation at my current job – the latest high of which was being told to go by my boss make coffee for a 10 person funders meeting that I was running so he could “catch up with the guys”) – but here are a few tips, etc.

    Re networking – I’m in the research/NPO field and have landed three jobs (including a really cushy part time one teaching a graduate class one night a week at a local uni) and a few consulting gigs through the alumni association and professors at my grad school. My grad school isn’t huge but the alumni are very loyal – so I’ve been active in terms of staying connected via linked in groups, conferences, alumni get togethers. My husband was actually able to get an interview through one of my fellow alums too.

    Re things to watch out for – all the positions I’ve interviewed for in the past where the person I’d be working with (either they’re my boss or peer) has said they’re very scatterbrained or disorganized has resulted in them being hard to work with. Those types of phrases are some of my top red flags to watch out for…

    An issue I’m running into that I’d love advice on is how to explain to potential jobs why you’re leaving the current one… I’m in a grant funded position so I usually say something along the lines of my funding is running out, this is such a great position I had to jump on it… I try to follow the only good press rule – but it’s really difficult for me to want to say “I’d like to work here because I’m in a very toxic/hostile environment at my current job and it seems like you respect women here :-D”

  8. That’s so awesome! Congratulations Kat!!!!

  9. Legally Brooklyn :

    Congratulations and kudos on taking the big step! Looking forward to more Corporette during the day and your book for a quick fix during the evenings!

  10. Go Kat, GO! Amazing what you’ve done. Hugs xxox

  11. surrounded by lawyers :

    For anyone who attended or is currently in a PhD program but wants a career outside of academics, I strongly represent this site:

    Joining is free and the discussions and panels are immensely helpful. A lot of it is about exactly these kinds of transitions–how to find the opportunities, how to make the best of the ones you get.

    • surrounded by lawyers :

      Gah! strongly RECOMMEND that site, I meant.

      And I should have begun by adding my congrats to Kat. I’m excited to see what comes next!

    • I’m trying to make this switch now. Thanks for the link.

  12. Ballerina girl :

    Congratulations! I always assumed this was your full time gig–I can’t imagine how you do it all on top of a regular job!

  13. Sydney Bristow :

    Congratulations Kat! That is a huge step, but I certainly appreciate everything you do here!

  14. Coach Laura :

    Congratulations Kat, you are so amazing! What a great topic, and a great way to announce your own transition. I, too, can’t wait to see where you take Corporette from here.

    This topic is one that is near and dear to my heart. I have helped others through transitions plus I have gone through my own and they can be heady experiences. I too have a book that is percolating in my head that I will start work on in 2012, so it is great to watch you on your journey.

    I can’t wait to buy your book! Enjoy your transition.

  15. I think on personal reflection, the issue of guts what the hardest for me to overcome while making a transition.

    I am currently a university employed surgeon in a major metropolitan area. My husband is a private practice cardiologist. We have batted around the idea of moving to a smaller (ski-focused) town for several years. We’ve interviewed, researched etc, but never pulled the trigger. As someone who is very risk averse, I totally acknowledge that my reticence was a major factor. I sat at my desk thinking “we both have good jobs. Our combined income, while much lower than the average salary in our fields (due to location and economic facors) is more than the vast majority of Americans make. Why rock the boat?” That line of thinking didn’t encompass the fact that my husband was reasonably unhappy at his job, or that there was the potential for something even better out there.

    Then in November my husband’s job was eliminated. Just like that, we needed to make a plan B. Since the area we live in was saturated with specialists in my husband’s field, there were only very mediocre opportunities for him in our town.

    So we looked afield. I started working with recruiters, looking at web sites, etc. My risk aversion was no longer an issue — and suddenly, with a little bit of luck, an amazing opportunity landed in our laps. We are going to an area of the country we love, making a lot more money, and our work will be not any more stressful.

    In reflecting, I should have been keeping my eyes open for a better opportunity more actively, even before my husband’s job went south. I should have remembered all the times I made a big change in my life, dealt with the anxiety and it turned out fabulously.

    And Kat, congrats! You are wise to take the leap. I think many of us here would tell you that what you have done on this blog is special and unique. Rarely can a group of career minded women get together (ostensibly for fashion) and have such a collegial, supportive chit chat. All the best!

    • skippy pea :

      That is scary to imagine that a cardiologist not immune to job elimination.

    • Would love to know more about making a decision on where to live based upon your recreation — skiing — which is seasonal at best. When I was first out of college, I headed for mountains — climbing and hiking, not so much skiing — but since then I feel I have had more prosaic concerns, buoyed by the idea that my current lifestyle would not give me the time to enjoy the mountains anyway.

      • So my husband is an avid snow sportsman, and prior to meeting me lived in an area of the country where he could do it on a near daily basis. Now that his life is more complex (wife, kid, dog, etc) it feels as though living in proximity to the outdoors and skiing is the way to make it happen more frequently. He has been researching for a long time. Questions we researched:

        1) What towns interest us?
        2) Do people in the town do work that we do?
        3) What compromises will we make if we move there?

        We researched a long time, cold calling hospitals in our case, emailing practices, just to see what was out there. We had to kiss a certain amount of frogs to find the right fit. As to whether it’s realistic to move someplace for recreation, our attitude is that if you make it easy and surround yourself with opportunities, you are much more likely to take advantage of it.

        As far as cardiology — medicine is no longer a recession proof industry. Reimbursement for certain kind of cardiology tests has been slashed by 25-33%. Add to that that many medical groups were engaged in risky and irresponsible financial behaviour that contributed to the economic meltdown, and suddenly if you are redundant and without politic patronage in a large organization, you can be out. It’s been painful in some ways, but we are so excited about our opportunity. And as much as the economy has harmed medicine, there are plenty of jobs still available. Things aren’t quite so dire for us as they are in other industries.

  16. skippy pea :

    Wow. Big congratulations Kat. I love this site and visit it multiple times daily.
    I can only imagine how much better it will be with your full attention.

  17. So here’s a question.. how do you keep in touch with contacts/professors/employers that have been helpful? I’ve always done thank you emails followed up by written thank you cards, but I’m wondering to what degree, and how, you sustain those contacts, without being overly familiar. Do you just wait until you “need” them? I’m thinking, if there’s some professional news about them (an award, some prestigious presentation), you can email to congratulate them. But other than that, I’m not sure. Any suggestions?

    • And I forgot to add – Congratulations Kat! What an exciting step :)

    • I’ve found an email now and then to wish them a happy birthday/Christmas/New Year’s/whatever, to ask them how they’re doing, and to ask after their family, is usually welcome and appreciated. You don’t have to be personal friends to send someone well-wishes at those times of year, and it helps maintain a connection.

    • I’m starting the process of reconnecting with people I knew in previous lives, and it is a little intimidating. For me, LinkedIn and e-mail have been very helpful; if you find someone on LinkedIn and you haven’t talked with them in a while, it’s really easy to invite them to join your network with a message saying, “Just setting up my LinkedIn account and bumped into your profile – we should do lunch sometime soon!” (I suppose this goes for Facebook too, but I’m sooo leery of Facebook’s privacy ish.)

      E-mail is also good; I have days where I send e-mails to a specified number of people and won’t let myself stop until I’m hit my quota. I’m sure it’s a little random to get an e-mail like that, but I haven’t had anyone be offended by it. For me, it also limits the possibility of a quick phone call lasting an hour and a half as I catch up with people.

      I also know several people who set up ticklers in their Outlook (or Don’t Forget the Milk) to call so-and-so on this date, just to catch up. One friend even has a reminder to call his mother every week…so cute. I haven’t gone this far, but I’m thinking of starting it with a few people, and expanding the list a little each month.

      • Oh, I missed the part where said “employers/professors.” My advice might be a bit too familiar, but I don’t think it’s out of line to connect with them on Facebook or LinkedIn, or even e-mail them when something good happens to you that is indirectly a product of their assistance. I sent an e-mail to a professor of Chinese politics when I first visited China, just to thank him for his insights and how he had built up my desire to visit. When I passed the bar exam, I e-mailed one of my college professors who had written a law school recommendation to thank him.

        Also though, think about how big a network you want to keep. I think it would be overwhelming and counterproductive to stay in touch with every professor I’ve ever had. Likewise, I’ve had far too many employers to stay in touch with every person I’ve ever worked with. I stay in touch with the ones I knew relatively well, or the ones who helped me the most. If it feels awkward to stay in touch with them, maybe that’s because you weren’t really that close to them in the first place.

    • I think that keeping in touch on a semi-annual/annual basis is not overly familiar, though I also don’t think it’s completely out of line to get in touch when you need them. Especially when it comes to great professors (and even high school teachers), there are several that I keep in touch with. I do have a PhD, so in some ways keeping in touch even with undergrad profs makes sense professionally for them as well, but I’m no longer working as a researcher so in many ways our keeping in touch is mostly about maintaining the relationship (and lifelong mentoring for me). In my experience, senior people who championed me early in my career continue to be interested in my success…and as “Sei” said, generally updates are welcomed.

      Oh, and def congratulate them if you learn about exciting news. I’m sure they will be flattered that you keep up on them, and they will also appreciate your noticing their career!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I’m in touch with a few professors and previous employers who have been helpful. We are connected on LinkedIn, but I occasionally send them emails with articles I cam across that might be interesting, when I hear about a professional achievement of theirs, or when something major happens in my life (i.e. moving across the country, graduating, passing the bar, etc).

  18. I found this website today, and I have done little else but read all the posts. I love the way it is written and the practical, nonjudgmental advice and guidance on all topics.

    Congratulations on the change, and I’m already looking forward to your book!

  19. Super duper big congrats to Kat for this exciting news! I was just wondering how you were juggling it all. So excited for all us corporettes who will now get you full time!!

    As for job transitions, my hubs just switched from biglaw to smalllaw. He did a lot of research and concluded that a smalllaw environment might cure some of the things he hated about biglaw. But at the end of the day, you don’t know and you won’t know until you switch and really give the new opportunity a fair shake. He has had a few moments of panic and what was helpful was remembering that, in the end, this is just a job. It is not your whole identity. You may also be a mom, wife, daughter, community member, friend, Nordstrom patron, volunteer, etc. Switching careers or jobs is a big move, but it is not going to make or break your entire life. It may feel like it at times, but try to keep some perspective and it might ease some of the jitters and anxiety that taking a big leap can provoke.

  20. Congrats Kat. I love this blog. Good luck to you!

  21. I am lucky to have finally gotten into a job where my actual work involves constantly being around the people I want to work with anyway. Given long hours and travel, it is nearly impossible to keep up with many others anyway, but luckily for the most part I am where I want to be, developing relationships with the right people. For the past decade when I wasn’t, it was a constant debacle of how to network with others you aren’t directly dealing with- the best thing possible was getting the job aligned with the right community. It took a while but it sure is nice to not have the self-generated ‘must network’ pressure- it just happens every day now naturally.

    How I shifted career, subject matter, and sector- a decade of volunteering and staying involved on the side. 3 years of targeted activity (investing time and money) to make the switch (picked 3 main things: did certificate course to meet others, joined board of directors, served as volunteer expert on international panel that i learned about by looking at bios of people IN the desired field). Did all this with full time job elsewhere. Being in right place at right time. Networked with enough people to get inside scoop during hiring process.

    • skippy pea :

      That is notable effort. Great ideas for me to make note of. I also think that the fact that you were doing these things while you were employed elsewhere is very crucial. Most probably people were more receptive to you knowing that you were not just networking for a job.

      Now I am curious as to your work area. :)

  22. Somewhat of a threadjack – has anyone else experienced constant recruiter calls lately? Maybe a good sign for the job market?

    • Also, of course, *Congrats, Kat!*

      • Recruited :

        Day late..but yes. My current company is doing recruiting, and I have actually been offered a new position with another company within the last 2 months. Not in law however.

  23. I am an in-house attorney, and while I started right out of law school, I do have a couple tips for you ladies out there looking to lateral into a position. Emphasize your interest in in-house work specifically. We may not have perfectly formatted memorandums typed up for our clients, but we provide valuable business, as well as legal, advice. The ability to think on your feet and provide common sense perspectives is crucial. So, make sure you emphasize your flexibility, your ability to work in a team and balance legal risk with commercial considerations. And good luck!

    • skippy pea :

      haha, is anyone looking to hire associate with just couple of years to experience who has been laid off for a while now?

  24. Dammit Janet :

    I made the leap in-house (plus geographic relocation) after several years at a large law firm. It was the wrong fit almost from the start. I ended up resigning after several months – it was taking a toll on my health and mental state. It was truly better to leave gracefully so that (1) they could start the recruiting process to replace me and (2) I could figure out what was really best for me. It’s been a very humbling and painful experience, but it opened my eyes to the fact that I didn’t really have clear goals for my career/life or a plan for where I wanted to end up on both counts.

    I am grateful that I saved so much from my biglaw salary to be able to create my own “soft landing.” I don’t know what will happen next, but I have faith that it will all turn out for the best. I have good skills and experience and a good network, and I do hope to keep practicing law. It’s scary and exciting all at once to have the future be so uncharted.

    • What in particular was not quite right about the jump? I could use some advice about transitioning. I’m a big-firm associate and am starting to look into moving in-house (in addition to moving to a new city). In addition to the basic “what’s the best way to do this” help, I’m wondering about job search etiquette. For example, I’ve met attorneys who work at various entities that interest me and where I think I could be a good fit. The issue is, I’ve met them during litigation (the opposing side). If I ever apply to those entities, does it make sense to talk to the attorneys I know before/after applying? It seems like a good idea (they know me, they know my work, they might be able to give me insight or a recommendation), but I’m hesitant to do. Obviously I’d need to keep it hush, hush until I actually get a job offer and I don’t to break any unwritten rules. Thanks!

      • Dammit Janet :

        For me, some of the things I loved about firm life are business development, client contact, client/industry variety, and networking. Those things are very low priority or nonexistent in an in-house position. I also missed some of the higher-level legal work – a lot of the work I most enjoyed doing was sent out to outside counsel. When you’re in private practice, when a matter comes to you it’s already been pre-selected by the client as a high-level issue where they need expertise and can’t handle in-house. There also was no less volume of work and no lower expectation of availability, but there was less administrative support in getting it done (no assistants or clerks, etc.) Perhaps it will seem superficial, but it was also frustrating suddenly feeling more like a cost center and less like a valued expert. Overall, being outside counsel just suits my personality much better than in-house, and I realized it pretty quickly.

        Do you mean talking to the other in-house counsel at the company you’re interested in, or the outside counsel that have represented them? If you have good relationships with other outside counsel, that would be a good place to query at the outset. One in-house interview I had during my search was networked through a friend at a different firm. Once you’ve applied and you’re doing your due diligence on whether it’s the right fit for YOU, people who used to work there or used to represent them can be an invaluable resource to get the straight scoop.

        Good luck!

  25. ST - engr :

    Congrats Kat! This post is timely. Intellectually, I know it’s time to move on from my current job, but fear of the unknown has me frozen. Thank you for the inspiration, Kat.

  26. ST - engr :

    Congrats Kat. This post is timely. Intellectually, I know it’s time to move on, but fear of the unknown has me frozen. Thank you for the inspiration.

  27. First off, congratulations, Kat! Second… I could actually use some transition advice myself. After college, emboldened by the economic meltdown in the US, I moved to Beijing in order to pursue my interest in the language and culture and also accumulate some professional experience. Currently, I work as a reporter for the English service of a major state-owned media outlet.
    In August, my contract will expire, and I’m not planning to renew (despite high regards for my workplace). Instead, I will be relocating to the New York area to pursue the career that I originally intended by searching for an entry-ish level job in finance. My intentions are to find a position that would lead to a career path working as an economist or investment strategist (much farther down the road) for a financial institution. Grad school is in the picture, but not right away.
    So, I will be trying to make the jump between countries and job fields- does anyone have any idea how I could best sell my background to a financial institution?

    • you are kidding, right? just tell them you speak chinese. cheers!

      • FinanceGal :

        Umm… there’s a little more to it than that :-)

        Ning- As someone currently in finance in Asia, I would recommend you try to get into finance from HERE rather than back in New York.

        What is your undergrad degree in? Is it from a top instituition? Were you working a finance/business beat in your media role? What makes you qualified for a position in finance right now? What types of positions are you hoping to pursue?

        Things are still awfully competitive in NYC, and your native English skills combined with business-level communication will actually be valued more if you stay in Asia. I know a number of people who weren’t able to secure positions in top firms Stateside, came here, got into GS (for example) and then were able to transfer back to the U.S. after a few years. Personally, I went the opposite direction (started in U.S., rotated to Asia) but I was recruited from campus, and have an undergrad degree in finance.

        If you’re comfortable sharing more about yourself, I’d be happy to chime in with more details.

        • FinanceGal- I really appreciate anything you have to say on the subject. I’ll try to answer your questions to give a clearer picture.

          I double majored in economics and international relations at a well-known, but not ivy league, university. After that, I spent a year at a top Chinese university studying Chinese full-time and networking to explore the local job market. At the time, major US-based companies, like your GS example, didn’t seem to be an option, but perhaps I could give them a try now. Most people I know at those types of firms were hired back in the US.

          After networking, talking to peers working in Beijing, and some informational interviews at financial institutions in the city (including those run by foreigners and those specifically looking to hire foreigners), I had a bad taste in my mouth. Many of them seemed unreliable . Skipping paychecks is a common complaint I’ve heard. Work visas are also a big issue for those who haven’t been out of college at least two years.

          State-run media just seemed like a better solution to my job hunt. Because my company is state-run, I was granted a foreign expert’s card and work visa with no hassle. The compensation package is significantly better than I’ve found elsewhere, but still nowhere near American standards. And, I’m still gaining professional experience in China and developing “soft skills” (if that’s at all relevant), such as the ability to work across cultures effectively. I personally think that’s relevant, because I’ve watched colleagues who’ve been hired from overseas come here and make complete fools of themselves and lose credibility because they didn’t understand the culture and how it works.

          As for my current finance qualifications—I have few finance-specific skills, mainly just my degree and undergraduate math classes. I will be relying on other experience (writing, working on a team, gathering research, working on a deadline, etc) when I make the career change. And at my current position, I cover travel. It was HR’s choice– there was a need for a foreign journalist in that department, and I’m really familiar with the city and Chinese history in general.

          However, I would like to point out that I had absolutely no journalism qualifications before I joined my current workplace, not even a blog. I was actually hired as a copy editor for my native English skills, familiarity with China, Chinese language, and culture, and willingness to learn (we work in multiple media formats). And since then, my work ethic has made enough of an impression I now represent the company as a reporter, and I continue to look for ways to improve my performance.

          Staying in China is a definite possibility, though my current plan is to return to the US. My alternative idea for the job hunt is a quantitative role in the media industry, such as media research, as a sort of transition between industries. However, since I’m still considered entry-level pretty much everywhere, I’d just like to make a clean jump. I’ll be seeking an entry position in finance to develop my quantitative skills, probably along the lines of a business or research analyst, though I’m definitely on the lookout for a more economics-related role.

  28. Congrats Kat! I am so happy that you’ve turned this into a full-time gig. And I can’t wait for the book.

  29. Congrats Kat! I love reading this blog, and I am so glad that Above the Law linked to it many moons ago!!

  30. Kat, you are such a huge inspiration to all of us – your advice about guts and more guts really resonated for me. There is indeed a huge leap of faith when you move from a place of comfort to something that’s new and where you may have to start from scratch. Kudos to you for doing it multiple times and inspiring us all

  31. Oh, Kat, this is wonderful news! I’m so glad you have decided to make the big jump to full-time blogging. Congratulations, and the very best of luck to you!

  32. I went from Biglaw to in-house quite easily a few years ago, right before the economy tanked. Because there is so much to my job that is specific to my employer, I am terrified that my real legal skills have deteriorated and I won’t be fit for any other job. Plus, I have a family now, so I’m worried about starting something new which I always feel requires 110% effort. Plus it’s very hard to find time to do Facebook, Linked in, etc. I want to make a change though because I don’t want to lose critical skills, my job is overwhelming at times, and the old boys’ network is turning out to be good and strong here. I should have taken it as a sign when the female attorneys who interviewed me started leaving in droves soon after I arrived. Being in-house has its ups and downs as well and not every in-house job is “cushy”, especially in this economy where corporations are trying to put every penny to the best use possible. Mostly venting here, I guess. Thanks for listening. I think the solution is just to get moving and do it. If you want to go in-house, consider selecting a few employers you really want to target and going directly to their web site, developing contacts at the company, etc. Going through a recruiter costs them money and many companies don’t want to do it anymore.

  33. Congrats Kat! What cool news.

    I made a job transition early in my career, from being an ad exec to working in the nonprofit sector. It was somewhat easy in that I wasn’t married and had no kids, so there was a little less riding on the change. But here are my tips:

    – Guts: absolutely! You need to be willing to trust your heart, but also to be OK with potential failure and/or not liking the new position.

    – Listening to your heart: life is short. Do what you like. I’m a firm believer that you have to LOVE (not love, but LOVE) your job, and if you don’t love your job you should figure out an alternative sooner than later. When I transitioned careers, I had a terrific feeling during my interview and it turned out I was right. Listen to that feeling in your stomach/on your shoulder — it’s there for a reason.

  34. Kat, this site is a sort of refuge for me, so thank you and best wishes!

    I can share a transition story with a related question. I once left a steady but mundane job for an opportunity with what was presented to me as a start up enterprise. I soon discovered this employer actually had a stable of former employees, and the reasons for this were also apparent. The idea of staying for what conventional wisdom recommends is the minimum of one year was not appealing, so I began networking and thankfully found a new job and exited gracefully on my own terms after less than one year.

    Fast forward to present, I spent several years each at the jobs in between this blip on my career radar, so is it necessary to list the short-term employer on my current resume? Obviously I listed it on my resume when I was in the process of jumping ship, and since I had well justified reasons for leaving, it was easy to explain the job was a poor fit. However, is it far enough removed now that I could get away with leaving it off? Though I’ve had a stable job history otherwise, and there were objectively valid reasons to leave the regrettable job, I am still concerned that it might look so odd in comparison to my tenure elsewhere that it will serve as an automatic disqualifier or will become the focus of an interview. On the other hand, I’m worried it might count against me if I exclude it from my resume and a prospective employer is interested enough in me to check my dates of employment and the gap is revealed and needs to be explained. So it seems either way this is destined to haunt me, but I need help choosing which is the lesser of two evils, please. Thanks in advance for any advice, ladies.

  35. Wow congratulations Kat!! I think it’s amazing to make the transition to being self employed. Wishing you much success!

  36. Carol Margolis :

    Congratulations! I’m so happy for you, Kat, as I can relate 100% to the ‘2 jobs’ in maintaining your full time career while also running an online business. I spend my days as a project manager and my nights running I resigned from Deloitte and went independent a couple of years ago so that I’d have a bit more time for this new business, and the goal for 2011 is to have full-time income from my site for women business travelers.

  37. Congratulations Kat!

    While I’m not an attorney (I’m a nonprofit exec/fundraiser), I can tell you about my recent job transition and offer a bit of advice. I left a very well known national nonprofit organization 6 months ago for a position with a prestigious hospital. It has turned out to be a less-than-desirable situation because of the corporate culture (and a boss who doesn’t believe in saying Good Morning to anyone – nice guy). It’s hard to judge corporate culture during an interview but my advice is to do some sleuthing if possible by asking former and current employees what it’s like on a day-to-day basis.

    As my best friend says, “The grass is always greener on the other side… but you still have to mow it!”.

  38. Congratulations, Kat! You are awesome! I really enjoy the site and look forward to seeing where it goes next.

    I’m kind of in transition myself, trying to figure out what to do after 15 years of public accounting. I swore to myself last year that it was my last tax season and here I am again. Stupid economy.

  39. Congrats Kat! I know the website it just going to blossom with you devoting all of your time to it!

  40. Anonymous :

    Congratulations!! I love your blog and fully support your decision to spend more time on it (and a book!).

  41. Congratulations, Kat! Looking forward to spending even more time on Corporette . . . you’ve built a terrific community here.

    For those of us in law and thinking about transitions and whether and when to make a change, I found Michael Melcher’s writing extremely helpful and thought-provoking. He guest-wrote several columns for Marci Alboher’s column when she still wrote a career blog for the New York Times (the “Shifting Careers” blog — most posts are still there if you search for them). He also has a book called “The Creative Lawyer.” Pricey for a paperback, but I thought it well worth it. The biggest takeaway I got from him is that because we are trained as lawyers (“issue-spotting,” etc.), we tend to believe that thinking through a problem or an issue will solve it, when in reality to figure out what you want your life to be like — your work life or your whole life — you’re much more likely to get somewhere by ***doing*** things. These don’t have to be big leaps like quitting your job; baby steps or small experiments can give you tons of valuable information.

    • Michael Melcher also wrote a great series of four articles for the ABA Journal. Here’s a link to the third of four, which is entitled, “Why Thinking Like a Lawyer Is Bad for Your Career”:

  42. Congrats!! It’s a huge step and it’s awesome that things have come to a point where you’re comfortable taking this leap.

    I’m taking the same jump myself, leaving a comfortable corporate position to help my husband with his business and working on launching a few other things. The biggest challenge for me is going to be not having a schedule to adhere to and of course, losing the security of a paycheck.

  43. CorporetteFan :

    I love your blog and think you have a great future with it. Congratulations, and good luck on your transition!