Jon's Blog: So long, and thanks for all the fish
Like the gusts that are blowing away the autumn leaves, the winds of change are blowing for me. As I write I'm finishing up with my current law firm, and by the time you read this I'll have started at a different one. It's been a good long time at my current place, having joined in November 2007 and departing nearly 14 years later to the day.
Which got me thinking about how things were back when I joined, and what's happened in-between. I started with barely a year's qualification to my name, wondering if I could "make it" in the demanding world of private legal practice, but with an amazing girlfriend supporting me. I'm delighted to say that she became my wife a couple of years later, then we had our two boys, and eventually I went down to four days a week.
Along the way, I've had a memorable mix of cases – some for better and some for worse! I've also had the opportunity to get a bit more involved in the management of our team, specialise in an area of law that I genuinely enjoy (professional indemnity – no, really!) and contribute to my firm's excellent work on diversity and inclusion. I've also had the pleasure of getting to know some great people, who definitely outnumber the not-so-great ones! The members of my team in particular are truly fantastic, and it feels bittersweet leaving them behind (although I'm only moving round the corner). I've also got to know some great clients, and other professionals working in the legal world.
Reflecting on all of this, my overwhelming emotion has been one of gratitude – for all that I've been blessed with in my current job. I don't mean any of this to sound like a boast (although lawyers are perhaps very good at that), but a helpful reminder of all the good that there has been over the past 14 years, which encourages me for what is to come.
Of course, it's not all been rainbows and sunshine. I've definitely had days (or weeks!) when I've wondered what on earth I was doing, and I've been given plenty of opportunities to "grow" in my role – sometimes by circumstances, and sometimes by my own shortcomings. Part of me still wonders whether I can "make it", all these years later, but now I wonder if that feeling never quite goes away… I'm not sure it's a helpful barometer of success either, as it's almost impossible to quantify and is easily unsettled by the highs and lows of work.
Besides, if I ever "arrived" in my career I wonder if I would lose interest and feel a bit deflated. Part of the joy of my work is the constant development and the challenges that each day brings. Another joy (most of the time!) is the people with whom I work, and who help to remind me, along with family and friends, that it's not just about professional achievement in the end anyway.
Jon is the father of two growing boys, and he and his amazing wife work four days a week. They are both lawyers, and Jon has worked in the City for around 15 years as a solicitor in the insurance industry. He is now becoming an expert in Lego Minecraft and The Ranger's Apprentice.