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The average tenure of a general counsel at a Fortune 500 firm is now less than just six years, or roughly 20% of it was half a decade prior. In coming months, continuing economic uncertainty and growing geopolitical volatility in the wake of COVID-19 and other ongoing disruptions only threatens to see it shrink further. However, there are still many ways for forward-thinking legal professionals to find ongoing success despite disruption – even if the traditional career ladder is looking increasingly rickety. Following, you’ll find a number of helpful hints and tips can help you enjoy continuing growth in your career, no matter what tomorrow (and rising market uncertainty) may bring.

Adopt a More Fluid Stance on Career Development – Pro tip: A steady upward climb is no longer the only way to advance a career. When charting your path, also think in terms of the sidestep, backstep, and all-important slingshot. Sometimes when you look for new opportunities, you’ve got to take a sidestep, moving into a position of equal rank and pay, or a take a backstep down the career ladder to acquire essential experience. For example: Moving to a new organization that promises less accolades or financial gain but provides helpful training and experience in new areas – including insights, skills, or grounding in emerging market sectors that will be more widely-applicable or in-demand going forward. Suppose you find your career plateauing. Consider moving sideways (sidestepping) into a position of equal rank and pay, in an organization that promises more opportunities. Or you could take a backstep, working for less pay or a less prestigious title, at a more innovative startup that offers new hands-on learning opportunities. A slingshot entails doing both a sidestep and a backstep at the same time – making fewer instantly-gratifying moves, and more choices that actually help you advance towards your career goals. When you apply the knowledge, experience and skills gained through these moves, you increase your chances of leaping far ahead of where you started.

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