Q: What are some of the bad habits lawyers take with them when they change jobs?
A: If they are procrastinators or perfectionists at one job, they tend to be so at the next. If they strive for indispensability and thus set expectations that can’t be sustained, they’ll likely do the same going forward. If they have friction with the support staff, or are mad midnight emailers to lawyers their junior, they’ll tend to recreate unpleasant working relationships elsewhere.
Lawyers need to be aware of their bad habits, understand the ramifications, and consciously choose to work to break those habits. None of that is easy and, at a new job where they are trying to acclimate and impress from the outset, it is particularly hard.
If you have bad habits, try to set new patterns in the job you have; if you find people won’t let you change your ways–for example, when it has suited them that you regularly come in so early and always stay so late–and you do decide to change jobs, you should make a concrete plan for new habits, stick to it for a month straight, no matter how hard that will be, and then evaluate whether you want to extend or revise the plan. By then, you may have broken the habits, and if the new ways are actually working better, it won’t be as hard to avoid lapsing back into old patterns.