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Katz

Job Seeking Advice

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So, a bit of background about me. I am a qualified lawyer, with a masters in construction law, admitted to the SC of NSW but no longer holding a practicing certificate and have not practiced in WA. I worked primarily in construction law in while practice, went into contract administration management and then into commercial management in the resources industry. I've also operated as a consultant to the building and construction industry mostly doing claims, responses and education under and around the Security of Payment Act in NSW.

In 2015, I got rather disillusioned and decided to study physiotherapy. In 2017 I decided to stop studying physio as although I LOVED the study, the practice was rather dull and I couldn't see it fulfilling me long term. While I was studying physio, I couldn't work a M-F job and study full time, so I starting working in a hospital as effectively an orderly. It's been a lot of fun, the hours were great while I was single and it has been an all care and no responsibility role. It definitely allowed me to get through the dark days of 2015-2017 without losing my mind completely.

Now though, it's not working for me anymore. I am in no way challenged mentally, the shiftwork is killing me and it's dreadful trying to have a relationship with someone who works M-F when you only have 3 weekends off in every 3 month cycle. 

I now want to go back to what I was doing before. I am struggling to get around what I generously call my 3 year sabbatical. Recruiters and HR departments all ask for your last/current role title and if it doesn't fit the algorithm you don't get a look in. If you lie, or fudge the truth though, you won't get far at all.

Dear Trannies, how do you all think I should approach this little problem?

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My take-there are two parts. First is if you didn't like it back then why are you going to like it now? Is it like a lot of things where its human nature to forget the bad and only remember the good?

 

Second part is if this is what you really want just say that after a long period of concentrating on yourself, your study and career progression you felt it was important to give back to the community hence the position in the hospital? 

 

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I think you are. worrying for no reason.  It is very normal for some people to take a 360 degree with their careers these days. Just ensure you write an honest cover letter. From an employers perspective, you need to convince them you are not 'burnt out' as a lawyer as they may be concerned that you may leave again. You can explain all this this at the interview.   On your resume, write and highlight more about your experience as a lawyer and write less about the other roles you have had.

a few days ago, I employed a marketing manager who’s last job was selling jewellery and the job before that was something different again.  However further down in her resume was several years as a marketing manager for a shopping centre which is what I needed.   

you will be fine. 

 

Edited by Prince

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1 hour ago, more said:

My take-there are two parts. First is if you didn't like it back then why are you going to like it now? Is it like a lot of things where its human nature to forget the bad and only remember the good?

Valid question. A lot of what went wrong for me was I was the victim of a boss who while trying to save his own skin threw me under the bus only to get shafted anyway himself a few weeks later. That was quite devastating to me as I play fairly and thought he did too. I guess it was a bit of self preservation to look for an alternative career. I ran away scared I suppose.

I actually quite enjoy the work, the subject matter can be fascinating and the argy bargy of the construction industry is fun. 

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Katz, my advice on your approach is to be specific about the roles that you are going for.  To me, while the reasons are valid, there is a bit of flip flopping and I'm not sure that I would be wanting to choose you over another candidate based on a fear that you won't be in the seat in 12 months time.

So for me, I would be recommending a two target approach - If you want to get back into Construction / Commercial law again, start to look for maternity leave roles and other similar length contract roles.  You will have a much better chance to take away this fear, and after a few roles you can start to look at something longer term.  You never know, you're first role may turn into something ongoing once you are in the door.

The second thing I'm reading between the lines is a sense of wanting to be a bit more altruistic that is also a great story to tell for the right role.  Maybe look for a role with a charity, show you have the smarts and the heart to blend with their mission.  The money isn't the same but the salary sacrifice benefits are very helpful to bridge the gap.

Either way, life happens and recruiters and even HR people get this.  Just check your story and be ready to be questioned on it, concentrating on removing any negativity from your answers, be prepared to show what you have learnt (and bonus points if you can tie it in to how you being in the role will be a benefit from it) and why they should believe you are "back on track" 

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1 hour ago, Prince said:

I think you are. worrying for no reason.  It is very normal for some people to take a 360 degree with their careers these days. Just ensure you write an honest cover letter. From an employers perspective, you need to convince them you are not 'burnt out' as a lawyer as they may be concerned that you may leave again. You can explain all this this at the interview.   On your resume, write and highlight more about your experience as a lawyer and write less about the other roles you have had.

a few days ago, I employed a marketing manager who’s last job was selling jewellery and the job before that was something different again.  However further down in her resume was several years as a marketing manager for a shopping centre which is what I needed.   

you will be fine. 

 

Thanks. That makes me feel a bit better. 

The highlighted bit above has been the bit that I ahve been thinking about mostly, how to best do that. 

Cheers.

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3 minutes ago, Cottoneyes said:

Katz, my advice on your approach is to be specific about the roles that you are going for.  To me, while the reasons are valid, there is a bit of flip flopping and I'm not sure that I would be wanting to choose you over another candidate based on a fear that you won't be in the seat in 12 months time.

So for me, I would be recommending a two target approach - If you want to get back into Construction / Commercial law again, start to look for maternity leave roles and other similar length contract roles.  You will have a much better chance to take away this fear, and after a few roles you can start to look at something longer term.  You never know, you're first role may turn into something ongoing once you are in the door.

The second thing I'm reading between the lines is a sense of wanting to be a bit more altruistic that is also a great story to tell for the right role.  Maybe look for a role with a charity, show you have the smarts and the heart to blend with their mission.  The money isn't the same but the salary sacrifice benefits are very helpful to bridge the gap.

Either way, life happens and recruiters and even HR people get this.  Just check your story and be ready to be questioned on it, concentrating on removing any negativity from your answers, be prepared to show what you have learnt (and bonus points if you can tie it in to how you being in the role will be a benefit from it) and why they should believe you are "back on track" 

All excellent points Cottoneyes. There is an interesting 3-6 month role up for grabs at the moment which might just fit the bill. Provide the foot in the door and they are only asking for 3-6 months for someone to come and get them sorted out and heading in the right direction. 

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I had 7 years in IT, went back to uni to study Engineering.

Dropped out of engineering after 18 months and went back to IT.

I started back in IT jobs by taking short term roles that were beneath my previous level.

I still have a 2 year no job period that is covered by Self funded study in my CV and explain what it was in person or over the phone.

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11 minutes ago, Tyno said:

I had 7 years in IT, went back to uni to study Engineering.

Dropped out of engineering after 18 months and went back to IT.

I started back in IT jobs by taking short term roles that were beneath my previous level.

I still have a 2 year no job period that is covered by Self funded study in my CV and explain what it was in person or over the phone.

How do you go about explaining it without sounding flakey?

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4 hours ago, Katz said:

it's dreadful trying to have a relationship with someone who works M-F when you only have 3 weekends off in every 3 month cycle. 

Thinking outside of the box here - get rid of the boyfriend 😀

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10 minutes ago, Ironnerd said:

Thinking outside of the box here - get rid of the boyfriend 😀

That's definitely something worth considering, but as Cottoneyes picked up on, I am an altruist and consider it charity work.

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A cousin of mine dropped law and opened a coffee shop. Happiest she'd been in years. Got divorced went back to law and is miserable again. A pattern forming here

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1 minute ago, Merv said:

A cousin of mine dropped law and opened a coffee shop. Happiest she'd been in years. Got divorced went back to law and is miserable again. A pattern forming here

Lawyering in a firm can definitely be miserable work. Which is why I went off on a tangent and went into contract and commercial management. I wouldn't go back to private practice. In-house counsel maybe. but not in a firm. 

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I would absolutely see this as a plus if I saw it on an application. Well rounded employees make good employees.

 

If you're not getting passed algorithms then use LinkedIn / in person networking to get in front of the right people. Be honest, explain your issue, ask them for the help you need and I bet you'll be surprised how many people are open to you.

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21 hours ago, Katz said:

How do you go about explaining it without sounding flakey?

I just tell the truth. I thought I needed a career change, but it wasn’t as good at maths as I was in school, so finished my IT degree instead. 

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I also did the same thing... gave up IT and did PT/ Massage for 2 years... was bored and didn’t enjoy having to work odd hours and weekends .

I also looked for contracts with immediate starts and made sure I could start ASAP.

After the 1st contract, no-one ever questioned my 2 year “career break”...

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As someone working in the construction industry can I suggest that you not go back to that line of work.

The last thing this industry needs is more fu*%ing lawyers.  

At the moment there are more people with legal knowledge than there are with building knowledge and the industry s going to shit because of it!  

*RANT OVER*

 

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3 hours ago, roxii said:

As someone working in the construction industry can I suggest that you not go back to that line of work.

The last thing this industry needs is more fu*%ing lawyers.  

At the moment there are more people with legal knowledge than there are with building knowledge and the industry s going to shit because of it!  

*RANT OVER*

 

Going to shit in what way Roxii?

My aim has always been to balance the requirements of the contract with the realities of construction. So what is planned to be built gets built properly in good time and at good cost, but also minimises disputes about both. Personally I've been pragmatic, not all are though.

I am genuinely interested in your thoughts Roxii.

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I suppose its a few things but basically "builders" don't build anything anymore and they have virtually no one with any practical experience on the projects. 

Just a bunch of "cadets" "engineers" etc etc who try and get a building built without having to leave the office. 

Rather than familiarize themselves with the scope of a particular trade or to demarcate the work types and scope of works, thanks to the digital age they simply send out every drawing available and then leave it up to the subcontractor to find the scope and price it accordingly.  Then when there is a gap in the scope because the "builder" has not made any attempt to demarcate the scope, they then dig through the contracts and drawings to see who they can pin it on.  A joinery package for us that may require 50 drawings will still see us issued with 500+ drawings including things like landscaping plans, car park line marking etc just so that in the event that something gets missed they can say "well we sent you the drawings"

For us (doing joinery) a tender meeting used to involve going through the drawings and scope with the builder to ensure all works were covered and we were both comfortable with the scope that was priced, it could be tedious but had the desired effect. 

Now a tender meeting consists of the "builder" saying "Have you read the contract and are you willing to sign it". 

There are more issues (Health and safety etc) but most of them still stem back to the first two sentences. 

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2 minutes ago, roxii said:

I suppose its a few things but basically "builders" don't build anything anymore and they have virtually no one with any practical experience on the projects. 

Just a bunch of "cadets" "engineers" etc etc who try and get a building built without having to leave the office. 

Rather than familiarize themselves with the scope of a particular trade or to demarcate the work types and scope of works, thanks to the digital age they simply send out every drawing available and then leave it up to the subcontractor to find the scope and price it accordingly.  Then when there is a gap in the scope because the "builder" has not made any attempt to demarcate the scope, they then dig through the contracts and drawings to see who they can pin it on.  A joinery package for us that may require 50 drawings will still see us issued with 500+ drawings including things like landscaping plans, car park line marking etc just so that in the event that something gets missed they can say "well we sent you the drawings"

For us (doing joinery) a tender meeting used to involve going through the drawings and scope with the builder to ensure all works were covered and we were both comfortable with the scope that was priced, it could be tedious but had the desired effect. 

Now a tender meeting consists of the "builder" saying "Have you read the contract and are you willing to sign it". 

There are more issues (Health and safety etc) but most of them still stem back to the first two sentences. 

Gotcha. I can say I've seen that to a certain extent myself. Frustrating for everyone involved except the "builder".

Things like this were a big part of why I moved away from pure lawyering and into contract/commercial management. I got tired of being involved in the tail end of disputes and wanted to help parties avoid disputes in the first place. Fair contracts, clear scopes, effective contract management. 

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29 minutes ago, Katz said:

 Fair contracts, clear scopes, effective contract management. 

Judging by what we are seeing at the moment the "builders" have no intention of moving towards these.  

Because they are cutting each others throats to win the projects they see missed scope as an opportunity to get "work for nothing". 

Used to be you would feel upset when you missed a job, now you feel scared when you win one.  It is almost impossible now to win a project having allowed for a full scope and reasonable pricing. Sad but true. 

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14 minutes ago, roxii said:

Judging by what we are seeing at the moment the "builders" have no intention of moving towards these.  

Because they are cutting each others throats to win the projects they see missed scope as an opportunity to get "work for nothing". 

Used to be you would feel upset when you missed a job, now you feel scared when you win one.  It is almost impossible now to win a project having allowed for a full scope and reasonable pricing. Sad but true. 

Agreed.

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The lack of practical experience is a significant problem across the board.

Extremely difficult explaining job requirements to someone who has rarely stepped out of air conditioning

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Don't forget to mention that you're a triathlete and have recently done an ironman. Guaranteed to get any job once they know that........

 

Some really good advice in some of these replies.

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