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Voice of Experience

Voice of Experience: March 2023 | Transition

Meditations on the Road to Nowhere

Christine Dauchez

Meditations on the Road to Nowhere

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In a space of less than three months, I switched jobs and became an “empty nester.” As I desperately clung to roles which had defined who I was for over two decades, it was exhilarating and terrifying to let go. How do we prepare for these and other life changes as we grow older? There’s no roadmap, but here are a few tips. I invite you to share others.

  • Reframing. When I was returning to work at my firm’s US headquarters after a temporary assignment abroad, I proposed taking on a new role as a dedicated Knowledge Attorney in our in-house legal department. My proposal was rejected, but I decided to stay, nevertheless. A senior Professional Development colleague suggested I consider a mini-transformation, continuing to pursue my passion within my existing role. Fifteen years later, there is now growing demand for Knowledge & Innovation Attorneys among law firms, creating a perfect window of opportunity for me to start this new chapter.
  • Ramping down. Workers 65+ will account for over 60% of projected labor growth in the next three decades. As we redesign the workforce of the future to accommodate this growing cadre of older workers, many are considering pre-retirement, as a prelude to retirement. They’re scaling back to make more time for other interests and/or learning new skills before completely withdrawing from work.
  • Adapting. At the same time, we’re facing unprecedented uncertainty. Cultivating a future-oriented mindset will help us envision potential outcomes and adapt to changes. As senior lawyers, we’re uniquely positioned to tap into our experience to keep calm in these turbulent times and to mentor and transfer knowledge to younger lawyers.

Change is inevitable. Transitioning is how we approach change. It’s how we get from here to there without knowing the final destination. By embracing the twists and turns and asking for guidance along the way, we can continue to grow. By leaning in with a clear mind and open heart, we might even find joy and meaning in the mini-transformations on the Road to Nowhere.