Job advice please - seem lost

(9 Posts)
MadameDD Fri 01-Feb-19 12:14:45

Does anyone here know what to do re career advice due to job hopping and then going onto contract work?

In the past few years I've had a few jobs with small legal companies as a legal secretary/PA, my first lasted 5 years and I eventually left as it was my first proper legal role and I also wasn't get paid the going rate, also progression wasn't great there. I left to go into another legal sec role but my boss only seemed to want me to work there mornings or afternoons (but getting paid for a full day) and he was looking to wind down and retire himself anyway. The MD of the company was really rude and sexist, sexist comments and it was there wasn't very much in the way of management so I left after 6 months temped for a month then landed a role as legal sec/EA to another smaller law firm but again for an almost retired solicitor. At the time I only meant to stay there a year or two and look around for something else as the commute was to the other side of London.

I ended up leaving partly because my boss was retiring and I wasn't sure if I'd be made redundant but I also wasn't happy there - small law firm - some tricky characters. So I got another job as a PA/Office manager for a small local firm but the boss there again was a nightmare - all his staff had threatened to leave and he threw things in the office and swore at me. I also found out he was undergoing psychiatric treatment at the local mental health hospital. I lasted there 3 months then left.

Wasn't sure what to do afterwards but thought temping doing contract work could or would suit me and I really didn't fancy doing a permanent role. I've been now an admin assistant and Diary Manager/EA/PA for 18 months approx. in a variety of roles.

I did get a role as an EA/team assistant for data risk department of a large accountants (working with lawyers) but my boss there had gone through 2 EAs who'd left before me and she'd used the services of another EA there before getting her own EA. This was also a contract role which could have been permanent but there was a lot of office politics there and again, strange characters.

So I'm back working on a 6 month contract due to end at end of April this year but getting increasingly tired of contract work and my current role as Diary Manager/EA doesn't stretch me at all and bores me.

My CV to a few recruitment agencies and employers must look awful with the job hopping and contract/temp work but I've worked for 5 years in 1 firm and 6 years before at another non legal firm.

I just don't know what I want to do now as I'd like a permanent role not contract.

Any advice would be appreciated. starting to get down and depressed about the future.

OP’s posts: |
Polarbearflavour Fri 01-Feb-19 15:14:53

I used to be a PA/EA and it’s soul destroying.

Temping/contracting isn’t the same as job hopping. You need to write temporary work / contracting next to the job title on your CV to make it clear.

I would look at working for a big City firm in London such as a bank or financial services. Or the public sector.

If you get your feet under the table, you could then transfer to another role like HR/finance/compliance/project management internally.

Polarbearflavour Fri 01-Feb-19 15:16:02

And can you group the temping work on your CV under one heading? Have you used the same agency?

daisychain01 Fri 01-Feb-19 16:04:28

From what you've described, you have many years of experience in one type of work supporting legal professionals, but your career has stood still in that time, which is unfortunately very much the nature of support admin/EA roles. You're supporting other people's careers but your own doesn't move. It sounds like it's now getting you down, and certainly no longer offers you any challenge or variety. There's only so much you can get from managing someone's travel and appointments etc.

Have you considered reskilling to add to the skills you already have? Project management is very often a natural transition nowadays, with so many people doing their own diary management, it leaves the door open to develop those skills which can be very compatible with someone who effectely manages someone's activities.

You'd need to learn the basics of project management which formalises skills you already have. You could break into that role by continuing in your office manager/EA type role for a while but finding opportunities to manage small projects, which then gives you the experience and confidence to apply for PM roles. I know someone who started life as an EA but is now a very senior PM in a large corporate, she's found her niche as she's a born organiser and chaser.

MadameDD Fri 01-Feb-19 16:25:51

I posted a reply to Polarbearflavour but I don't think it posted it!

daisychain01 - I agree with you re my work not progressing and I'm thinking about starting a paralegal course which takes 2 years but like you mention project management may be the next logical step.

Polarbearflavour - I agree with you re working for a large firm like a bank/financial services industry but I think rather than be an EA I'd prefer to do in-house legal EA/PA work if that's available.

the one thing that slightly worries me is that when I worked for the large accountants I worked doing data risk work and GDPR and to be honest that really bored me. It also didn't help that my boss was off a lot on holiday, had failed to get a promotion to partner in a previous department there and she was also very scatty and hard to manage diary wise (I did my best!) and I felt 'out at sea' plus our departments then moved and sort of combined - I really don't want to come across that scenario again as an EA/diary manager!

daisychain01 in fact the project management diary manager role you mention sounds really interesting and I'm glad I posted this here as it gives me a chance to research both project management and paralegal courses before signing up! thanks both! smile

OP’s posts: |
searchingpeace Sat 02-Feb-19 23:36:01

Have you tried becoming a freelancer with your skills sets - there is a wonderful portal called Fiverr where you can register for FREE and showcase your skills all around the world...looking at your comments, you can conduct work such as VA (Virtual Assistant), Admin/EA roles.

You can do this in your spare time, similar to what i do on the weekends for couple of hours to generate extra income....

Wish you all the best in your search

MadameDD Mon 04-Feb-19 16:26:58

searchingpeace I'm not sure being a freelancer would work for me at this moment in time as I need to cover childcare (but that's reducing) and the contracts I have now or a permanent job offer me more flexibility in terms of salary etc.

But I will take a look at Fiverr, thanks!

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Itsjeremycorbynsfault Mon 04-Feb-19 16:30:03

What about studying legal qualifications through the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives? You could then begin to start doing fee earning work if you wanted to continue working in the legal sector

MadameDD Mon 04-Feb-19 16:43:00

Itsjeremucorbynsfault - I've already spoken to the college where I studied for and gained my legal sec diploma to ask for my advice and the tutor who tutored me there advised it wasn't worth my studying to be a Legal Executive - and as far as I know that's all they train there - e.g. not paralegals.

I think but not 100% sure that if I were to train to be a paralegal I could work in law firms undertaking paralegal work at the same time. would have to look into that.

OP’s posts: |

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