Most often, my blogs here relate to Canadian trademark practice – always changing and often of interest to trademark owners and practionners. This time however, I’m writing about mid-career transitions, which have become increasingly common amongst IP professionals and has affected many people I know all over the world. These can be challenging experiences to navigate.

Last year I participated in an INTA session which discussed the importance of identifying purpose, vision and motivation in our careers. Often, we lose motivation and feel less inspired without realizing when it’s happening. These changes can occur slowly and be the result of external and internal influences. It is also normal to have ups and downs in our engagement and career paths. Identification and recognition is the first step towards re-engagement and renewed motivation at work. While many people set professional and personal goals at the beginning of every year, many do not regularly check in with themselves and conduct self-assessments throughout the year.

Regardless of where we work, it is important to set realistic goals and make proactive plans. Start with identifying your target and then create a framework for success.

There are a number of suggestions to help with career motivation – many of which have nothing to do with work itself! Having hobbies, interests, volunteering, exercising, spending time with friends and family are important and contribute to our satisfaction at work and our ability to manage work related challenges.

Business development is something for everyone to keep in mind – including in-house attorneys and administrators. Develop a network in and outside of your organization. Get involved with local and international organizations. Speaking, writing and being an active member of your community can be a terrific vehicle to increase your exposure, build your network and get to know people better.

Anticipate that a mid-career change will happen – it may not be planned, and may come unexpectedly. Transitions may occur from private practice to in-house and from in-house to private practice. Frequently changes can occur in more subtle ways within your organization.

Continue to strengthen your brand, network, be authentic in your connections, acknowledge your strengths and what you enjoy doing, invest in yourself and what you like to do outside of work.


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