Lawyers know how to learn. That’s our job. However, one of my biggest career challenges has been learning about myself. I’ve struggled to align my work with my values..
When people ask about my career path, my short answer is: sports lawyer turned media lawyer turned tech lawyer. Through these experiences, l’ve learned: (1) to pursue audacious goals (2) change isn’t failure, and (3) to align my values with my work.
Recently, I joined Worksome as the Senior Director of Legal and interim General Counsel. Worksome is a platform that makes it easy to hire, manage, and compliantly pay flexible talent anywhere in the world. I was attracted to this opportunity for three reasons: (1) the people, (2) culture, and (3) unique legal opportunities.
The people are what sold me on Worksome. The company focuses on attracting and retaining talent by actively building a culture of trust, transparency, and inclusivity. As a result, the team is enthusiastic, engaged, and has fun at work!
From a legal point of view, Worksome presents two unique opportunities. First, one of Worksome’s tools, Classify, provides legal recommendations. This means the legal team is essential to building the product, which as a former product counsel, is an exciting opportunity.
Every day I go to work excited to build the legal department of the futureLaura Jeffords Greenberg
Second, Worksome is focused on improving the future of work. The company fully supports developing an innovative legal function. Every day, I go to work excited to build the legal department of the future.
But it’s taken a long time to get here – where my work is aligned with my values, and where I utilize my strengths in a supportive work environment. In the past, I’ve ignored mismatches because I was too focused on superficial aspects like the sexiness of a brand or product. In learning about myself, I’ve also come to understand that change is not failure; it’s staying true to yourself when something is not working.
One constant that has enabled me to pivot my career is my belief in myself. I set audacious goals because I believed I could achieve them. For example, during law school, I set a goal of working at the National Football League (NFL). Almost everyone discouraged me from pursuing this seemingly unattainable goal. But through networking and volunteering in the sports law community, I started full-time work at NFL 6 months after law school graduation.
What I’ve learnt
Working at the NFL was an exciting opportunity. But, I learned two key lessons about myself. First, my values aligned with the players rather than the management. Second, the prospect of doing the same work season after season, year after year, was a big turn-off. So I made a change.
My next big three learnings came while working at Red Bull Media House in Salzburg, Austria. First, I enjoyed working for a risk-taking business because it required creative problem-solving. Second, I found one of my superpowers was creating greater efficiencies for the legal team. Third and more importantly, as an American working in Europe, I learned to work to live rather than live to work.
When I left Red Bull to relocate to New York for my husband’s job, a colleague gave me great advice. She suggested looking at tech startups because they were more closely aligned with Red Bull’s culture. She was right – I became the first legal counsel at a VR startup and loved it!
During this time, my husband and I realized we felt more connected to life in Europe and set a goal of moving to Copenhagen. I began volunteering with European tech organizations to move closer to this goal. That’s how I ran across Unity’s career page, where I found a job description that was written for me. I applied and Unity moved my family and I to Denmark. Now, I’m working for a Danish startup and loving life in my adopted country.
Through ups and downs, I’ve found these beliefs are key for fulfilling work:
Set audacious goals.
- Believe in yourself.
- Network and pursue opportunities that get you closer to your goal.
- Broadcast your goals (the universe has a way of conspiring with you).
Recognizing change isn’t failure.
- Change is being true to yourself (so change what isn’t working).
Align your work with your values.
- Chase opportunities aligned with your values.
- Aligning your values with your work will empower you to shine your brightest.
- Don’t get distracted by “shiny objects”; a supportive work environment where employees are valued is more important than anything superficial.
And don’t forget to have fun along the way!