Having specialised, largely, in real estate finance since I qualified in 2014, I considered that the secondment would give me an opportunity to experience (and gain an appreciation of) what life is like as the 'Borrower's solicitor' in secured lending transactions, and so I accepted the offer.
Having now completed the secondment and returned to our Banking team, I've taken some time to reflect on my experience and jotted down some of the key benefits of an internal secondment which, at first, might not be obvious. So, here are my top five benefits:
- It's a safe space to develop your knowledge and skills in a particular area - or learn a new skill
You already know the basics, such as how to send an email, work the printer and, most importantly, your direct dial! Therefore, you can spend your time learning the job at hand.
Also, as you're from a different team, colleagues appreciate you will need a bit more support and guidance (at least initially).
- Your 'usual' team is still there to support you
Just because you have moved to a new department (and in my case a different floor of the building) doesn't mean that your existing team will forget who you are.
I found that my colleagues in our Banking team were always on hand to answer or help with those 'quick questions' that, in the beginning, I just felt more confident asking someone I had worked with for longer.
- It provides an opportunity to get a different perspective on things
This one is perhaps more applicable to the commercial real estate / real estate finance areas. For me, I found that I have gained a better understanding of transactions from a 'Borrower' perspective, and the challenges faced by clients on the 'receiving end', so to speak.
- It's an opportunity to meet new people in the organisation and develop working relationships with them
This one speaks for itself. I now have a strong working relationship with a number of colleagues in our CRE team who I perhaps wouldn't have had a real opportunity to get to know otherwise.
- You make new client contacts while still being able to assist your existing ones
As the work is different, you get to meet different types of clients. For me, this included clients who were buying, borrowing and/or leasing as well as their property managers, accountants and their wider teams.
As for valued, existing clients, your contact details don't change, so you can still be a point of contact - even if you are not directly carrying out work for them, you can put them in touch with the appropriate person.
For anyone in a similar position who might be considering an internal secondment within their own organisation, my advice would be to see it as a positive opportunity and to go for it!