Dismissal: Lessons to be Learned March 1, 2010Posted by Travis in Life at Medium Sized Law Firm, Working Life.
I intended to write this post last month, but with internet down-time and generally being busy I never got round to it. Last month a member of my team (old job) got dismissed. At the time I was going to ask how fellow bloggers and readers dealt with difficult and unhelpful colleagues, but before I got a chance the colleague in question got called into a meeting and immediately dismissed. Despite warnings, her behaviour had remained unchanged.
Lessons to be learned from this:
- be a team player – and fit in with the team
- if someone higher up the food chain makes a complaint – rectify your behaviour – doesn’t matter if they are not your boss! Start picking and choosing who you are going to listen to – you are asking for trouble.
Beyond this I don’t want to say too much about the situation for obvious reasons. But the questions I am going to put to you, my audience, today are:
- at what point does a colleague move past simply being irritating / unhelpful / unproductive to the point that it justifies making a complaint?
- Should you cover up for a colleague / make good their work?
- do we overlook so-called “bad behaviour” more if the colleague is likeable? and should we?
Here some of the complaints were small, but over 10 people complained and it was over a period of 6 months, and she never changed her behaviour because she thought she was indispensable. In reality: everyone is expendable.
Change in Law Firms? February 22, 2010Posted by Travis in Life at Large Law Firm, Life at Medium Sized Law Firm, Working Life.
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Some fellow colleagues (from my old firm) consider law firms (and lawyers) to be dinosaurs – resistant to change and not particularly innovative.
They are wrong. In my experience, previous and current employers like Innovation, but innovation and change is hampered by the amount of time it takes to get anything done.
For example, I made numerous suggestions at my old firm about changes that could be made to improve my team – some of them over 6 months ago, and only half of them had been implemented. As soon as I announced my departure – we got the bigger desks, we got the email accounts we wanted and we got more search and database access. I know there is a general acceptance that the bigger the firm the longer it takes for changes to be implemented – however such changes were team specific and easy to implement and many were rights that other employees already had. So I question why did it take so long? was it simply bad organisation? did they really need a sign off from the top for us to get staplers that didn’t cause repetitive strain injury and swelling. Or for health an safety issues about getting more desk space when all our piles of paper on the floor because of a lack of space were probably a greater health and safety risk.
When I was leaving my old firm was running a “competition” where you could suggest innovative ideas on how they could improve their business model, greenness or simply anything that sprung to mind.
I had several suggestions, but never got round to submitting them, because I was leaving the firm. I was debating whether to still submit them, but as you had to do a presentation and everything (if picked out as a good idea) I figured it would be rather difficult. But it got me wondering if I really had put ideas forward that could potentially be firm wide and boost our paperless systems – how long would that take?
My new firm on the other hand have a permanent link for suggestions on their intranet (a much better idea). But the same suggestion wouldn’t work for them because they are targeting a different market and a different area of work. But maybe in time I’ll come up with something new.
On Friday however, I was having an informal chat with one of the solicitors I am now working for and he was suggesting I take a fresh look at their case management system and suggest improvements as they were all “hardened” to it. he thought I’d be good at this given my background in paperless filing systems and general organisation. That much is true – but I’m worried he’s expecting amazing changes – which in all honesty would be hard as they’ve a pretty good case management system already which works well. But I think he appreciates that and knows that if I see a problem I’ll be brutally honest and tell them – I just hope if I ever do they’ll take it as constructive criticism and not be resistant to change.
Working Update: the last week ahead February 6, 2010Posted by Travis in Life at Medium Sized Law Firm, Working Life.
This week has been a busy week, since one team member got fired last week and one had his holiday this week so all the more work for just 2 of us this week. We also moved office and I”ve a huge desk – downside – I’ve actually been running back and forth the length of the desk and it is making me more tired. One scanner has been broken the past few weeks and we finally got given a temporary replacement.
My boss finally gets it, I’ve handed in my notice and I am finishing work at the end of next week, she was seriously hoping I’d change my mind. My replacement (who is the girl I started the job with originally) is starting Monday and I’ve a week to get her up to speed again. We’re also having a partner spend a morning with us to show them what we do, as my boss is pushing to expand the team. I personally think that will be great fun, my boss is just glad I’m there and can do the selling. According to my colleague my boss calls me a machine, apparently it’s a good thing. I’m not so sure.
My new job actually wanted me to start this week coming, but I told them I’d start the following week because I told my boss I’d work this week to help out. I’ve built up a good team and I believe they deserve to be a permanent fixture (and be expanded). We make the firm paperless, a goal that is a worthy. However, I cannot wait to start me new job, I’ve no idea what it will be like. I’ve been told I’m “going to die” because everyone is going to be pulling me in different directions, but people underestimate just how organised I can be and how much I love the rush of the stress and push and pull. So we’ll see.
Casual Friday January 5, 2010Posted by Travis in Life at Medium Sized Law Firm, Working Life.
It’s been a great couple of days back at work so far, not too busy despite being a team member down and the department next to us moved over the christmas break so it is much quieter, although I believe one of them has stolen my Hungry Caterpillar mug because I can’t find it anywhere.
For girls there are no colour restrictions, although there are material and thickness restrictions when it comes to cardigans and jumpers.
My Sixth Month December 6, 2009Posted by Travis in Job hunting, Life at Medium Sized Law Firm, Working Life.
We have just hit the beginning of my sixth month working and I don’t know whether to be happy or disappointed. Happy because I still have a job, or disappointed because I had hoped to be doing something different by now. I flick between loving work and hating it. Loving it because its an enjoyable job, good company and I’m earning money. Hating it because of the half four starts, still always being broke, a particularly annoying colleague who is always in my face and simply the fact that there is nothing legal related and I’m slowly going brain dead.
The other downside is, it is making me tired, cranky and depressed. The last thing I want to do when I get in from work is training contract applications. I feel so unmotivated at the moment. There is nothing extra really on my CV since my last round of applications other than the fact that I’ve started sign language and self defence classes. I’m convinced that can’t look good.
How is everyone finding the training contract / vac scheme application process this time round and have you started? grinded to a halt? or are you merrily trotting along?
Time to take the advice from All About Law’s recent blog post: Get them in, just get it done.
Another week has gone by…. November 23, 2009Posted by Travis in Life at Medium Sized Law Firm, Working Life.
Friday was my colleague’s last day at work. She got a good send off with cupcakes and presents and hugs all round. It was in many ways like Christmas had come early, everyone was much more relaxed, sat around talking while doing their work. It was a sad day for us all and a pressured one for her replacement as he realised he has big shoes to fill. Today, however, he faced the challenge head on and actually didn’t do to bad.
On another note we also got our new VOIP phone today (after our training last week) the system doesn’t go live for another week, but it looks like it will be a worthwhile investment and a more efficient system even if there are some ridiculous new policies that are annoying everyone.
Aside from this everything is rather mundane at work. sigh. I so need something more intellectual.
“Pow” November 15, 2009Posted by Travis in Life at Medium Sized Law Firm, Online Tools, Working Life.
On a daily basis at work we scan maybe up to a 50 witness questionnaires about car accidents and the client has to draw a diagram of what happened. Usually this involves some roughly sketched diagram of the road layout with some annotations explaining what happened. Frequently people will use Google maps to help assist them with the road layout and photographs as well as the rough sketch.This week we even got pop art like drawings with wacky cartoon cars which made us all chuckle.
However, it reminded me of the Accident Sketch website I came across a while back and I decided to go back and give it a go, wondering if was actually a useful tool that clients could possibly use.
(Screenshot of my creation using Accident Sketch Website)
The website allows you to drag and drop items to create the scene – this involves cars and other vehicles, different street layouts, traffic lights and road signs. Text can also be added, although the picture will usually speak for itself. It is simple to use and easy to understand, with no sign up required. The image can then be printed off/saved as a pdf document.
The finished product is also easy to understand and won’t lead to continued correspondence between the casehandler and the client simply because one can’t work out why the client has drawn a floating fist in a tree (turned out in that particular one that the car was damaged by an unknown individual’s fist, not another vehicle like the casehandler had originally believed).
Still it is such a simple tool I’m surprised law firms haven’t started using something like this, or at least mine hasn’t. Maybe I’ll pop it in the suggestion box.
First Impressions November 3, 2009Posted by Travis in Life at Medium Sized Law Firm, Working Life.
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Today marks the beginning of the end. The girl I work with is leaving in 3 weeks and her replacement started today. We have been nervous about his arrival for the past week, as the stories about him had not been inspiring – in his 30s with kids, out of work for 4 years, best of a bad bunch. And today he arrived in the flesh and we had his company for 3 hours.
First impressions? I really hope he was just shy today comes out of his shell soon. He was a quiet type, with not much to say and favoured staring (according to a fellow colleague). But the most worrying thing of all – he doesn’t like / have / use the internet. The rest of us were then wondering how on earth he found out about the job, but we were of course polite and didn’t ask.
But my personal opinion aside, I am confident enough in that he’ll pick up the job quickly enough – at least I hope so or I’ll have to change my day off to a half day to help him out before rushing off to graduation.
Free Drinks Friday November 1, 2009Posted by Travis in Life at Medium Sized Law Firm, Working Life.
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At work we have a monthly free drink event on pay day, this month was the first time I attended the event. In part because it was the first time any friends were going.
It was a good laugh, and properly met the case-handlers we assist. They are a nice bunch. They reminded me why I do the job I do. Inspired me to push for more work, and to show their departments associate that I want to be a case-handler, and not just do admin.
I’ve been feeling down with regards work lately, feeling like it is going nowhere and worrying about my colleague’s replacement who starts next week and getting exasperated with a fellow team member.
But new week, new outlook. And been watching a lot of Bones Season 4 and eating chocolate to cheer me up this weekend.