Q: I am afraid that my first professional job may be fired. Four months ago, after graduating from law school, I was hired by a large law firm that had no orientation or training program. My boss always says, “Sure,” and gets angry when I ask other lawyers for help.
Q: I am afraid that my first professional job may be fired. Four months ago, after graduating from law school, I was hired by a large law firm that had no orientation or training program. My boss always says, ‘Just find out’ and get angry when I ask other lawyers for help.
Unfortunately, my boss and I seem to have a terrible communication problem too. Whenever I ask a question it gives me a long answer that I don’t understand which is very frustrating. She must be frustrated too, as she started rolling her eyes and sighing as I walk into her office.
I thought about quitting to avoid getting fired. However, I hate giving up so quickly. Is there a way out of this dilemma?
A: Feeling like a failure in your first job is a terrible experience, but don’t be too hard on yourself. This law firm apparently has a sink-or-swim culture where new hires are largely left to their own devices. In such environments, the underlying management philosophy seems to be survival of the fittest, so training, coaching, and peer support are virtually non-existent.
Under normal circumstances, your line manager will be expected to help you navigate the learning curve, but since conversations with her are unproductive, you will need to find another suitable mentor. Fortunately, most large law firms have a human resources manager or partner in charge of new hires, both of which should be able to help.
Without criticizing your boss or the company, explain the challenges you are facing and ask how other beginners have managed to learn the ropes. When it feels appropriate, ask your new ally to have a performance planning conversation with your manager. A translator?? could help to break down the barriers to communication.
But if your adjustment continues to be difficult, don’t despair. This large, impersonal organization may not be a good fit.
Total working time depending on the employment status
Q: My boss often expects me to work long hours. How many hours a day can he make me work?
A: The answer depends on the nature of your position. In general, if you are in a non-exempted job that is covered by the Federal Wage Act, you cannot be asked to work more than eight hours a day without overtime pay. If you have a union contract, your working hours and remuneration are set out in that agreement.
If, on the other hand, you have a typical job that is exempt from federal guidelines, there is no legal limit to your working hours. Employees are usually expected to get the results they want, no matter how long it takes.
Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and author of? Secrets To Winning In Office Politics. Submit questions and get free coaching tips at www.yourofficecoach.com.