Thursday, 26 February 2009

Relationships make Work Worthwhile

I have now been with LawCare for eleven years, almost since it began. By a curious accident, I’m the only member of LawCare’s staff who was not formerly a lawyer. Prior to joining LawCare I had some pretty dreadful jobs– most of them during the summers when I was a student, admittedly.

When I think back to those weeks spent selling door to door, or serving breakfast in a hotel, or even trying to make sure all the street lights in Cardiff were working, I remember them with a fond smile and can still name the friends I made and think of those as good times because, however menial, degrading, tedious or perplexing the job, I had great people around me who made the hours fly by.

We know from the callers to our helpline that working relationships can make or break a job. I am sure we can all think of firms or jobs we have left where our greatest regret is leaving good friends, knowing that we will never really be able to maintain the relationship we had when we were working together. Several helpline callers, often working in very unpleasant circumstances, have said that they would leave were it not that they don’t want to leave their much-loved colleagues “in the lurch.”

All jobs get difficult at times. However much you enjoy your work, there will be tasks you are putting off, dull days, hours when you are very stressed and perhaps even times when you are thinking of moving on. A firm would do well to foster good working relationships between staff. Occasional social events, allowing colleagues to mix freely to share ideas and help each other with problems, and making sure those in authority are friendly and approachable can improve the working environment and create loyalty to the firm and to each other which ensures employees stay on during these tough periods.

Being a lawyer or working in a legal context may not be as physically demanding as being a door-to-door canvasser or breakfast waitress, but it can still be tough, tedious and perplexing, and it is the working relationships we have with those around us which will keep us at our desks.

LawCare’s free and confidential helpline is available 9-7.30 Monday-Friday, 10-4 weekends, on:
0800 279 6888 (Solicitors, Law Students and Legal Executives in England and Wales)
0800 279 6869 (Solicitors, Advocates and Law Students in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man)
0800 018 4299 (Barristers, Clerks and Judges in England and Wales)
1800 991801 (Solicitors in the Republic of Ireland)

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