Starting a new legal job is exciting and challenging, particularly within the fast paced legal industry, and can be a stressful and demanding time.
Here are our top ten tips on how to survive adjusting to a new legal job and your new boss.
You're going to be taking in a huge amount of new information during your first few weeks on the job, and it's particularly difficult within the fast paced legal industry. Even seasoned lawyers agree that starting a new job is a tough task.
So expect challenges and don't be too hard on yourself as everyone has been a new starter at least once. Go into a new job with an open mind and the flexibility to change.
It can take anywhere between two to six months to feel like you know what you're doing in a new job, and in some especially difficult legal jobs, even longer
It can take anywhere between two to six months to feel like you know what you're doing in a new job, and in some especially difficult legal jobs, even longer. Don't panic if you still feel overwhelmed or like you don't fit into the culture in your few months month, it's normal to feel this way and the feeling will go away over time.
You might think you have a better way of doing things but get to know your new job and workplace before you suggest doing things differently. You might learn they have already tried those ideas or that they didn't work for a reason. And you may risk annoying your new colleagues.
It is important to understand your boss’s communication style from the beginning. Work out how they like to get things done on a daily basis. For example, does your new boss like one-on-one meetings or team meetings? Are they interested in the detail or do they prefer a summary?
Be proactive and initiate a meeting with your new boss to discuss how they like to work, and adapt accordingly.
Working under a new boss can be unnerving and challenging. Learn everything you can from the experience and try to empathise with the boss’s situation — it can be just as challenging for them. This will ease the transition for you both.
Remember, it’s up to the both of you to make the relationship work.
To help you adjust into your new work environment, make an effort in your first few weeks to get to know your colleagues. These are the people who will be able to help you find your way and even give you a heads up on what things matter most to your boss.
Some bosses are better managers and more natural teachers than others. If you need more information or don't fully comprehend what's going on, don't be shy about asking for what you need.
Be proactive and talk to your boss about your own career goals and what they expect of you otherwise you won't know what a successful first month to six months should look like.
Spend the first few weeks in your new role learning about the company culture. What hours do most people work? Is there a lot of socializing during the day, or do people stay focused on their work? Are you expected to eat lunch at your desk? Does everyone go for a drink on a Friday night?
Once you find out about the culture at your new company will you be able to adjust fully.
At the end of your first few weeks, ask your boss how they think you are getting on, if there's anything you could do differently and where you could focus more. Most feedback is generally constructive and will help you get guidance early.
If everything is positive and you hear you are doing a superb job, you'll get an extra confidence boost that will help you to adjust even more easily.
Read similar career advice articles.
For more career advice please contact:
Nic Sephton-Poultney, Country Manager (South Africa)
+27 (0) 11 881 2414
8 ways to prepare for a legal job interview
Though the legal industry is currently one of the strongest sectors for recruitment growth, job interviews can be a daunting process wherever you are in your career, take the worry out of your next interview by following these quick and easy tips from our industry experts… Whether you’re just startiRead More
How to become an attorney
As a law student, being prepared and knowing your career path are two simple steps to landing your ideal legal job. Our legal recruitment specialists at Robert Walters discuss the next steps to help you become and successfully be admitted as an attorney in South Africa. You have two options: BCom LaRead More
Tips for lawyers returning to SA
Robert Walters has seen an rise in the number of South African legal professionals looking to return home from the UK. So what's the trade off to come home and is it worth it? The country is offering much more growth than some of the more traditional markets and that's creating increased interest inRead More
Come join our global team of creative thinkers, problem solvers and game changers. We offer accelerated career progression, a dynamic culture and expert training.