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  1. - Top - End - #961
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    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 5

    Quote Originally Posted by Aedilred View Post
    Not really an "advice" issue, because I can't do a lot about it, but I feel like I need to vent about work...
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    I'm generally pretty happy in my job and enjoy the work but the office politics are becoming a problem. The senior partner in my team, who recruited me, recently retired and was replaced by one of the other partners who doesn't know a great deal about our area of work.

    The junior partner in our department puts on a good show but is borderline dangerously incompetent. It feels like we're marking days until one of his clients sues us. He's reluctant to do any work at all and when he does it is usually of a low standard. He's also started poaching work from other members of the department even when they're not in areas he should be practising in at all. He seems to make a terrible mess of everything he touches and I'm actually a bit worried that when I go off for a couple of weeks he'll take over some of my files and screw them up.

    Everyone else in the department - including the secretaries - is aware of this but nothing seems to be being done about it. He and the senior partner were apparently friends before his arrival, although the senior partner is (or at least says he is) aware of his limitations. But then again because he doesn't really know what we do, he tends to leave us to get on with it and only becomes involved when things go wrong, by which point it's too late. Even when you can identify problems on his files in advance there's usually no smoking gun because it's a question of what's not there rather than what is, so you have to know what you're looking for to identify the issue: I can, and my immediately senior colleagues can, but nobody at a top level in the firm really has the capability now.

    I'm a pretty junior member of the department and don't want to cause any fuss because I'm applying internally for opportunities for training and promotion and don't want to appear a troublemaker or prima donna. I have only just got my feet under the table at the firm and can't easily leave for somewhere else any time soon - and don't really want to unless I have to. I actually have a good personal relationship with everyone in the team (including him) but there is nevertheless a widening gulf of frustration between him and everyone else.

    On the other hand, there is a growing danger that if things don't change, the two senior associates in the department - who are very competent and supportive of me - will leave for somewhere else and I won't have their experience to draw on. There's also the risk of being caught up in the mess of one of the junior partner's files and I don't trust him not to throw me under the bus even when it's his fault.


    I don't like office politics and hope to keep my head down until I have a position of greater security but it's increasingly hard not to get drawn in as things go on.
    Since you're a junior employee, I don't recommend approaching or complaining about the partners. That said, I absolutely recommend talking with the more senior associates in your own department, but carefully.

    Don't just come up and declare "This is a problem!"
    Rather, ask them their opinions. "Hey, I noticed X. It was somewhat worrying, but maybe I'm missing something. Is this a problem?"

    The senior associates will be better positioned (and better equipped) to escalate the issue if it needs to be done. And if you're part of that escalation, then at least you aren't going in alone, not being a prima donna.

    And if they decide no escalation is required, accept that for now. You did your due diligence.

  2. - Top - End - #962
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    Aedilred's Avatar

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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 5

    Quote Originally Posted by ve4grm View Post
    Since you're a junior employee, I don't recommend approaching or complaining about the partners. That said, I absolutely recommend talking with the more senior associates in your own department, but carefully.

    Don't just come up and declare "This is a problem!"
    Rather, ask them their opinions. "Hey, I noticed X. It was somewhat worrying, but maybe I'm missing something. Is this a problem?"

    The senior associates will be better positioned (and better equipped) to escalate the issue if it needs to be done. And if you're part of that escalation, then at least you aren't going in alone, not being a prima donna.

    And if they decide no escalation is required, accept that for now. You did your due diligence.
    To be honest, we're some way beyond that: they if anything feel more strongly about it than I do, talk openly to me about their (low) opinions of the situation, and at least one of them has raised concerns fairly explicitly up the management chain, but they have the same worries that nothing seems to be changing or being done. This is why I'm concerned that they will leave if things don't improve, since they can do that fairly easily, but I can't.

    Notwithstanding that I don't want to get mixed up in any instances of negligence I'm not too worried about that for its own sake: I can justify everything I've done, I don't have ultimate responsibility and I trust most of my immediate colleagues to back me up if the chips are down. In some ways it would almost be better if things did kick off in that respect because at least that would bring things to a head. I'm more worried about my own future development if things continue as is and the people who know what they're doing leave - and indeed, the outcome for the firm in general.

    Quote Originally Posted by Liquor Box View Post
    What profession are you in?
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  3. - Top - End - #963
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    DrowGirl

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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 5

    Quote Originally Posted by Aedilred View Post
    T

    Law.
    What is your practice area, and how large is the firm?

  4. - Top - End - #964
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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 5

    I just need some outside opinions on this...

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    In 1999, just before I graduated from college, I met and started dating a woman, A. Soon after graduation, I went to Navy OCS, then a follow-on school in Rhode Island. In July 2000, I was stationed in Norfolk. A and I stayed together through that. She lived in North Carolina, so we weren't too far apart.

    At the time, I was still living as a woman, and this was the era of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, so A could not move to Norfolk with me. We continued our long-distance relationship though me being relocated to the DC area (2003), and then getting out of the Navy (2004). I got a job in the DC area, but she was settled into her job in NC and unable to move. Our long-distance relationship continued.

    We broke up in early 2006, with me still in DC and her still in NC.

    In late 2006, I started transition to male. In May 2009, I met my now-wife, S. A few months later, I moved to Florida to go to law school, and was there until May 2012. (S moved to Florida with me.) After graduation, S and I moved in with her parents in the DC area until I found a job. My first few legal jobs were in the DC area, so S and I stayed with her parents until April 2017.

    In 2012, I finally broke down and got on Facebook. At some point, I friended A on FB. We hadn't had much contact in the 6 years since we broke up, though I knew she was still in NC. Through FB, I learned that A recently got married.

    My job is in Virginia, but right on the NC line. For a multitude of reasons, S and I decided to live in NC.


    I have no romantic feelings for A. I got over that break-up long ago and am completely committed to my wife. However, A and her wife live about an hour from me and my wife. I have not seen A in person in probably 10 years, and have been debating asking A if she would like to meet for a drink. (I'd also like to meet her wife, but that may be too much.) If it was any other friend that I hadn't seen in that long, I would not think twice about meeting up. But A isn't just a friend I reconnected with; we were together for almost 7 years.

    Should I try to rebuild my friendship with A?
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  5. - Top - End - #965
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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 5

    Quote Originally Posted by Kesnit View Post
    I just need some outside opinions on this...

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    In 1999, just before I graduated from college, I met and started dating a woman, A. Soon after graduation, I went to Navy OCS, then a follow-on school in Rhode Island. In July 2000, I was stationed in Norfolk. A and I stayed together through that. She lived in North Carolina, so we weren't too far apart.

    At the time, I was still living as a woman, and this was the era of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, so A could not move to Norfolk with me. We continued our long-distance relationship though me being relocated to the DC area (2003), and then getting out of the Navy (2004). I got a job in the DC area, but she was settled into her job in NC and unable to move. Our long-distance relationship continued.

    We broke up in early 2006, with me still in DC and her still in NC.

    In late 2006, I started transition to male. In May 2009, I met my now-wife, S. A few months later, I moved to Florida to go to law school, and was there until May 2012. (S moved to Florida with me.) After graduation, S and I moved in with her parents in the DC area until I found a job. My first few legal jobs were in the DC area, so S and I stayed with her parents until April 2017.

    In 2012, I finally broke down and got on Facebook. At some point, I friended A on FB. We hadn't had much contact in the 6 years since we broke up, though I knew she was still in NC. Through FB, I learned that A recently got married.

    My job is in Virginia, but right on the NC line. For a multitude of reasons, S and I decided to live in NC.


    I have no romantic feelings for A. I got over that break-up long ago and am completely committed to my wife. However, A and her wife live about an hour from me and my wife. I have not seen A in person in probably 10 years, and have been debating asking A if she would like to meet for a drink. (I'd also like to meet her wife, but that may be too much.) If it was any other friend that I hadn't seen in that long, I would not think twice about meeting up. But A isn't just a friend I reconnected with; we were together for almost 7 years.

    Should I try to rebuild my friendship with A?
    What does your wife suggest?
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  6. - Top - End - #966
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    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 5

    Quote Originally Posted by dehro View Post
    What does your wife suggest?
    Yeah, step 1 is to not do any of this behind your wife's back.

    Whether or not it's appropriate depends on the feelings of everyone involved, including you, A, and both of your wives.

    Also, while you say meeting her wife might be too much, I'm actually of the opinion that it might be more comfortable if both couples met together. That way it's more open, and jealousy can be tempered since everyone can see what's happening.

    that said, the only people who can really say how to proceed are you and your wife.

  7. - Top - End - #967
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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 5

    Quote Originally Posted by Liquor Box View Post
    What is your practice area, and how large is the firm?
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    The firm is small-medium sized with about 50 members of staff; I'm in the litigation department.
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  8. - Top - End - #968
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    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 5

    Quote Originally Posted by Aedilred View Post
    To be honest, we're some way beyond that: they if anything feel more strongly about it than I do, talk openly to me about their (low) opinions of the situation, and at least one of them has raised concerns fairly explicitly up the management chain, but they have the same worries that nothing seems to be changing or being done. This is why I'm concerned that they will leave if things don't improve, since they can do that fairly easily, but I can't.

    Notwithstanding that I don't want to get mixed up in any instances of negligence I'm not too worried about that for its own sake: I can justify everything I've done, I don't have ultimate responsibility and I trust most of my immediate colleagues to back me up if the chips are down. In some ways it would almost be better if things did kick off in that respect because at least that would bring things to a head. I'm more worried about my own future development if things continue as is and the people who know what they're doing leave - and indeed, the outcome for the firm in general.
    I'd say you've done your due diligence, then. At least one of them has escalated the issue.

    If you're worried about the senior associates leaving and leaving you alone, I'd once again talk with the senior colleagues about it. Ask them if they think something more needs to be done to escalate this, because you don't really feel you have the authority or seniority to do so, but it worries you. They also may have advice on what to do when you get a file that you consider "dangerous" - whether to return it to the partner to be completed, fill in missing info yourself, whatever.

    Right now, it's all about hierarchy. You bring it to those above you (even if they're technically the same level, their seniority makes them "above" in terms of ability to deal with this) and they escalate or tell you to escalate.

    If you have a direct supervisor (and it's a decently run company) you may also be able to bring it to them under condition of anonymity, and they can escalate on your behalf. I know not every working situation is ideal, though, so only do this if you trust that supervisor to not let it impact future promotions.

  9. - Top - End - #969
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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 5

    Quote Originally Posted by dehro View Post
    What does your wife suggest?
    Quote Originally Posted by ve4grm View Post
    Yeah, step 1 is to not do any of this behind your wife's back.
    I had no intention of going behind my wife's back. I haven't talked to my wife because if people said "no, that is dumb. Don't do it." I would drop it there.

    Also, while you say meeting her wife might be too much, I'm actually of the opinion that it might be more comfortable if both couples met together. That way it's more open, and jealousy can be tempered since everyone can see what's happening.
    My wife is a bit shy, which is why I was not sure about inviting her. Obviously, she would be welcome if she wanted to go.
    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

    Proud member of the "I Love Anyway" Club

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  10. - Top - End - #970
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    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 5

    Quote Originally Posted by Kesnit View Post
    I had no intention of going behind my wife's back. I haven't talked to my wife because if people said "no, that is dumb. Don't do it." I would drop it there.
    It's not dumb at all. Depending on the situation, it might end up being ill-advised, but wanting a connection with someone who was a huge part of your life is just... human.

    My wife is a bit shy, which is why I was not sure about inviting her. Obviously, she would be welcome if she wanted to go.
    Good. Make sure that is explicit, though. You don't want someone assuming the worst because you thought it was obvious and didn't bother to make sure.

    The way forward here is fraught with traps, and if not handled carefully and openly could result in hurting your wife's feelings. Take it slow, and keep it open and visible to her.

  11. - Top - End - #971
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    DrowGirl

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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 5

    Quote Originally Posted by Aedilred View Post
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    The firm is small-medium sized with about 50 members of staff; I'm in the litigation department.
    It probably wont help very much, but I suggest that this person wont be the last incompetent litigator you have to work with, he probably wont be the last partner who poaches work, he will probably get away with it to a large extent. In my experience law firms are high in office politics, and because the focus is on bringing in clients, it is more than possible to survive there if your technical skills are not great.

  12. - Top - End - #972
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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 5

    Good news/bad news time.

    Good news: I may have figured out what's been causing me a month of horrible asthma.

    Bad news: The leading culprit is wheat.

    I'm trying to get tested by an allergist to be sure.

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