CAREER COUNSELOR'S CORNER
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Managing Your Time at Work. [by Danielle D. Hansen]] This week, we look at ways for you to manage your time. It doesn’t have to be as daunting as it seems, as long as you prepare and actively do what it takes. Without precaution, your job will turn into a stress-filled endeavor that will make Law School seem like child’s play.
Most major law schools have policies that
seniors and supervisors that you not only
torneys, try to do so early in the day or when
limit the amount of hours students can work
have the skills and ambition to flourish as an
they don’t look so busy. Remember to respect
at outside employment, especially first-year
attorney but also that you’re willing to put in
the fact that they are probably just as busy as
students, who are sometimes prohibited
those long hours.
you, if not more. If you have a question and no
from working. The policies are in writing,
one is available to answer it, your time will be
sometimes in great detail, and they generally
Unless you’re working in the mailroom, there
wasted if you wait by someone’s office until
state the same thing: We want our students
are no time clocks at law firms. When five
that person can assist you. It’s unproduc-
dedicated to their legal studies, and for this
o’clock rolls around and you’re in the middle
tive and frustrating. Instead, be a polite pest.
reason, we do not allow these students to
of writing a brief or researching some case
Emphasize how important it is that he/she
work more than X (usually 20) hours per week.
law, you will be expected to finish your work.
address your question so that you can return
That means canceling your six o’clock dinner
to your work. You’re paid to produce, not wait
The real world has no such policy. You’d be
date, alerting your child’s daycare center,
around for answers. So if you get your answer
lucky to have a 20-hour work week. This is
and/or having to miss the latest episode of
early, you can resume working and theoreti-
magnified greatly in the legal profession,
Survivor (unless you remembered to set your
cally leave on time.
where 60-hour work weeks are not uncom-
VCR). Make your breaks count.
mon, where billable hours sometimes provide the only way for you to earn your keep, where
This is a part of legal firm life that you must
If you need a break, take one. Don’t bring
holidays are merely workdays with less traffic.
accept. You must have a plan to contend with
your papers with you when you go out for a
the inherent stress; otherwise, it will affect
walk. Clear your head, and your work won’t
Working long hours can prove to be a daunting
you greatly. Here are some suggestions for
be as daunting when you have to return to it.
task, especially for newly hired attorneys. The
battling this stress.
Of course, taking breaks too frequently will kill your productivity and will probably get you
bottom line is that you simply must adapt your lifestyle to working longer hours if you’re go-
Plan for a 10-hour day.
fired. Instead, make the quality of your breaks
ing to thrive in the legal world.
When you wake up in the morning, don’t fool
count, not the quantity.
yourself into thinking that you’ll only be there Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have
eight hours. Be realistic. If you plan for eight
to slave away for decades of your life with
hours and you start working past five o’clock,
Most younger associates do not have a staff
no time for friends or family. It does mean,
you’ll invariably begin to feel the stress. Your
to which they can delegate work. However,
however, that you may need to plan your time
personal issues and concerns about your
this doesn’t mean that you can’t ask for
more efficiently in order to get the most from
evening plans will dominate your thoughts,
help. Depending on your particular job, your
and this is not good for your concentration.
superiors might actually respect the fact that
Instead,. go to work knowing you’ll be there
you’ve asked for help. Time management
Let’s look at some time-management tips
until seven. That way, if you get off at six,
is part of your job. If you’re going to miss a
for attorneys who work in larger firms or
you’ll feel like you’re escaping an hour early.
deadline, they need to know immediately. They
This is preferable to planning to leave at five
do not want you to miss a deadline - ever.
o’clock and then realizing you’re leaving an
Correspondingly, asking for help five hours
before that deadline is infinitely better than 5
If you join a firm as a new associate, you will
be expected to work long hours. Many contend that this is the only way to succeed. In order
Get your answers ASAP.
to make partner, you will need to show your
When you need to consult with fellow at-
These are just a few tips to help you cope in a
continued on back
CAREER COUNSELOR'S CORNER
legal job. Some of these may not be applicable to your particular job. For example, if you work at a firm where delegation is frowned upon, you are expected to do your own work. However, most employers arenâ€™t that stringent. So take a deep breath occasionally and realize the end of the day is only as far away as you want it to be. Youâ€™ve entered a well-respected, high-paying profession with room for advancement, provided you work hard and pay your dues. That corner office awaits you as long as you continue to strive for it and manage your time expeditiously.
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