As I read over the list of six conditions that Drucker believed enabled productivity, I came to the conclusion that I have never worked in a place that provided all six. Usually that last one, being seen as an asset as opposed to a cost, is the easy one to see. Management loves to remind you that you are a cost, especially if you work in a tech or training position. Heck, anything other than a sales position in some organizations is a “cost”, and we all know anyone who isn’t directly billing more hours to a client than they get paid in legal is a cost. As we have seen over the last year, you can do great work, but when shareholders and Boards decide it’s time to cut costs, that great work won’t grant you immunity from mass layoffs.
Imagine a day when technologists, lawyers, and vendors could have easy conversations about eDiscovery because they all have a deep understanding of the technology and tools involved. We don’t see it often, and that causes some real problems as we see from some of the cases we all read about. Maybe someday.
The question I’ve always had though, is what exactly changed and when did it change? Because I can’t believe most women go to law school and graduate planning on working at a large law firm for a few years and then leaving to go solo, in-house, public sector, or teaching at law school, despite the fact that it happens a lot! Again, in my anecdotal experience, it happens much more often than it does for male associates.
If we have a system that “works” for male lawyers this much more often than female or gender non-binary lawyers, maybe it’s not a good system.
If you’re a female attorney who’s left a law firm and wants to share your experience and reasons, I’d love to hear about it and possibly write about it. (You can reach out to me privately if you’d like to remain anonymous.) I am truly curious about what it’s like to graduate law school versus the reality of law firm life a few years later, and what law firms could have done to keep you.
Over the years I think many firms have started to understand that and taken steps to improve their own security posture.
And then along comes a story like this.
I’ve heard of companies “green-washing” talking a good game about their work on climate change while also continuing to be a large contributor to it, but in the area of wellbeing, this was a new one. Except, it isn’t a new idea. This study asked employees at UK companies if the public statements about mental health and employee support match what is happening within the company itself. Many said that the public supportiveness did not match the internal work culture. That’s not anything new. I think we have all worked somewhere or have heard plenty of stories about workplaces where the public face of the company or even the internal HR face talks quite a lot about how much they focus on employee wellness but apparently, no one told the middle managers about it.
We all started somewhere. We all started in some entry-level jobs. We all learned and grew. Good workplaces develop their entry-level people, turning them into experts. It would be a shame to spend all that time developing people and then losing them because you never gave them the same respect they would immediately get by going somewhere else. Somewhere that never knew them when they were in an entry-level position.
The people who worked to learn and build their knowledge and skills deserve better.