Working in a law firm will soon make you realise that it is a full-time job with almost no break or vacation. Although it may come as a shock to your system, especially since you've had only part-time internships during your law school days, here's a simple solution to make your work time less stressful: Find a Work Friend.
Now though the solution sounds simple, finding a good work friend isn't that simple at all. It takes time and sometimes a few tries before you find the right one.
Even in a friendly work environment, forming close work friendships is a risky business. The fear of making the wrong friends - those with bad reputation or those who may put your personal relationship with them in the way of getting a job done - is always there.
But you will soon realise that a good work friend is a true treasure and if you are lucky enough to find one, do work hard to keep him or her.
Who can be a Work Friend? A Work Friend can be anyone who works in your office. In fact, it is always better to have more than one work friend. Though a work friend of opposite sex is not strictly prohibited, you need to learn to be in your limits.
Look for a work friend who will tell you what you need to hear and not what you want to hear; the one who will give you a sound advice when you need it instead of gossiping behind your back.
To have such a friend, you need to take the initiative. Be the friend you would like to have. Talk to your colleagues about their interests, their families, their goals and their desires. Try to be a part of all law firm events and be a person people enjoy being around. Don't complain constantly and never ever gossip. Anything you say can and will be used against you. So, no posturing, no corporate politicking; just friendship in a place that happens to involve everyone's careers.
If you show someone that you are trustworthy, you may find him or her to be trustworthy in return. But don't assume that if you have good motives, the other person has them too. So, be patient when forming a work friendship.
Work friendships offer the special benefit of allowing you to foster new relationships that have no pre-existing connection to your personal lives. They are blank slates, offering the candour you sometimes need but cannot receive from your closest friends. This is because you all endure the same circumstances, face similar challenges, and understand each other's professional desires in a like-minded manner.
The presence of a daily support system can help combat the feelings of isolation and loneliness that sometimes creep up when the going gets tough.
Some lawyers may argue that friendships forged in the workplace are short-lived. Some of them certainly are. But at the right moment in your life, you can sometimes meet people who make your everyday routine a little more bearable, and through it, you may find some of your closest friends.