The culture within all organizations, including law firms, bring positive and negative connotations as you transition into or out of work.
All organizations seek to be whole, whereby they create a family culture between their employees and management. Since as an individual you spend at least 40 hours per week (about 2,064 hours per year) in the same office, it makes sense that you start to relate and get close to your coworkers. How often have we heard of employees dedicating their life career to the company, going above and beyond, and employees being defined by their job. Who you are, is simply put, what you do. In order to do so, companies (including law firms) create a specific “culture” that you can relate to. Whether it is a slogan, way to do business, or activities that everyone participates on, these activities are essential for employee efficiency and loyalty.
This teaches us two things. First, the law firm culture you are currently in will affect your efficiency and willingness to go beyond your call of duty. Second, if the culture is fragmented, fractured, or incohesive, it is harder to retain key employees and expect them to perform to the expectation standards.
Thus, if you are in this law firm culture, it is important to cultivate it. Engage in the activities, get to know your coworkers. Be part of the law firm and think about how you can contribute to the health of the law firm.
On the other hand, if you are transitioning out of work, not having the structured support brings several negative connotations. With the economy as it has been, many individuals have unfortunately lost their job. If having a culture and relating to a company holds together your identity or self-worth, when you are found to be lacking one you are suddenly facing a pivotal and difficult position. For example, you may begin to question your identity. If you are no longer employed as a lawyer, or in a specific position within a company, how can you begin to identify yourself to others?
Even though it places you in a cautionary position, there are many things that you can do to use it to your advantage. In those situations it is pivotal that you go back to your core. Realize that you are an individual, separate of a job or task. Realize that your friends and family care about you because of you, not your work. Realize that you can reinvent yourself in several different ways and that life will continue on. In addition, you are capable of doing more than one type of “job.” Realizing this allows us to understand what our goals are (what are you striving for), how can we begin to form a path towards them, and having a practical eye towards the steps that you need to take.