Mediocre midsummer review - seeking support, advice

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Re: Mediocre midsummer review - seeking support, advice

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:18 am

If OP is at a Boston firm, I've heard about this person from people he is summering with.

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Re: Mediocre midsummer review - seeking support, advice

Postby Lincoln » Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:45 am

Redfactor wrote:Okay, I have a little more time, so I will (attempt) to contribute with some advice. This is simply what my gut tells me you should do. (For the most part, I feel I got the exact same read as NYstate on the situation.)

1) Get new clothes. Get professional business clothes that cost money. Dress like an interview every day from now on. Don't go GQ or trendy -- go with conservative business. Make sure they fit you well. If you're fat and look sloppy in a suit, go to tailor and spend the money. Tailors know how to hang suits so you look your best.

2) Pay for dry cleaning. Make sure that your shirts are pressed and clean and learn how to properly tie a tie.

3) Get leather shoes that are of quality and a watch that is classic in design and taste. No jewelry except a watch, wedding ring, and small + tasteful religious necklace (tucked into shirt).

4) Shave your face. If you've got a beard or facial hair, shave that off now. I am not talking beard trimmer or electric razor shave. Shave your face every morning with a razor. No sideburns.

5) Get a haircut. It should be a quality haircut not some 12 dollar quickcuts hackjob. No more than 2 inches on the top and it should be tapered / faded to the base. No fauxhawks. Don't style to be trendy. Ensure that you're getting at least your neck trimmed every week.

6) Brush your teeth and maybe get your teeth cleaned / bleached.

7) Change your mindset about working there. Just because you're about to get the same degree they have doesn't make you equals. At all. Start realizing your position on the food chain and act accordingly. The phrases 'yes sir' 'no sir' should become second habit. Everyone at that office including their assistants has done way more legal work than you have. Treat them with the respect they deserve.

8 ) Don't tell jokes. By all means, laugh at jokes that others, especially associates and partners, make, but lay off contributing your own unless it's a social or lunch or non-work setting.

Now, I actually differ from some of the other posters. I think this issue needs to be met head on.

AFTER you get your clothes and a new look, I would approach the person / lead person who gave you the review and directly acknowledge and validate their critique, thank them for expressing it to you, and let them know that you are actively working to resolve their concerns. Also, tell them that if they notice the trend continuing or anything that "lacks the professionalism or appearance that the firm wants to foster" to let you know so you can continue to adjust. (You're basically inviting them to grade you harsher than your peers in this regard so you better back up your talk and not give them something to criticize.)

This talk should be done professionally. You should ask for a minute to address something and then tactfully dictate / control the conversation until you've said your piece. This should not be done in the halls and they should not have the opinion that it was on-a-whim.

In my opinion, the person who directly spoke to you about the issues is the only one you should approach about it, even if the concerns raised weren't theirs directly. If you approach and confront the concerns well, they should/will relay this back to the person who raised the concern.

You've skylined yourself already. That is not good. They've already gotten a fairly sunk-in impression of you and it's not a good one. You need to not do what the other SA's do because they are being judged on a different scale than you. Because this has become an issue they will spot it in you so easily and quickly. Give them nothing to criticize.

Even if you are doing the same thing as the other SA's, you are going to be the one to get burned. And just like "going with the flow of traffic" isn't going to get you out of a speeding ticket, it's not going to save your job here. You do you and don't gauge your professionalism in relation to anyone else in the office.

Don't become a robot, but it's hard for me to imagine you over-correcting on this issue if you've only got short time to reverse the damage.

Best of luck

I'm not saying all of this is wrong, but your main pieces of advice would not go over well at my firm, which is probably one of the most formal in the business. First, most firms have a style for addressing each other. If no one else addresses partners with "sir" or "Mr. [insert partner's last name[" it would come off as very weird to do so. Follow the established style. If in doubt, ask someone who would know, but who doesn't directly supervise you (like an associate mentor or "buddy").

Second, directly addressing the concerns with the partner seems odd to me. Professionalism is key in this business, so I completely agree that the criticism is something you should take seriously; at my firm, however, such a talk would likely be considered a total waste of the partner's time. Instead, show the partner that you have taken the concerns seriously by how you present yourself in your appearance and future interactions with him/her.

Third, bleaching your teeth is stupid and counterproductive in the long term. (Bleaching your teeth has a corrosive effect on the enamel of your teeth, making it less smooth, thereby causing it to stain more easily in the future, in turn causing you to have to get your teeth bleached again, etc.)

Instead, my advice would be to be as professional as possible in all interactions at the firm, including in emails and other written communication. If you stay conscious of it, it's something that shouldn't be hard to address.

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Re: Mediocre midsummer review - seeking support, advice

Postby NYstate » Sun Jul 07, 2013 9:54 am

Anonymous User wrote:If OP is at a Boston firm, I've heard about this person from people he is summering with.

Why anon?

I doubt that OP is the only SA that has this issue. Smart but immature or unprofessional SAs crop up everywhere.

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Re: Mediocre midsummer review - seeking support, advice

Postby Redfactor » Sun Jul 07, 2013 10:34 am

Last edited by Redfactor on Mon Sep 09, 2013 6:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Mediocre midsummer review - seeking support, advice

Postby lolwat » Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:37 am

I don't know how fucked you are from this review. My sense is that you aren't (midsummer reviews happen for a reason, right? If it's something that can be fixed, and you show that you can fix it, then I think you're safe), but that doesn't mean you shouldn't address everything directly and immediately as suggested above. Redfactor gives all good advice here.

I think it should be very easy to adjust 180 to your surroundings for the next few weeks. Everything clothing and appearance related is 100% fixable and very easy to do so--you could do it all within like 4 hours of shopping. How you speak with people is another matter, but should also be very simple to fix. I don't think this is a personality thing, but if you do find it insufferable, you need to find another place to work long-term. But deal with that when it comes up later on; your ONLY goal right now is to get an offer from your current firm.

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