ConLaw2017 wrote:I guess what I am asking is will I be able to work from 8-11, have an intense work ethic, talk about my work, sports, and other small talk matters in the government and progress if I do a good job? Because if my firm is anything like the rest of biglaw, I have no interest in dealing with a place does not make an attempt to reward merit. Is the government the place for me?
I get where you're coming from, but let me give you a couple anecdotes from my experiences in the real world so far. Both are real people/real experiences:
Person A was a minority at Generic Firm LLP, who was worried about how being a minority negatively affected her performance at the firm. Person A initially was the kind of person who just wanted to do her job and leave, but then made changes (presumably because she wasn't getting anywhere). Person A became more social overall, and kept her fears about being a minority to herself (aside from occasional commiseration with other minorities in the same position). Person A was gradually trusted with more and more important tasks and was doing fairly well at the firm until she voluntarily decided to go elsewhere, once she had the clout at Generic Firm LLP to get a job at a place that was a better fit for her. People at Generic Firm LLP still speak to Person A regularly and she's remembered fondly by her colleagues; if she wanted to come back, she'd probably be let back in.
Person B was also a minority at the same firm, who had a chip on her shoulder because she felt in her last job she wasn't adequately rewarded for the amount of work and effort she put into her job. Person B also was the type to not socialize much with others, because she didn't think it was important. Her version of socializing was instead to suss out what everyone else was doing at work so she could feel better about her own progress/figure out how to get what they had/figure out if she was getting treated "fairly" and was getting "adequately compensated" for the work she was putting in. She worked much longer hours than everyone else and saw it as a point of pride, but she did it in part by using all sorts of tactics to take work away from others and get it for herself (including using these "social" conversations against people), so it didn't win her any brownie points with her colleagues or with many of the supervisors who recognized what she was doing. Also it turned out the reason she put in more hours was just because it took her at least 50%-100% longer than her colleagues to do the same work, which made her crazy hours seem less impressive once a colleague figured this out/once she started working with more people. Eventually a major client of hers left the firm, and she was SoL on work because most of the other partners had already established good working relationships with others, and none of her colleagues were willing to go to bat for her to get her on good clients, because they didn't want to get stabbed in the back. So she was given reject work to do/work from the partners everyone else had avoided. The chip grew larger. She left to go to a different firm where she faced similar problems and where the chip grew even larger. She's about to make her third move in five years or so. Her reputation at Generic Firm LLP preceded her, and partners at her third move resisted hiring her; if not for the fact that the firm lost a couple associates around the time she was trying to apply, she would not have been hired, but she got lucky.
This is in biglaw, but based on my experience in govt/non-profits socialization is just as important, if not more so, in those areas as it is in biglaw, so I don't think fedgov is going to save you from years of having to like your colleagues. And few if any jobs are going to reward people with good work but no social skills as readily as they will reward people with good work and good social skills. Not only is there more value in the latter than in the former (two skills are better than one), but humans are overall social creatures and you're just going to have to accept that socialization is going to be part and parcel of any career advancement, unless you work for robots.