In part one of this two-part series, “Why Your Subordinates Hate You,” it was admitted that sometimes bosses play favorites.
But, it may just be for good reason.
As a first-year associate, if you keep getting assigned matters in Lubbock, Texas, while your counterparts jet overseas with the firm’s most important client, it’s likely that Buddy Holly’s career might not be the only one to meet a fiery end.
Ensure you become a legend for the right reasons at your law firm. Decide if any of the following explain why your boss may (defensibly) hate you, and if these reasons would hold up in court.
Complaint #1. Your work is sub-par.
The first reason your boss may show deference to other associates over you is obvious—you underperform. Your work is not as detailed, comprehensive, or knowledgeable as that of your colleagues.
If you’re continually overlooked for the firm’s most interesting and profitable cases, it’s likely your superior doesn’t think your work is up to snuff. Make a change quick or you’ll be stuck with hours of tedious doc review with the firm’s most micro-managing partners instead.
So, what can you do to turn around this doomsday plane?
Listen carefully to your performance review. Your supervisor has included points for improvement. It’s important to follow them.
Next, be proactive. Ask to meet with your boss about your recent performance.
Bring in a (short!) bullet-point list of your achievements to date, and ask for a critique. It’s possible your boss is simply unaware of the contributions you’ve made to the firm. If not, your boss will—at least—be relieved that your mediocrity is not for lack of ambition.
Finally, don’t argue. If your supervisor ticks the box “satisfactory” and not “superior,” like any American customer, the boss knows best. Work hard over time to earn trust and admiration–you can never win respect from an argument.
Complaint #2. You’re always late.
You’re not a rock star. Tardiness doesn’t hype up the crowd in excited anticipation. You’re a law firm professional, and the latter demands punctuality.
Being late to work (especially when your boss is already looking for you) is the quickest way to lose fans, albeit the easiest flaw in your routine to change.
So, set multiple alarms, ask your spouse to push you out of bed, or take public transportation to get to work on time. Whatever it takes, commit.
Celebrities get five minutes of fame. If you’re always late, you might miss yours.
Complaint #3. You’re a whiner.
Complaining is a pet peeve for coworkers, and your boss is no exception. Don’t be so sure that quiet conversations among friends in the bathroom won’t turn into serious employee evaluations in the boardroom.
Only in lyrics, not law, does “crying, waiting, hoping” win cases and your boss’ favor.
Complaint #4. You’re a suck-up.
Finally, your boss may ignore you because you try too hard to get noticed.
Stop inviting her to every lunch, every coffee break, and every after-work happy hour. Let your well-written brief, not your brown nose, speak for itself. Excellent performance, not personality, will lead to success at your firm.
When your work can be acknowledged for its timeliness, analytical prowess, and creative use of the law, Buddy Holly agrees, “that’ll be the day” your boss remembers your name.