Q: What bad habits do lawyers tend to bring forward, from one job to the next? I’m starting my new job as a lateral, and wonder where the tripwires may be.
A: It’s not unusual for people to set the same expectations for their performance in the new job that plagued them in the job they just left. Were you working more hours than you wanted to at your prior job? Then don’t stay at the office 55 hours as you start your new job, just to prove your worth. Were you perfectionistic, and thus too slow, in your earlier work? If so, try to set a more realistic standard; don’t accede to mistakes, but don’t indulge in indecisiveness or inaction. Were you at the mercy of having been overfamiliar with your boss or secretary? This time, try to set and maintain professional boundaries by being friendly but not necessarily friends with supervisors or subordinates. Give it some thought–it’s a question worth contemplating.