This month, the Bristows trainee blog will offer future trainees some advice on how to look after themselves during the beginning of their training contract. Hilde has already covered some work-focused tips for your first seat as a trainee and Sukanya has provided some great practical advice for new-starters at Bristows, so I thought I would provide some hopefully useful advice from a (very millennial) wellbeing perspective.
Make some friends
Starting a new job is never easy, even at a friendly firm like Bristows, so it helps if you can start to build good relationships with the people you’re going to be spending a lot of your time with. I’m not suggesting you try to get an invite to your supervisor’s next dinner party but just having a quick chat with your secretary, introducing yourself to the reception staff or a colleague you haven’t met before in the kitchen can all help you to settle in and feel more embedded in the firm. It can be tempting to just stick with the other trainees at work social events but if you can branch out by talking to just one or two new people then it will undoubtedly make you feel more at-ease when you change departments and recognise a couple of familiar faces. Don’t underestimate the importance of building good relationships with members of the support teams either as you never know when you will need some last minute bundles to be printed or an emergency lunch ordered!
Attend internal wellbeing sessions
Working in the legal profession comes with, at times, a high-pressure environment. To help its employees deal with the stress that can stem from this, Bristows arranges various external speakers to come and provide advice on how to lead a healthy lifestyle and manage workplace stress. Even if you feel like you already know a lot about these topics, there will inevitably be two or three new tips you can pick up from each speaker. During my first seat in Patent Litigation I also attended a guided meditation session as part of the firm’s wellbeing week, which I found very helpful.
In my first couple of months at the firm I signed up for yoga, which I do once a week with a number of my colleagues. It’s a good way to de-stress as well as get to know people in other departments. Joining the netball team, despite not having played regularly since primary school, is another way I’ve been able to meet different people across the firm. It’s also the perfect opportunity to get out the office for a run around at lunchtime.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
The fact that you’ve managed to get to the position of being offered a training contract at a top law firm in itself probably means you’re a bit of a perfectionist. It’s therefore likely that you’re going to set yourself some pretty high standards. At Bristows, it’s recognised that as a trainee you’re here to learn so you’re not going to be able to do everything straight away and you will make mistakes. Realising when you’re being a bit too hard on yourself is half the battle in ensuring that you don’t dwell too long on these perceived shortcomings. Even when you’re busy – or arguably especially when you’re busy – it’s important to have breaks and reward yourself for your hard work, whether it’s by going for a quick coffee and a chat with another trainee or planning something fun for the coming weekend.