Advice column: my team has changed and I miss the personal bonds I had before

Dear Ash

I am increasingly feeling isolated at work following the departure of a number of colleagues from my department over recent months. Although there have been a number of recent new appointments following the departure of my friends, I have not been able to form any real personal relationships with my new colleagues and, quite frankly, I miss the team as it once was.

Because of the long hours invested at work, it is important for me to form good personal bonds with the people I work with, and it feels odd not having the same banter and camaraderie in the office. My new colleagues seem to be making an effort with each other and seem to be uninterested in making an effort to get to know me on a personal level. I am even considering moving jobs due to this particular issue.

Ash replies:

Change in such circumstances can be difficult to acclimatise to, and you will need to give yourself some time to adjust to your new surroundings. You clearly had a good team of friends and their departure in swift succession has impacted on you; however, as with any other change in life, you will need to try to take steps to accept the new environment and to make the best of the new situation. Moving jobs at this stage, solely for this reason, would not necessarily be in your best interest; in any case you would need to start afresh in forming bonds at any new job and it may therefore be better instead to make the effort with new colleagues in your current job before deciding to make such a jump.

Your new colleagues are probably in that initial phase of putting their heads down and making more effort in impressing the boss rather than connecting with colleagues. However, this should not prevent you making more of an effort with them: one of the key advantages you have from being in the department for longer is the knowledge that you can pass on to your colleagues about the way the department works. Therefore perhaps suggest going out to lunch with your colleagues or set up an out-of-work social event. Remember, your colleagues are probably just as anxious as you are to fit into their new surroundings, so you already have something in common!

Send your queries to Ash

“Ash” is a solicitor who is willing to answer work-related queries from solicitors and trainees, which can be put to her via the editor:, or mail to Studio 2001, Mile End, Paisley PA1 1JS. Confidence will be respected and any advice published will be anonymised.

Please note that letters to Ash are not received at the Law Society of Scotland. The Society offers a support service for trainees through its Registrar’s Department. For one-to-one advice, contact Katie Wood, manager in the Registrar’s Department on 0131 476 8105/8200, or

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