Advice column: COVID is making it hard for a trainee to feel one of the team
Dear Ash,

As a trainee, I feel that COVID has particularly impacted me as I am missing out on being able to interact with colleagues in the office. Other more senior colleagues seem to have a rapport with each other already, and often seem to interact for social reasons by Zoom, but I don’t yet have such bonds with people and seem only to be contacted with various boring admin tasks. I don’t want to seem ungrateful as I do have a job at least, but I can’t help feeling demotivated.


Ash replies

I can sympathise with those who have been robbed by COVID of the opportunity to interact fully and build rapport with colleagues. You are certainly not alone: one of my friends started a new job just prior to when the pandemic disrupted normal life, and she too, despite being more senior, has found it challenging to interact with others.

However, one of the ways my friend tried to reach out to others was to suggest a Zoom quiz night with colleagues. This allowed colleagues to form teams and interact in a more relaxed setting. It also helped when she was having to contact the same colleagues for work matters later, as she felt she knew more about their sense of humour and likes/dislikes through the chat at the social event. Therefore why don’t you suggest organising such an event as a bit of an icebreaker – it will also allow you to escape from some of the more mundane admin tasks.

I also suggest that you have a call with your line manager to discuss other projects or cases you might want to get involved in. This may then at least allow you to be kept in mind for other tasks which may be of a more challenging nature.

Please do remember that you are not alone in how you are feeling and that you need to find creative ways to help you through these challenging times. On a positive, there is now a vaccine and there is potentially some light at the end of this long tunnel.

Send your queries to Ash

"Ash" is a solicitor who is willing to answer work-related queries from solicitors and other legal professionals, which can be put to her by emailing the editor. 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 Education, Training & Qualifications team. Email or phone 0131 226 7411 (option 3).

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