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Suzanne

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  1. I am glad several of you assure me it's not normal to be yelled at. As long as there's hope of finding a firm with reasonable people (not perfect, just reasonable) I'll hang on and keep looking for a job post-articling. I am still concerned about the number of people, in this thread and real life, who advised me to keep my mouth shut rather than speak up for myself. That's messed up that there's no accountability for these people. Also, f you to everyone who says my expectations are too high. All I'm asking is to not be called names and screamed at, especially for things that have nothing to do with me. Yes, I can tell the difference between a stern, raised voice and screeching at the top of one's lungs.
  2. I understand that head injuries often cause behavioural problems. However, both the boss and the assistant seem to think they can treat me however they want, because I'm the only one who gets yelled at and constantly criticized at the office. They manage to behave themselves with everyone else, but don't offer me the same courtesy. If she was a bitch to everyone, then yeah, it would appear to be a symptom of her head injury. Since she can treat everyone else at work decently she has zero excuse for yelling at me, head injury or not.
  3. Thanks for listening, everyone. I was really feeling trapped and overwhelmed. I needed to vent, let off some steam before it hurts my brain even more. I think I will speak up and tell the boss that the behaviour is damaging my health and killing my productivity, if there's another blow up. I can't handle the "keep your head down and keep working" method.
  4. Also, I'd like to suggest that what's happening to me is a symptom of profession-wide bullshit. I've complained to some fellow articling students, and they told me that all female articling students are treated this poorly, so I know it's not just me. We all know that lawyers as a whole have much higher rates of mental health issues than the general population. So, if anyone wants to suggest that I'm being a wimp and should either suck it up or quit, I'd suggest that you STFU. I know I have problems with anxiety. However, when I'm treated somewhat decently, I do good work and I'm productive. I can handle reasonable levels of conflict, such as negotiating with opposing counsel, cross examining a witness, and convincing clients to do things they don't want to do, like go to court or pay something. I've succeeded doing all those things. What I struggle with is being treated like shit. The obvious question is why don't we as a legal profession set a standard of treating each other decently, instead of telling each other to suck it up when someone yells for no reason. I've worked in several different places before law, and I was never been yelled at. Why is yelling tolerated in law firms when it is not acceptable anywhere else? I mean, I know it happens in other industries, but in other industries someone who's yelled at would be encouraged to quit, for their own well-being. I bet this is part of why we lawyers have such terrible mental health, because we have this stupid expectation that yelling is okay and must be tolerated. If I were treated with some decency I would not have panic attacks at work. I don't expect to be treated like a princess, just not yelled at or ranted at for things I didn't do. I would not have to spend hours trying to calm down and simply pretending to work. We as a profession are digging our own grave by allowing this bullshit to occur. I'm still thinking of quitting.
  5. I'm still struggling. I called LifeWorks, the company that provides counselling to Law Society members, and I'm still waiting to get in to see someone. I don't think I can handle this. I keep freaking out (but not at work), and all the exercise, eating healthy and telling myself it's their lousy behaviour, not mine, isn't making a difference. Why the fuck does the legal profession tolerate articling students being treated like this? I keep having mild panic attacks at work because of the constant criticism about things I didn't do and would never do. Still no apology for the screaming and name-calling either, just more hypocritical ranting about kids these days behaving badly. I keep boiling over with rage at how these people can treat me like shit with zero accountability. If I call them out they can just fire me and they'd get off scot free, minus maybe some pay in lieu of notice. What's the point in keeping my mouth shut so I keep the job if it's destroying my mental health?
  6. If you're considering moving to greener pastures, bear in mind that cost of living in Winnipeg is dirt cheap compared to other Canadian cities. $40,000 a year might sound low until you realize you can rent a nice place for about a third what the same place would cost in Vancouver or Toronto.
  7. Aaahahaha, this is hilarious but also super helpful. Voodoo for the win.
  8. Got to work today and the boss said his wife can be "difficult" so in future to ask him to ask her if I need software training. The boss at least said he ought to have told her he wanted me to ask her for training. The wife, on the other hand, has not apologized for her atrocious, incredibly immature behaviour. Let the record show that she's a godawful bitch who doesn't take responsibility for her actions. I wasn't really expecting her to apologize anyway, given her pattern of shitty behaviour towards me. No, I haven't said anything to her or to the boss. I'm venting here because if I don't I'll explode.
  9. I know I can't talk back and I'm for sure going to start looking for a new job. What I'm asking for is practical advice on how to cope if she screams again despite my efforts to stay away from her. I have problems with anxiety, especially when someone treats me badly, which is why this is so difficult for me. And yes, I'm looking for treatment, but there's no overnight fix. Has anyone been in the same boat who can share what helped them?
  10. I know I can't change them and that it's a bad idea to criticize the boss's wife, no matter how justified. I will for sure avoid her as much as possible. I don't know if I can handle it though, bring screamed at for absolutely nothing. Is it normal for articling students to be treated like that? How do people cope?
  11. What saying, politely but seriously, "I'm happy to listen to feedback and instructions so I can improve, but name-calling and yelling are unprofessional and unacceptable"?
  12. Hi all, I need some advice with my articling workplace. I started at the firm a month ago and I seem to have run afoul of one of the assistants, who unfortunately is also the boss's wife. In general, I've been trying my darndest to figure out how to do my work and also ask questions when necessary. The other day the boss told me to ask that specific assistant when I have questions about using a certain software, but to make sure to read the manual first to see if the answer is there. So, I was using the software, had an issue, checked the manual, but the answer wasn't there so I asked the assistant. She freaked out on me. I tried to keep calm and explain that the boss specifically said to ask her. She responded saying she needed to hear that from him, not me. She shrieked at me and called me a stupid girl. It took all my willpower to keep calm and not scream back. The boss was in the building and just said we'll deal with it on Monday (this being Friday afternoon). Does anyone have suggestions for how to deal with this? I know I'm still making mistakes - I'm an articling student, no duh I make mistakes - but Jesus Christ she was completely out of line. She wasn't just raising her voice, no, it was a full on temper tantrum. It's not the first time she's gotten pissed at me, but it's the first time she's actually lost her shit. I don't know if I can handle working there until my call to the bar. Is this normal? Has anyone else had an experience like this? A related thing is that the firm's expectations of me are unrealistic. They want me to figure things out on my own and not ask too many questions, but they also want me to ask how to do stuff instead of just trying things (I'm talking office procedures, not things I can look up on my own). Then when I ask the questions I've been told to ask, the assistant loses her shit. I don't know what the f they want me to do. Any suggestions of how to meet and, when necessary, manage the firm's expectations? For more background, I know the assistant is recovering from a head injury so she has issues with anxiety and being overwhelmed. That being said, I'm not her punching bag. If she can't handle work she shouldn't be at work. Also, I'm in a position with very little bargaining power. I started at a different firm and was let go because they wanted me to work for the firm during PLTC. I wasn't able to because I don't have a time machine. This new firm stepped up and took me on. Don't know why, since they clearly can't stand the fact that articling students don't know how to do stuff. I've been trying to figure out if it's something I'm doing wrong or if firms actually just treat articling students really badly. I've had a few mild anxiety attacks working at this firm because of how bitchy both the boss and his assistant are. The handful of other people are great though, so I try to ask the other, non-yelling assistant if I have a question and the boss didn't clearly say who to ask. Still, my call to the bar isn't for six months, and that's a long time to have anxiety attacks at work. I've worked at several places before law and in no circumstance would it be acceptable to scream at an employee/coworker. If most law firms treat people like this I might actually find a different career. This is bullshit. Any suggestions?
  13. So, I obviously don't want to keep working for this guy, if I'm terminated or not. What would people suggest I say to prospective employers about why my articling fell apart?
  14. I need advice with my articling situation. I'm mid-way through articles in BC, and am currently attending PLTC (BC's bar ad course). I've had some problems with my principal all along, largely to do with a serious lack of communication from my principal. Anyway, I had to move to attend PLTC, and the Law Society recommends that students not work for their firm during PLTC because it's a heavy courseload. My principal told me before that he wants me to work during PLTC, and I told him I didn't want to make any promises since PLTC is a) a lot of work and b) a Law Society requirement. At our last in-person conversation, he said that I should focus on PLTC. A week into PLTC I called him, said I was swamped with coursework and really couldn't work for the firm and expect to pass PLTC. It was a light, friendly conversation. A few days later, he emailed saying he assumed my saying I couldn't work during PLTC meant I was quitting articling, that working during PLTC was an employment condition (he never said or wrote such a thing), and that he thought it best if I end my employment with the firm. Plot twist: the lawyer acting as my principal is not my official principal. I haven't heard from my official principal, so I believe I am not actually terminated at this point. So far my plan is to look for new articles and possibly contact an employment lawyer if my firm tries to stop paying me without actually terminating me. The contract was that I would be paid through PLTC. I've had some problems working for this firm, but I was trying to make it work and certainly didn't want to leave without having another place to go. I've contacted the law society but it seems to be more of an employment law issue than a law society issue. Has anyone experienced something like this? I am honestly baffled that it's even possible for a principal to terminate a student due to prioritizing PLTC obligations. There was more to it than that, but honestly most of the problems would not have occurred if my boss were better at communicating. His assumption that because I said I didn't have time to work during PLTC meant I was quitting, even though in the same breath I talked about coming back in August, is a good indicator of the degree of miscommunication. I'm a little hesitant to post so much sensitive info online, but I'm at a complete loss for how to make any sense of my boss's actions. I don't know what to say to this guy. Please help.
  15. Possibly a stupid question, but can anyone articling in BC tell me where on earth I can find the articling student portal on the law society website? I logged into the member portal no problem and proceeded to scour the website in search of the student portal, but with no success. I read an article saying there's useful info on the student portal which can be accessed by "following the links" on the law society website. Problem: no such links in sight. Do I need to wait until I begin PLTC to access the student portal, or is it just hiding somewhere? Thanks
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