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Greetings! A very happy Friday to all you fine people out there!

Some of you will be relaxing this weekend (good for you, well deserved!). Most of you, sadly, will be working this weekend (tough luck, I feel your pain).

To lighten your mood somewhat, here are my top tips for not only surviving, but thriving, in a law firm environment.

  1. Dress sharp - DO wear a suit to the office. Ties are optional. The second button of your shirt is not. Exceptions to this rule, however, have known to be made for certain ladies of the attractive variety.
  1. Linkedin and other social foraDO NOT add your colleagues (especially partners at your firm) on Linkedin or Twitter/Facebook. Twitter/Facebook tells them what you think of your job. Linkedin informs them of how many recruiters you are connecting with. Smarter bosses have a way of joining the dots. The potential for disaster is limitless. 
  1. One for sorrow, two for joy - We've all had days when despite being perfectly healthy we just can’t be bothered to get out of bed. At such times, a sickie is your best friend. However, you must be careful while calling in sick (since your boss has probably pulled the same tricks in his time). A few things you should keep in mind while considering bunking work-
    1. DO use something foul as an excuse – gastroenteritis, runny nose, puking etc. The disgusting images these excuses bring forth prevent anyone from enquiring further. Someone I know used a gangrenous toe as a valid justification for a day actually spent watching cat-playing-violin YouTube videos.
    2. DO try and follow up a sickie with another sickie the next day. The human mind presumes that if someone has missed two consecutive days of work, there must really be something wrong with them. This benefit of the doubt is a loophole which must be exploited ruthlessly.
    3. DO avoid Fridays and Mondays, if possible. For some unfathomable reason, this is generally viewed with a higher level of suspicion than calling in sick on a Wednesday.
    4. DO NOT post status updates or check-in into ‘cool’ locations if you have violated rule 2 above. Especially if you are at the cinema or the shopping mall when your diarrhoea is supposed to be accelerating. That’s just plain stupid.
  1. Brand Value – (if you are a non-smoker, please skip to 5 below) - DO NOT smoke the same brand of cigarettes as your boss. While this may sound counter-intuitive, let me explain. A packet of 20 cigarettes costs approximately £9 in London now. Roughly converted, that’s around Rs. 700/- a pack! While your boss (who makes millions of pounds a year) may not think anything of bumming half a pack off of you every day, this adds up to a significant amount of money annually. I had, at one point, even reached a stage where I thought my only option was to quit smoking in order to remain financially sound…which is when I decided to “strongly encourage” my juniors to switch over to my brand. Balance has now been restored to the universe.
  1. Neighbourly love ­–DO NOT share your office space with a moron. This realisation dawned on me yesterday when my afternoon nap was disturbed by the extremely loud and annoying sound of water being poured from a bottle into a glass (while my trainee continued to bill our client for this extremely productive activity).  For those of you who have the distinct pleasure of sitting in a cubicle surrounded by such morons, work hard and get into your own office. And then put up a “DO NOT ENTER IF YOU ARE A MORON” signboard on the door.  If you’re moron and reading this post, stay well away from that office if you know what’s good for you. 
  1. Pregnancy blues -DO NOT ask a colleague when the baby is due on the off-chance that she is not pregnant. Always weight wait to hear from the mare’s mouth. Seems obvious but you’d be surprised how many people muck this one up with tragic consequences/lawsuits to follow.
  1. Bow down to the power DO NOT ever make the mistake of thinking you are above the secretaries in the office food-chain, no matter how senior you get. The partners may bring in the clients, you may do the donkey work but secretaries are the ones who rule the firm with an iron hand. If you cross them, secretaries have it well within their power to ruin your office life. One fine day, you will walk in to find all your stuff has been magically moved to the non-pregnant/lawsuit lady’s office (see rule 6 above) or to a moron’s office (see rule 5 above) and you will be informed of a ‘seat-change until further notice’. I've even seen an irritated secretary ask a partner when he’d like his next shipment of Viagra delivered. While not a terrible question in itself, sadly, the query was raised while the partner was trying to chat up an extremely attractive blonde (see rule 1 above). Shudder…
  1. The IT crowd – DO be nice to the IT guys, even if the document you have been working on all night mysteriously disappears at 6 am. No one will ever manage to tame the Windows OS. Besides, sometimes the stuff IT do can be really useful - http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/Entry/how-nandii-reywal-got-drunk-got-wild-and-got-laid-off


Until next time,

Nandii Reywal

Senior Associate

Bradbury and Laithrose


p.s. Yes, you read it right. As recognition for seven and a half years of hard toil, I have now been promoted to Senior Associate at B&L! Hooray!

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