“Congratulations! You have begun the transition to in-house. Here is what you can do to make the experience easier and more productive.
“Start by being a curious cat. Ask questions. Learn about the company culture, the business, who’s who, who knows what, and where to go for information and support.
“Next, be a cultural sponge. Become aware of company traditions and how people interact. Acknowledge different backgrounds and be open to new viewpoints.
“Use your value as a newbie. Your outsider perspective allows you to see things in a new light. Don’t be afraid to question the status quo. It is important to understand the why behind the work. Propose solutions based on your own experiences.
“Get ready to meet! One of the biggest differences about in-house life is the number of meetings you are expected to participate in. One quickly starts to wonder, when am I supposed to get my work done if I am in these meetings all day?
“Over time, you will start to adapt and find ways to make meaningful progress in the meetings that actually support more efficient and effective work.
“They can also be important check-in points that help people prioritize and stay on track when there are large projects with multiple work streams.
“Pace yourself. There is a lot of work to be done and it doesn’t all need to be done immediately.
“You need to be able to sustain yourself in ways that are different from the law firm environment which may be more ebb and flow. Make a plan of action to tackle projects in a sustainable way.
“Solicit feedback often. This should be part of your process whenever you enter a new work environment. By having regular check-ins with colleagues, you can more readily identify what you need to adjust and integrate yourself more rapidly.
“These interactions also help you to develop relationships quickly and help others understand your role and the work that you do.
“Keep in mind the bony fish: sometimes what the waiter recommends is not what you actually want or need. In other words, not all advice is good advice. You need to consider it carefully before acting upon it.
“Finally, is the fit what you expected? What feels right, what can you change, and what are your deal breakers?”
Part 1: Preparing for an In-House Role
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Sarah Dodds Brown - Anticipator of Challenges & Advocate for Change
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