My bestfriend lost it.
I just told him that I would quit from a Makati law firm: my first salaried job, and my first job as a lawyer.
I felt like I was judged. Prior to telling him, I consulted my boyfriend, family, and lawyer friends first. I did not get the same violent reaction.
I did not know if he was judging me, he thought that my impulsiveness has gone to the extreme, or… I don’t know… too spoiled? He didn’t hear the whole story as I dropped the phone.
It has been a month. I messaged him yesterday, after the Metro Manila flooding, telling him that I hope he’s ok.
So, back to the reason(s) why I left.
1.) I’m a favorite of the partner who hired me. I’m the favorite to be shouted at.
There has been two incidents of shouting: the first, I admit to be partly my fault, the second, is completely the fault of the client. Insults were also thrown at me during the second incident. I was demeaned. I was never treated like this by a superior before. Being shouted at by the opposing counsel, is part of the job, a boss constantly demeaning you, is a completely different story.
2.) Top heavy firm, with a real bosses, and a mini boss who acts worse than the real bosses.
There are senior partners, and one junior partner. The one who hired me, let’s call her: “The Bitch”, at least has years of experience under her belt (although not at handling associates). This junior partner, has only been a lawyer for three years but has more… air.
He would give “instructions” without giving the details, and would reprimand you for asking questions. He would brag about his achievements: “Best thesis in law school””, “first to be promoted to junior partner among his peers” and he would bring his girlfriend to work, to eat lunch charged to the client. He also repeatedly berated me in front of his girlfriend to show her who is “the boss.”
3.) The staff are given more importance than the lawyers.
The owner of the firm, now a government official: let’s call him “Patek Man”, has a reputation of hiring people just because he likes them. The result: a firm who has numerous staff doing minimal work while there are very few associates. While these staff can go home at six, after a day of using Skype and browsing Facebook, the lawyers are associates are swamped with too much work. Staying until 2 a.m. is not unheard of. The firm has a policy applicable to everyone, wherein, the employee has to clock in before or exactly at 9:15 a.m. In other firms, lawyers are given more leeway with time, as they are basically made to work until night without overtime pay.
While Patek Man is generous with the staff, frequently buying them gifts such as Longchamp bags, Pandora bracelets, Adidas shoes, the lawyers (who have more work, and who actually bring in the money charged to the clients per hour), receive none of these gifts from Patek Man.
An accounting staff (who is not a CPA), receives a higher salary than the lawyer associates. She can come and go as she pleases. She is also known for intentionally delaying the cheques and reimbursements of the associates she does not like. Nothing is done about this problem. The associates are literally at her mercy.
Now, I don’t really know if I should have just sucked it up. Time will tell if I made the right decision. Young lawyers are in demand in this country anyway. I will not run out of choices. I don’t think I will be looking into jobstreet anytime soon.