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I worked for a law firm in Manhattan and initially, the set up, was a sweet deal. I was the only attorney in the New York office, the firm was located in another state, so it was like working alone (which I prefer). Whenever I had any questions about a file or client, all I had to do was call into the main office for a reply, and I did not have to deal with office interpersonal issues with other employees.
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I was told they were going to hire an associate to assist me and I was also taken around the city with the partner of the firm to look for a bigger office for myself and my growing staff. I was told that I was going to be promoted to Supervising Litigation Attorney and that my pay rate would increase substantially. I was excited! I had an office in the middle of Times Square, a very nice and thorough associate doing great things in assisting me in the NY office and never ending thoughts on how much I would be making soon.
That was until…
The visits with brokers for new space slowed down and then stopped altogether. An intern was brought on and all three of us were working out of a small communal office. I eventually had to start working from home because there was no room in the office. Discussions about my promotion all but ceased for six months and the firm ended up hiring a more senior attorney to take the position I was offered. To say I was let down was an understatement, but I decided to suck it up and continue to do my work as I had been.
About three months passed and the working environment became extremely hostile. I was being left out of planning meetings and performance reviews, cases were not being assigned to me as they once were, everything I was once praised for and continued working on at the same level all of a sudden became “wrong.” I would ask questions about a particular case only to be yelled at. It was not a pleasant place to be. Several attorneys and staff members in the main office quit, and I had a sneaky suspicion that my bosses behavior was directed at me to get me to quit my job. Instead of being straight forward, there was passive-aggressive behavior thrown my way. I declared that if they wanted me gone, they would have to fire me.
Cynthia Shapiro identifies some signs that your boss may want you to quit (from Corporate Confidential: 50 Secrets Your Company Doesn’t Want You to Know—and What to Do About Them):
Danger sign 1: You’re feeling grossly ignored, overworked, underpaid or set up to be unsuccessful.
Danger sign 2: Your boss doesn’t seem to like you or pay attention to you the way he does to others.
Danger sign 3: Your office is moved to an undesirable location or you are regularly given the assignments no one else wants.
Danger sign 4: You’re being given impossible tasks with unrealistic deadlines.