Trainees are in a unique position where every six months brings a new department, area of law, skills, experiences and concerns.
You may think that your fears of starting your new job as a trainee will disappear when you’ve settled in, made friends, worked out how to navigate the case management systems and you’re actually understanding what your supervisor says to you. To some extent, this is true. Your initial nerves about the training contract naturally fall away as you find your feet and settle in but more importantly gain confidence that all those hours studying are worth it.
However, life as a trainee is an ongoing challenge of facing the unknown (granted it’s not quite as daunting as your first day of your training contract!). You learn new skills, new terminology and everyone’s favourite – networking. Learning how to overcome the constant worry that you’re not quite getting it or not living up to expectations is a challenge in itself. You start your seat (if like me) totally unfamiliar to the type of work other than your LPC seminars which grows into getting comfortable and gradually thinking on your feet and needing less guidance. When you just about feel au fait with it all, your six months in that department are up and you’re off to a new team, maybe even a new office, to start it all over again.
Whilst this ongoing unfamiliarity is something we trainees are all too aware of, you strangely learn to live with it. You might feel overwhelmed by your training contract at points but you have to remember – you’re not the first trainee and certainly not the last!
Take comfort in the fact that in the last six months you’ve gained valuable skills as a trainee solicitor that you didn’t have before and that whilst your next seat might be equally as unknown as the first, you’re far better equipped for round two. Confidence comes with experience so just see the unknown as an opportunity to improve and develop.
The great thing about being a trainee is that you’re not alone and near enough all the people you work with have been through the same experience. You have the rest of your trainee cohort, your team and other friends in the office to support you.
It’s all part of being a trainee and you’ll surprise yourself at how far you’ve come in six months – I promise!