Like with the other new trainees, it is still early days for my training seat in Employment and everything is still very new. I am still at the bottom of a steep learning curve but I have, largely due to the advice of my supervisor at Employment, learnt some important basics which I believe are worth knowing whatever seat you are in. They may seem obvious but there are times when you are rushing to a deadline or just trying to show your ability that they slip your mind. I have heard them all before I started my training contract and thought, probably like you, well that’s obvious, but it’s not always that clear cut and I think these are good points to remember.
Firstly, never be late when meeting a client, even if it's seconds. It does not matter if traffic was especially bad, if you had something that just needed to be finished before you left, or someone be it Google or the voice on your satellite navigation system telling you it would take a shorter time to get there. If you said you will be there at a certain time, make sure you are. I’ve found it’s always best to leave a little bit earlier, and have a schedule for each day so you can plan other jobs around the meetings you need to attend.
Secondly, the fine balance between asking and using your initiative: it’s easy to think I don’t know how to do that and ask question after question. Questions are good, but remember the person you are asking has a job to do also, and unlike school or university it’s not to just teach you. Take a bit of time out to see if there is an answer somewhere, maybe there is a precedent, perhaps there is some information in the file that can help, or if you apply some logic and think it out, you might just work it out. Having said that, don’t just steam into everything independently - if it’s done wrong, it has to be done again and that wastes time.
Finally, and following on from the last point - if you haven’t got all the information, you need to ask for it, whether this means emailing your supervisor or telephoning the client again. This is not necessarily the same as not knowing how to do something. It’s more likely to be that you know how to do it, but a vital bit of information is missing from the email you received or the notes you took.
Something I learnt recently is if you don’t have all the information, you don’t have a complete understanding of the situation, and that means you can’t do the job well. If you think that every letter you write may one day be at the centre of a tribunal or read by a judge then you begin to realise how important it is you get it right.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed and feel the pressure of needing to perform and complete everything perfectly when you start, but it’s also important to remember to enjoy your experiences. It’s certainly true that Woodfines makes this easy and I find that when you do, you tend to perform better.