Career advice: Confront a partner or move on?

Question: I am a corporate associate at a smallish City firm and am becoming increasingly irritated at one partner in particular who favours certain associates when it comes to allocating the most interesting work.

I know I’m not the only one to notice this as several others have also mentioned the problem, but there’s only so much due diligence I can handle. What am I doing wrong? How can I become one of the ‘favourites’? Or would I be better off raising my concerns with someone higher up?

Answer 1: It would be unwise to raise your concerns initially with someone ‘higher up’. You should speak to the partner in question and ask for more interesting and varied work.

In this market, where assistant attrition is one of most partners’ real concerns, it is likely that the partner will attempt to redress the issue and make sure that the less interesting work is spread around more evenly.

If you have given it some time and you do not see your file load improving, you should take some time to consider other options. I am sure that you are aware that an extended period of time undertaking solely due diligence work is not going to make you particularly marketable.

Kristi Edwards is a recruitment consultant at Hughes-Castell

Answer 2: Move jobs. There is no point trying to change the world and it doesn’t sound as though the situation is going to change any time soon.

Going to a higher-up is almost certainly doomed to failure as it is a small partnership; you will just make an enemy and whatever time remains to you at the firm will be miserable.

The market is still pretty buoyant at the moment, and you can make the most of it. When you do move, don’t mention the personality clash; you can legitimately say that you want to move to get a greater variety of work.

Mark Brandon is a recruitment consultant at First Counsel

Answer 3: The difficulty for you as time goes on is that this is a self-perpetuating situation. The longer you spend without gaining the relevant work experience, the less likely it will become that you are going to get asked to do the work.

Think about how you feel now about this partner and his ‘favourites’. Would you want to join that club, knowing there will be people on the outside resenting you?If you are comfortable with that, and you feel the firm is where you want to be, then confront the situation.

Talk to your head of group, head of department or HR contact if that is appropriate. Ask why you are not being given the work. Explain that you are motivated and want to challenge yourself, and that you do not feel you are being given the chance to show what you can do.

Nicola Morris is an associate at Shilton Sharpe QuarryQuestion