I’m in a practice group that is predominantly male. I’ve lost a lot of motivation and am feeling depressed, partly because my partners’ emails consist of 1-3 words (e.g., “thx”). Phone calls are rare. I notice a huge difference in my mood whenever I work with the one person who sends emails with actual sentences. So I guess I’m just wondering... what causes partners to email like that? Is it an ego thing? It sucks to get that after I worked crazy hours all weekend after a rough week.

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I feel you. I wish it didn’t affect me so much, but it seriously depresses me and I want to quit. Then I feel bad for not being tougher, you know. No one is yelling at me, but I just want some human connection with my partners. Is it too much to ask ? I honestly don’t know.

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Definitely not too much to ask! This job is so inhumane and partners bow to capitalism like slaves yet cannot care a bit more about associates who are actually doing the work.

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I don’t have any words of wisdom. I am experiencing this too.

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I don't think this is a male thing, its just a busy person thing. If you have questions and need more human contact schedule a call with the partners so you can actually talk to them. They probably have no idea you're feeling this because they are getting a lot of contact all the time from other partners, associates, and clients. If you need more, you will need to make it happen. It sucks that its like this, but I found that once I stepped up to make it happen my experience was much better. Good luck!

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A2 you’re assuming I haven’t tried to schedule calls. I have, and I have urgent questions.

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I've been thinking about these brief responses in another way - every minute spent chit-chatting is a minute 'stolen' from their loved ones, hobbies, whatever.

I think that I should be meeting my own emotional needs and if the partner wants to stick only to the work that's fine - that's the job after all! Likewise, I don't really want to hear about my juniors' personal chat when I haven't been at home in time to put the kids to bed in 4 days (for example).

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I feel this. I have a few (mostly male) partners who do this, and the one woman I work for a lot always goes out of her way to say thank you and give feedback. Just her use of full sentences and the occasional exclamation point is a balm for my isolated soul lol.

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A9, totally agree. I have been actively seeking out female partners and it’s helping. Good for you for advocating for yourself

I also work for all men, but they are on the younger side. Oldest partner is late 30s, the two senior associates are mid 30s. They don’t really do this and are usually pretty good about being complimentary and encouraging. If it’s affecting your mental health, I recommend looking for a new position if possible. Not all places are like that. Find a group of people that’ll be better to work for if you can. Good luck!

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Thanks A6. I like my firm and the actual work, and I really like our clients, so I just need to commiserate about the lack of communication with my partners.

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I work with a decent mix of women and men and men (of the 40-60 year old variety) are the ONLY ones who do this. I agree that it is flippant and disheartening. I have been busy busy and I am never too busy to write a one sentence email or properly say thank you when someone does something I need.

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They’ve just had it with their lives and burn out.

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Happens to me as well. I’ve had to reorient my mindset to indifference. I tell myself it’s business and that’s it. If I let myself be more sensitive there is no way I would survive in the caps market group, I’d get eaten alive not just by my group that’s all male but also opposing counsel and clients. I also tell myself if there are no negative comments on what I’m submitting then it’s sufficient. I try not not to read into things or else I’d get paralyzed and won’t get anything done.

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I’m guessing you have initiated phone call and stuff already... so, I’m not going to suggest that. Instead think about it like this... you are getting paid. Your bills are being paid. Start looking for another firm but this is great experience for you to add on to your resume. Change your mindset and find the human connection another way. Don’t expect it from work. They also might be very busy, but even so a 5 minute phone call shouldn’t be too much for someone. Also, take silence or the lack of feedback means that you are doing something right. If when it comes around to performance review and you’ve asked for feedback before hand and they have a crap ton to say then leave fast. You don’t want to work some where like that.

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Do you have a review coming up? Maybe you can say that you’d like more feedback or communication from partners so it can assist you in completing your work better.

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I agree with others that it’s a busy thing and you shouldn’t take it personally. I suggest meeting your emotional needs with friends outside of work. I know it’s hard to make time and ideally you’d feel connected with the people you have to spend all day with but work is work and sometimes becoming too close can be a problem. The only thing I’d suggest is a phone call to make sure they’re happy with your work. I tend to think that no complaints and emails back with redlines means you’re doing well but I’m honestly guilty of not giving much feedback to a junior once I figured he was hopeless and it was better to fix things myself. So I think you should just ask to make sure that’s not the case and the partners are happy with your work and that’s why you’re not getting feedback.

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