I’ve been at my new gig for over 6 weeks. I’m still just putting my head down and getting on with it. Last night however, my brother messaged me and we had a brief “chat” on WhatsApp. He asked how the new job is going and so I guess it’s time to lift my head up and have a think. In fact, yesterday was one of the less than pleasant days at my new job.
I guess broadly, my new job can be divvied up into two baskets – customer contracts and other legal matters. The former has a profile that is vastly different from my previous job. In that job, the company (in Aus/NZ/UK/EMEA/Asia at least) had maybe 2-3 dozen customers with repeat contracts and each is worth a few million bucks. A contract that is (say) of $500k is often considered a small one. So, customer contracts is a chunky piece of work and I review maybe a dozen contracts a year. Now, there are thousands of customers, and a six-figure contract value is a big contract. So, the process of drafting/finalising contracts is a whole lot more mechanised. The focus is less on legal provisions in contracts that present risks to call out for mitigation, and more on knowing what the customers need in terms of software modules and how to charge for them. My manager is an old timer, who has been with the business for over 30 years. He is a part owner. He has a highly mechanised way in churning out customer contracts and there is a lot to be said regarding doing things his way. That means far less autonomy and far more time consuming (at this stage anyway) as I need to know what those steps in the mechanised process look like and how best to navigate them so as to churn out those contracts as efficiently and as correctly as possible.
One of the priorities I was told, when I interviewed for this role (in the later stages) was to transfer the IP’s in my manager’s deep well of knowledge, to someone else. That means a lot of time just talking to him and being a 30 year old veteran, he takes his time to step through every minutiae whenever we talk. That means long discussions. Last night was one of those occasions. It also involved my manager’s offsider, with whom I have also worked closely in this initiation and learning the ropes phase. She too is a veteran, albeit “only” 17 years. She too steps through minutiae – unpleasant but much needed at this time, I guess. It ended up with me going home later than usual. It also saw me rush out of the office, perhaps a little too quickly at the risk of my coming across as being short/rude with her. I dont know, maybe I was being overly sensitive or I was just plain tired. All I know is I felt that sort of wrecked my day (and Tress’ too) but I guess that is all part of the equation at this point in time.
The other half of my work though, has been more satisfying. Transactional stuff that has legal risks attached. Partner agreements, customers wanting special arrangements, legal advice on tenders, leases, legislation and policies and procedures arising from compliance, etc. It’s the space where I felt my contribution has been more appreciated and valued. I’m the first properly licensed in-house legal practitioner they have, so I guess they are getting a form of service in terms of legal advice, documents and recommendations that they hadn’t received before. My manager, the CFO and the MD have all acknowledged that. So that should have made me feel better than I did last night. Still, the maze that makes up customer contracts is one I need to come to terms with as soon as possible. I will then feel I have settled into my new gig.