July 29, 2010

Spotlight On: Legal Aid Of West Virginia

Students entering the workforce believe, sometimes mistakenly,that a successful transition into employment is based on a well developed resume or how well one does in an interview. We forget that a successful transition is sometimes determined by how a new employee handles the social constructs of the new work environment: how she engages in small talk around the water cooler, conforms to the norms of an office culture, and participates in "birthday Friday" gatherings of co-workers.

After all . . . complete all the assigned work on time and with full competence and your boss appreciates you. But skip out on singing "Happy birthday" to co-workers at the Friday afternoon office parties and your peers become annoyed.

Legal Aid of West Virginia understands that it's often the small, social moments that make employment a success or failure. Because of that understanding, LAWV's Huntington staff welcomed a student supported by the Marshall University program into their office family for a semester. While carrying out volunteer clerical support (with a high level of quality), the student learned to become part of an office culture. For forty hours during the course of the semester he discovered what it was like to work in a cubicle, eat luch with co-workers, travel to and from work on a bus, socialize in the workplace and meet the expectations of employers.

We appreciate businesses like LAWV, and value our collaborate relationship.