Even if you’re an exceptionally sensitive lawyer, you’re still stuck dealing with other lawyers. And you’re not exactly a fan of being cut off, condescended to and treated as though your time isn’t as important as theirs.
So how would you feel about paying someone hundreds of dollars an hour to treat you the same way? All while trusting that person to solve one of the biggest problems you’ve ever had.
I knew I wanted to be a lawyer for as long as I can remember. (Don’t even get me started on the fallout I experienced by following an uninformed childhood dream.) I also knew that I wanted to be a mama. And as I got older, I became more aware of the challenges that being both presented.
I told myself I could handle the challenges of doing each well, but deep down I didn’t want to do both. I’m one of those people who just doesn’t half-ass anything. And I knew that if I could have things my way, I’d be whole-assing the mama thing.
My theory based on thirty-some-odd years of observation is that we are born knowing that kindness is the way to go, then something teaches us to be unkind. Blame a messed-up home life, butthead classmates, anxiety disorders or whatever.
Presto change-o, a jerk is made.
So besides the obvious reasons (e.g., nobody likes a butthole, you get more flies with honey than vinegar, it’s unprofessional), here are some helpful nuggets to prevent you from losing your shit when dealing with jerks in the workplace.
I know it seems a bit odd. But even before I quit my job as an attorney, I was constantly wondering why legal professionals didn’t prioritize kindness in their daily interactions with staff, clients, colleagues and classmates.
That being said, it’s so easy to forget that everyone deals with the unexpected and the resulting derailment. It’s so easy to think that you’re the only one who’s gotten off track. To believe that inner dialogue that says everyone on your Facebook feed has their poop in a group.
Yale was one of the first to feature a therapy dog. Monty is a therapy dog owned by one of the law librarians. Students can check out Monty (like a book) for 20 minutes of play and snuggle time during certain times of year. Turns out Monty’s so popular that he’s always got a booked schedule.
California Western School of Law, University of Louisville, George Mason, Emory, University of Arizona, Stetson and University of San Francisco are just a smattering of some other law schools who have invited therapy dogs to campus during finals season.
Honestly, I don’t think I noticed my fixation with “perfect” until I had been striving for perfection for years only to find that no matter how “perfect” my life was, it didn’t improve my feelings of happiness or satisfaction.
Turns out, my idea of finding fulfillment through perfectionism was completely ass-backwards.
I’ll never forget visiting American University Law School in the spring of 2002. My friend and I were in DC checking out law schools, and one of our mutual friend’s sister (I’ll call her Angela) was a 1L at American.
What made the trip so unforgettable is that Angela’s 1L class was severely over-enrolled.
Something like double the anticipated number of applicants matriculated. Angela attended Harvard for grad school, so she was no stranger to hard work or competition.
Nevertheless, everything she told us about her law school experience was characterized by the notion of scarcity.
Career day at school was a no-brainer. College majors were generally irrelevant. Just get good grades, get into a good law school and then start working as an attorney. Seemed simple and easy enough. And I always took solace in the fact that law school wasn’t an afterthought for me, like it was for so many of my colleagues.
What I hadn't anticipated was that a legal career might not be a long-term fit for me.
We all know someone we’d characterize as a workaholic. You know the type: always at work, constantly checking the mobile device for emails, never taking (or canceling) vacations, billing up a storm on weekends.