Career Lessons From a Catastrophe

What would be left of your life if suddenly your dwelling, your job and most of the trappings of your daily life were swept away?

big green wave crashes on shore

Will you prepare for transformation now, or wait until you have no choice but to transform?

Obviously there are a lot of people in Japan who are now facing that exact question. I still can’t wrap my head around the level of loss there. Everything familiar and comforting, gone in a flash. The images we see of the people are heartbreaking. The satellite images of areas hit by the tsunami are simply chilling: Where there were hundreds of houses, there is now nothing but debris-strewn fields.

The destruction in Haiti a year ago was horrible, too. Haiti was like a dog kicked when it’s down, with that earthquake striking some of the poorest people on Earth, whose little bit was ripped from them. A year later, and the situation there is still troubling. Basics like clean water aren’t available to far too many.

Japan hits us in a different way: People living lives much like ours, with jobs, nice houses, safe neighborhoods, well-stocked grocery stores, pre-occupied with issues beyond basic survival. Now, they’re worrying about survival. Concerns about office politics have been replaced by concerns about whether loved ones are even alive, and when are they going to have a place to call home again.

In addition to doing what we can to help the people of Japan recover (see below), we can also reflect on the lessons this catastrophe offers. And yes, those lessons are especially relevant to unhappy lawyers, or Continue reading