Change Your Miserable Lawyer Life—With Facebook. Really.

I firmly believe that Facebook can change an unhappy lawyer’s life. Just not in the way that other people think it does. I mean, yes, connection is wonderful. Entertainment certainly eases the crush of boredom and tedium that is often law practice. And yes, you might even get some clients, start a romance or make some enemies or whatever.

Change your life---find the funny in your annoyances, and post it!

Change your life—find the funny in your annoyances, and post it!

My favorite use for Facebook, though, is to make life’s little annoyances and tragedies a little bit funny. In doing that, I’ve found that I obsess much less over the annoyances, hurts and heartaches of life, get over them faster, and—maybe the biggest bonus—get to take my creativity out for a spin.

Here’s a recent example, just so you can see how my demented (but charming) mind works. I noticed one morning that the clean silverware in the dishwasher had been put into the drawer. I knew I hadn’t done it. So I said to my husband, who was slaving over his laptop doing all manner of indecipherable IT things, “Thank you so much for unloading the dishwasher! I really appreciate it!” To which he responded, “You’re welcome.”

After I’ve finished the school run and get back to my empty house, I thought I should put the morning dishes into the dishwasher before getting to work. I opened up the dishwasher and there sat a bunch of dishes. CLEAN dishes. For a few more moments than I care to admit, I was pretty ticked off about this. It hit a lot of those marital sore spots about communication, paying attention, and a laundry list of other things that I won’t bore you with.

I desperately wanted to post something really bitchy, snarky and my-husband-sucks on Facebook about it. Along the lines of “I’m so sick of this shit!”

But that would violate my personal rules about not whining, complaining, or generally airing my dirty laundry on Facebook. So I had to figure out a funny way to relate my little tale of ire and woe. After working it over in my head for several minutes, I came up with:

I’m not sure what label to put on it, but I clearly don’t live in the world where “I emptied the dishwasher” means “I had our son put away the silverware and left everything else in the dishwasher.” That is, however, the world my husband lives in!

I admit I may not have completely succeeded on avoiding snark and a whiff of complaining, but compared to how I initially felt about it, this was a vast improvement.

And that’s pretty much the point: By focusing on how to view the whole thing as funny, rather than the source of anger and frustration, I was able to do an important thing, psychologically speaking: I reframed the situation. I (mostly) got over being angry. I made the best of something that wasn’t ideal. And that, according to noted psychologist Dr. Martin Seligman, is a key to happiness in life.

Jennifer Alvey is a recovering lawyer who helps unhappy attorneys put some happy into their lives. If you’d like to do that, schedule a discounted, sample coaching session with Jennifer. Contact her at jalvey@jenniferalvey.com and get going into a happier life!

4 Networking Tools for Introverted Lawyers

As I’ve posted previously, most of the mass-media networking tips you find are perfect—if you’re an extrovert. And since the general population is between 50% to 75% extrovert, most people can take the typical networking advice—go out to professional meetings, conferences, and the like and chat people up—and do fairly well at it. Not so much for introverts.

Lawyer working on laptop

Lawyers are great at thinking, but often not so much at networking.

When you’re an introvert—as many, many lawyers are, since the typical Myers-Briggs Type Indicator for lawyers is ISTJ—networking is much trickier. You fight yourself to even get to the darned meeting or conference in the first place. And then, you don’t know quite what to do.

So you need to find tools that are more likely to work for you and your inherent personality. In other words, you need networking strategies for the long haul, and that means ones that play to your nature, not require you to act against it. (Going against type can make you seem dumber, according to Psychology Today.) Continue reading

17 Things To Do During a Digital Fast

I realized that I said “no” to quite a few things in my previous post about going on a digital fast for 3 days. Things that might seem fairly important to your non-work life, like email, FaceBook, the interwebs, television, movies, and all those i-Gadgets.

In fact, many of you may be thinking, “Great, yeah, I’m gonna stop doing the few enjoyable of the things that I do when I’m not working. Right, what am I going to do instead, stare at the walls and sing Kumbaya?”

address plate with 17

17 ways to have a great time

Well, no. A digital fast isn’t supposed to be punitive, it’s supposed to be different and fun.

With that in mind, here are 17 things you can do instead:

  1. Go out for coffee, lunch, dinner or dessert with a friend. Bonus points if you can explain you’re experimenting with a media fast and get your friend to agree not to check her/his email, texts and FaceBook during the time you spend together.
  2. Get to some of those home/apartment to-do’s you never have time to do. Cause now, you have some extra time.
  3. Sleep in, or take a long, luxurious nap. Or both. Continue reading