This Sickness Doth Infect

This sickness doth infect

The lifeblood of our enterprise.

–Hotspur, in Henry IV, Part 1, act 4, sc. 1, l. 28-9, by William Shakespeare

 

I have a cold, and I slept until 11 today. And it was fabulous.

Why am I telling you this? Because if you work in a law firm, you would probably never do the same thing, or if you did, would feel horribly guilty and anxiety-stricken about it. And that stress and anxiety would itself hinder your recovery.

Truth be told, I could have wrenched myself out of bed at 8 and gotten my kid to school and started my work day. It would have been a struggle, but I could have done it. But when my alarm went off at 7:10 and I viciously attacked the clock, I decided that my husband could take Little Mister to school, as he always does in the mornings, and that he could also choose clothes for Little Mister. (Though that tends to make me shudder when I pick Little Mister up in the afternoon.)

I realize what a total luxury it is in America, and especially BigLaw, to be able to stay home and just rest because you are a bit under the weather. Even though often, simply resting is all that is required to bounce back to health. Lawyers have very high sickness and illness rates compared to the rest of the population, and I daresay that one of the primary reasons is that most lawyers won’t say no to deadlines that are either arbitrary or meaningless and put their own needs first. There is this bizarre group-think going on, in which everyone imagines that they can grit their teeth, suck it up, and make their health wait while big important things like discerning the statute of limitations in Idaho for contract breaches gets taken care of.

Oh, your health will wait. Just not the way you envision.

Don’t do this to yourself, and become chronically sick from stress and neglect. This is not being dedicated to your job, this is sacrificing yourself upon its altar. No job, particularly law, is worth it. Even if the managing partner sent you flowers every day, just because (snort!), it wouldn’t be worth it.

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