The legal industry as a whole must fix its fetish with perfection. In the end, calling out colleagues on their weaponized perfectionism benefits everyone, especially lawyers who are different from the norm. It doesn’t require money to address. You don’t need anyone’s permission. It’s a step you can take within the next week.
Will this be easy? No. But neither is living with your stress level. Stress kills us by triggering health problems that might have lain dormant. Plus it robs us of joy. Who wouldn’t want to trade poor health and misery for a chance at something much better?
Dear Jennifer, I’m three years out of school. I lasted 18 months at my big law job, where they inexplicably
Ever wished you could write for advice from a career coach who understood law? Well now, you can. Fire off that letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe your letter will be the first one answered!
Rarely are there calls for the legal industry to hold itself accountable for creating alarming rates of depression/substance abuse/suicide in the profession. Despite the fact that lawyering is a stressful job done while surrounded by many dysfunctional, unpleasant people who actively try to thwart you—colleagues and opposing counsel alike. Somehow, we are supposed to survive and thrive in a toxic hellscape at work.
Not every single law firm environment is toxic. Yet a shockingly high percentage are. If we lawyers could see our psyches in physical form, I’m confident we would see many ugly scars, spirits broken from verbal lashings, and disfigurement from scathing attacks on our eyes, ears, and voices.
Lawyers may deserve the “asshole” label at times, but not because we are all mean, nasty people. Yes, there are many lawyers who are. But many more lawyers act poorly because they’ve never learned differently.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t ever argue the correctness of your position, because I am not an idiot. But choosing the right time and the right place for that argument is where we lawyers often stumble. Far too many attorneys have their “I’m right” dial set permanently at 11, one of the reasons lawyers’ interpersonal relationships suffer.
I particularly don’t believe in lazy when it comes to people who managed to make it through an academic career with the grades to get into law school, to get through law school, and to get through the bar exam.
What I do believe in is fear. One way or another, fear is the root of behavior that we misguidedly call laziness.
Your brain needs time to mull things over and roam freely in odd places. Lacking that kind of freedom, your brain (and therefore you) gets frenzied and spastic, going through lots of motions but accomplishing little.
Writing a novel in a month isn’t impossible, as long as you’re willing to write badly. If you want friends for the journey, join the Nanowrimo Lawyers 2018 FB group.