My friend John, a fellow lawyer and my pre-Jimmy text BFF, messaged me on LinkedIn recently to congratulate me on my new job. He called me a “lawyerface.” That’s the inside joke that inspired this goal (in part) so it’s sort of funny he contacted me out of the blue to say that.
Otherwise things are going relatively well with this goal. I continue to build credibility with my new boss.
Still, going forward, I have to be very careful about my attitude. I need to exhibit willingness, humility, initiative and a drive to push our cases forward. If I give into complacency or procrastination I won’t create the results I want. And I need to keep connecting with my boss, on a human level (hard for me in a work setting).
The biggest danger to all of this is my ego getting in the way.
I’ve got to find some balance, though, because as much as I want to be a “good employee,” I need to also stand in my value in a way I haven’t before. I need to show him I know what I’m worth, and that my potential is much bigger than “employee” (without being entitled or defensive).
So both of these things need to sort of happen in tandem; building trust and credibility by being a “good employee” while picking my moments to show up #likeaboss.
For all of this, choosing trust – the first word in my contract – is key.
I otherwise recently got more evidence of the value I create. Last week my colleague from my old job emailed me to tell me we’d won everything in one of my cases. This was a case where I represented an allergist who invented a novel handheld device that treats allergies with red light. In short, the company he used to work for sued him, claiming it owned all of the patent rights to his invention.
My client was in the right, but there were some documents in the case that complicated things (out of context, they didn’t look good for us). Those documents turned the judge against us early on; she didn’t buy our story from the get-go. We had an uphill battle.
While I was on maternity leave, I agreed to write a brief to the court that was meant to end the case. It was an opportunity to finally get the full story (the truth) in front of the judge. Prior to this, I had traveled across the country to California and Arizona, 7 months pregnant, to depose hostile witnesses and gather evidence so I could effectively make this argument. Even though it was a huge stretch to write such a big, detailed brief while on leave (both the law and facts in this case are complex), on some level, it felt personal; I wanted to see it through.
I wrote the brief in the local library not long after Brodie got out of the ICU. Jimmy took a few days off work to watch the boys while I worked on the brief. Jimmy wasn’t quite ready for that yet; he struggled at home while I felt increasingly stressed. I knew this brief was my client’s best shot, and that it would probably be one of the last arguments I’d write at my old job. I also knew that if I didn’t succeed, this case would probably be left in less capable hands.
Getting the news that we won was gratifying on many levels. My hard work and sacrifices had paid off. I was still creating good results at my old job even after I left. My client, an honest, good person who got stuck with a raw deal, was finally vindicated.
And I was reminded of the value I bring: I win cases. That’s the value I want to own/stand in at my new job.
Minor Goal: siiiiinging
Mixed bag of progress here. My commitment is still missing. I heard a subway musician Saturday, and that guy was amazing. I thought to myself, now there’s someone who is committed. I’m not there. So I am judging myself on this, and maybe I need to give myself a break instead. I’ve got a lot going on and the fact that I’m still plugging away at this is good. In my mind “getting committed” seems like some huge task, but it could be as simple as watching a short YouTube video of a singer that inspires me just prior to practice time.
Thoughts on integrity buddy:
It’s challenging. Not so much watching the blog (the “doing”), but being in a position where you feel you are holding the context for the entire group. It’s funny, when Josh talked about integrity feeling light and empowering, I thought to myself, not really. I’m kind of tired. So I’d like to reframe what standing for integrity looks like for me. I don’t want to be casual about it because that doesn’t fit, but I think (as usual) I’m putting too much pressure on myself in a role that doesn’t require that much — and the source of it may be that I’m not trusting the group to hold the context with me. If I did, I think I’d naturally let go a little.
Also feedback is a tough area for me, even as I’ve been walking into the fire a little with it this cycle. If I give feedback I pretty much assume beforehand everyone is going to hate me for it. If I get feedback my ego struggles to get out of the way so I can take it in. All of that costs me too much energy on something that doesn’t need to be that big of a deal.
With respect to me personally being my word, one thing I had to do this weekend was cancel two commitments – going to a brunch with friends and going to an in-person small group meeting in early June. Both I was super excited about. But both were not workable because both were in Manhattan. Manhattan is two hours for me, each way. That’s too much time away from the boys on a weekend (even a one hour event in the city takes up 5+ hours) — which is the only time I have with them — and on a weekday I’d have to come down from White Plains after work then still drive 2 hours home to LI at night (I know I sound like an old lady, but I’m edgy about driving at night, not to mention getting home late only to wake up early and commute 2hrs to work).
I don’t live or work in Manhattan anymore. Until we move closer, I just can’t make trips to the city work. I’ve got to accept this, and stop overcommitting when I know I can’t do it. This is part of being my word, and that’s what confronted me this weekend: I’m not managing this well because I’m resisting my new reality. As a result, I’m letting myself and others down instead of just being honest about my limits and that my life has fundamentally changed.
Which brings me to a challenge I do not want to deal with: building a new life on Long Island, and as a mom. Next PSPLife goal?
Okay, that’s a wrap! Have a powerful Monday.