I like orange popsicles. The cherry flavoured ones are also okay. The grape flavour is terrible. This is one of the few topics upon which everyone in my household agrees.
It is really hard to find a box of only orange popsicles. Trust me, I have looked. So, we always end up buying a box which contains all three flavours. Eventually our freezer becomes full of grape popsicles that nobody wants and we throw them away to make room. It is a waste of money and not that great for the environment.
Back in my law firm, I really liked most of the Associates. But there were one or two who I thought were kind of like grape popsicles. I tried to give them some work a few times. I did my best to help them learn from their mistakes. But eventually I concluded that their attitudes and mine just did not mesh and I simply could not bring myself to work with them. So I kind of just ignored them hoping that someone else at the firm would like them. But nobody did. So our grape popsicle people just hung around taking up space until they left or were pushed out.
It was the same thing with my clients. I liked most of them but there were some that I did not. Eventually I distanced myself from those who I did not like working with and left them to other lawyers to deal with.
I quite liked most of my Partners, at least in the beginning. However, nothing in life stays the same, and over time, I realized that I liked some of them, but not others. Some of them did not like me much either. Others liked me fine but did not see the point of having me around when I started putting my health and happiness ahead of my billable hours.
One day I was looking for an orange popsicle to eat and I suddenly had an epiphany. I had become the grape popsicle at the office. So I withdrew from the partnership and moved to the country.
This article is not really about popsicles. It is about law firm cultures and the need to fit in or find or create a place where you do.
After you have given it your best shot, continuing to try to fit in where you are not appreciated is a losing game.
If you are the grape popsicle in your firm, resolve to move on in 2023.