Categories
Work/Life Balance

Have I Got Your Number?

When you get old like I am and hang out with people who are also getting long in the tooth, the question, “What’s your number?”  is frequently asked.

No, this is not about getting picked up. I am not talking about phone numbers. I am referring to the amount of invested assets that folks who are looking to exit the rat race think that they need to have to retire.

The answer of course is always ‘more than I have,’ and that insecurity leaves many of us on the treadmill longer than we want to be there.

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Work/Life Balance

Band-Aids For Burnout

My partner Gordon used to travel to Florida each winter on vacation with his biggest client.

Gordon would pay for every meal for both families and submit for reimbursement from the firm.  When asked by the Managing Partner whether he had any friends who were not clients to vacation with, he answered rhetorically, “what better friend could there be than someone who helps me put bread on the table to feed my family?” 

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Work/Life Balance

Living Well in the Legal Profession

Doug was an Associate at my first law firm. Martin was our boss.

Just after lunch on my first Friday at the office, Doug said to me, “Any minute now Martin is going to come into my office with a file that absolutely, positively, has to be completed by Monday morning. He does this every Friday to be certain that I have to work on the weekend. He must tell the clients to hold off on giving us files until Friday morning.”

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Work/Life Balance

Mental Health:  Marketing or Operations?

I like to bake bread. In my opinion, and in the opinion of a family member named Aidan, the crust is the best part of my bread.  When he was younger, Aidan would sometimes help himself to both end pieces. I did not like that.

Once, Aidan asked if it was okay for him to take a slice of my freshly baked bread as it was cooling on the counter. I told him to take just one slice.  The next thing I knew he had sliced the entire top of the bread off and was happily munching way.

When I confronted him, Aidan was not particularly remorseful. He said, “you said that I could have a slice. You didn’t say anything about how I had to slice it.”

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Work/Life Balance

My Journey From Law To Mental Health *

It took me eight years after I first realized that my life in law was not working for me until I was fully retired. It went like this:

2012: Best financial year ever. Worked incredibly hard in the last quarter. My hours in November and December were insane. I was so proud of myself. Got a huge slice of the compensation pie.

January 2013: Went to the doctor worried that I was not well enough to go on a trip to Australia for a meeting of our international association. Diagnosed with a thyroid issue. The doctor said it had nothing to do with the stress of my career. I did not believe him.

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Work/Life Balance

You Can’t Fix Crazy

“Lawyers make wonderful (psychiatric) patients: they have excellent health insurance and they never get better.” Niles Crane on Frasier

As a completely unqualified, amateur mental health consultant, I have diagnosed myself with post-professional stress syndrome which I believe results from my forty-year legal career. My symptoms are not sleeping well and worrying too much, even in retirement when on any rational basis I have very little to worry about.

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Work/Life Balance

Sh*t My Partners Told Me

In some law firms there is the ‘Go Big or Go Home’ faction (and by “Home” I mean to a firm where lawyers work reasonable hours and people care about each other and their physical and mental health).   

For this faction, it is all about improving earnings and damn the lifestyle.

There is often another faction comprised of lawyers who want to make a decent living but who also want to have a happy life. In a firm where the ‘Go Big or Go Home” group are calling the shots, nobody cares what these lifestyle losers think, so I am also going to ignore them in this post.

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Work/Life Balance

Why are You Wasting Time Reading this Drivel?

Back when I was practicing law, I considered publications like The Lawyer’s Daily to be an unwelcome but necessary evil. I would skim the headlines and case digests looking for information that I had to know to remain competent. There were many times that I did not even read news about upcoming legislation. I figured that it was a waste of time to focus on things that may never be enacted, and I could just wait until it became law to worry about it.

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Work/Life Balance

Toxic Productivity

In 1639, John Clarke said, “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

I go to bed early and like other older folks I can no longer sleep through the night, so I suppose I wake up early. So, I should have it made. But I don’t.

Categories
Work/Life Balance

Goodbye Earl – A Legal Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, in a common law jurisdiction not that far away, there was a partner in a law firm who did what all good law firm partners do. He billed a lot. He brought in many clients. He trained the junior lawyers. He supervised the clerks. All in all, he was somewhat of a star. I will call him Earl.