Archive for the ‘work’ Tag

On the lighter side

I’ve been venting a lot lately. It has been necessary and life-preserving. But I don’t want to always be negative; positivity and self improvement remain my goals.

So, in the spirit of reframing the negative and finding silver linings, here’s a short list of the glimmerings out of the muck from this week.

  1. Starting with the least-shiny of the linings…maybe pewter instead of silver: The workplace politics has found an uneasy level for a while, and I and my team aren’t in the crosshairs for now. Hopefully the worst is over. There will be more upheaval in a couple weeks, but at least it will likely be short-lived and mostly in someone else’s organization. That’s not the brightest or happiest outlook, but it’s not entirely dark and depressing, either. Taking what little good I can from all of the bad.
  2. In that same spirit – of finding something good in the barrel of muck – I was glad to get to contribute to a project today that has the potential to bring about good change. My boss asked me to collaborate with him on a strategy and innovation project. It was one of those think-tank type of logic problems. The board and CEO chose a current-fad business method/pop-sci kind of book and gave the executive leadership the assignment to devise an actionable, yet big-bet/blue-sky idea to spark growth or market transformation. Using the concepts in the book that combine freeing the mind from current paradigm restrictions with the facets of current-form success (i.e. the things we do best today), we were supposed to strategize a way for our established company to provide new solutions to solve customer pain points. Essentially, we needed to suggest ways to reinvent or transform our current strengths to adapt to novel problems or to provide new approaches to existing problems. It was all logic, thinking, head-work with cooperative discussion and brainstorming with my boss. It felt really good to use my brain in a non-emotional, non-political, non-reactionary problem-solving effort. And I came up with some really good observations, insights and ideas. I’m proud of myself and of my work today.
  3. Finally, I is (apparently) International Selfie Day and several of the groups and lists I belong to on Facebook were full of fun, interesting, cute and clever pictures of an amazing variety of queer people celebrating their uniqueness and individual beauty. I was so uplifted to see so many folks overcome their shyness and insecurities to post pictures of themselves in clothing and settings and situations that made them feel good and confident and accepted. Not everyone is a glamorous beauty queen or a handsome star or a gorgeous specimen of humanity. But each picture I saw showed courage and confidence and a love of self that makes me glad to be a part of this community.

Happy Summer Solstice and a good Friday night to all. I hope your weekend is full of sunshine and ease and time enough to enjoy the little things that make life worthwhile.

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Gut Churn

I’ve been trying not to be too raw, too vulnerable with my posts, wanting to protect myself and to avoid burning out readers with too much angst. But yesterday was a particularly crappy Monday and I wrote this in the heat of the emotion. After letting it sit overnight, I find it is still valid and not too overwrought with drama, so I’m posting it.

———-

305 days. That’s how long it is until my 20th work anniversary 17 April 2020). If I stay at this job that long, I will have earned my incentive compensation payout for 2019 (if any) and my milestone anniversary gift card (woohoo!) and will have proven to myself that I could do it. That’s the sum total of incentives I can catalog for staying (apart from my regular paycheck).

For going, I count a lot of things as incentives, not least of which is the salvaging of my self respect. I’m so weary of the stress and, now, the disrespect I receive from so-called peers. I’m utterly spent in terms of grace and charity for those that abuse my team and my good intentions. My sight line to the reason I keep going is more obscured every day. And I honestly don’t know what purpose it serves me or my company to continue as a lame duck “leader” under the direction of another who has been made the whipping boy/scapegoat for all things negative. He can’t shield my team anymore and I’m no longer given my full agency and authority to direct my organization. So what’s the point in remaining?

Except that I don’t yet have another job and that I still cling to the belief that I’m doing some marginal good for my team, I wouldn’t stay. I’d pack up today and walk out without another word.

Or, at least I like to think so.

Resignation

No, I haven’t quit my job…yet. But I realized today that I am resigned to the fact that it’s time to move on. The other day, in the heat of my anger, frustration, and sense of betrayal, I had told myself “f- it, I’m out”. But I don’t think it truly registered with me what that finality really means.

Today, after more piles of workplace horse manure landed on my desk daily all week, I woke from far too little sleep with a mixed feeling of dread and determination and an urgent need to talk to a friend who could understand. I reached out to the person who used to have my job and who, thankfully is a good friend. She agreed to meet me for coffee this afternoon and talk it through.

I’ve never been one to “coffee and kvetch” before, but I have to admit that having the support and empathy of a friend without judgment has been a huge relief. An added bonus is her distance from the source of the drama. Her wise advice was welcome, but much more so was her quiet attention and non-judgmental acceptance while lamented my woes.

After talking through all the angles and comparing and contrasting my present situation with the circumstances that lead to her leaving the company years ago, I have a much clearer view of the state of things. And I know that I am not in so dire a position that I need to make an immediate change. That’s a relief in itself.

But what gives me the most comfort is the realization that I can make the choice, all by myself and in my own time, without burdening myself with unnecessary guilt.

My friend helped me see that the workplace politics that are going on right now really have nothing to do with me. The hurtful things being said, the unfair criticisms, the unprofessional and abusive behavior, all of it arises from the hateful, irrational and self-serving mind of one person who does not have the company’s interests in mind and whose personal integrity is eroded to nothing. She helped me acknowledge that rational, reasoning people will see through the scapegoating and won’t buy into the character assassination. In other words, it’s a bunch of BS and I should feel no compunction against walking away when the time is right.

Intellectually, I knew that all along. But there is something powerfully persuasive about hearing the truth from an outside source with personal experience of the same situation. Knowing that my friend, a super-smart, highly accomplished attorney with seemingly every professional, social and personal advantage, still suffered from, and then overcame, the same unfair situation and is now flourishing with seemingly no professional blow-back, gives me hope for my own recovery.

Reasons Be Damned

Last post, I talked about reasons to stay/go at my job. By sheer numbers, Go won hands-down. But I was still working through the logic, trying to figure out whether it was salvageable. Then, later that week, I had a terrifyingly open discussion with my boss in which I admitted to being extremely unhappy and unable to identify what purpose and value I have to the company anymore. He again advised that the chief source of our mutual misery will be leaving in under two years and I should stick it out.

Since that conversation, I’ve been doing my best with the dreck I’m dealing with. I keep looking back at that list in my last post and trying to beef up the Stay side, attempting to persuade myself that giving up on nearly 20 years of work and professional investment isn’t failure. I have dug as deep as I know how, and I keep coming up empty.

And in the face of the blatantly unfair and wrong directive I received last night, which completely disregards my leadership, undermines my authority, and eviscerates my agency,…for the second time at this job…I can think of no good reason to stay and endure the continued abuse and poisonous politics.

Reasons be damned. I’m out.

I even applied for a job I saw on LinkedIn today. I won’t just walk out, leaving my team unsupported and work undone. But I’ve made the choice inside my head and committed to myself that I won’t put up with it any more.

Now I just have to find the least disruptive path to a new start. Oh, and tell my family…and my boss…and my team.

Ugh, this sucks.

Reasons

I’ve been having a hard time at work for a while now.  Well over a year, by my loose estimation. The reasons have diversified over that time, but the impact is the same: I’m stressed, not sleeping well, and generally unhappy and demotivated.

Lots of street-corner philosophers and internet meme wisdom would have me believe that (1) nothing and no one is responsible for my happiness or unhappiness, other than myself, and that (2) no one can “make” me feel anything, rather I choose how I feel about and respond to any situation or stimulus.

My gut and brain tell me that’s reductive BS, that, as with so much in life, the truth is a mix and somewhere in the middle.  I might have control over whether I rage and storm and become offended by innocuous and inconsequential things, but there is truth that humans have natural, predictable reactions to certain stimuli and blaming the person who reacts in those expected ways for feeling those things, naming those reactions a ‘choice’ as a derogation of their self-control, is emotional blackmail.  My intellect and rational brain tell me that feeling bad or overwhelmed or anxious or stressed when impacted by bad, overwhelming, anxiety-inducing and stressful stimuli is natural and rational and, in some ways, healthy and that I should not feel shame or guilt or failure because of these feelings.

But my heart, that thing so affected by emotion and anxiety and illogic, takes this so-called wisdom and views my reactions, in the context of my current turmoil, and turns this would-be motivational message into a cudgel to pulverize my already fragile confidence, making me question my own judgment and defeating any momentum for change that the stress and struggle may have produced. Almost as if from an outside vantage point, I see these contradicting forces at work, recognize that the turmoil is happening. But I seem powerless to overcome the internal saboteur, unable to center logic and reason over emotion and insecurity. The sludge rises and coats my reason with fear, miring my volition in inertia.

In an attempt to break the hold of anxiety’s inertia, I resorted to an old stand-by trick that has helped me overcome test anxiety, stage fright, writer’s block, and bouts of impostor syndrome from the time I started school all the way through my last birthday: making lists. By listing issues and risks and possible solutions and available resources and missing pieces and reasons for or against any given situation, I have learned to impose order on chaotic thoughts and calm the inner storm. This has helped me more times than I can count over the course of my life.

When I hit a saturation point a couple of weeks ago, when a particularly rank pile of workplace political horse manure landed on my desk, I decided I had had enough. It was the closest I’ve come in over twenty years to simply walking out of my office and never coming back.  But I’m not a quitter; I have a fundamental moral aversion to quitting before I’ve tried absolutely every possible alternative. And I don’t typically give in to rash impulses. So, instead of screaming “I quit” and walking out, I decided to make a list, two lists, actually: Reasons to Go, and Reasons to Stay, at my job.

On an 8.5 x 11 inch piece of graph paper, I listed the Reasons to Stay on the left-hand side.  There were 8 items on that list after spending an entire afternoon thinking about it and intentionally striving to add everything I could think of that would induce me to stay.  On the right-hand side of the page I listed the Reasons to Go.  It only took 15 minutes to fill the entire length of the page with 22 separate items, some with sub-parts. I bet if I let myself, I could add even more.

Now, in something so weighty and consequential as a decision to quit a high-paying job with professional prestige, sheer numbers of reasons listed in the midst of emotional upheaval shouldn’t be the only deciding factor.  I acknowledge this.  I also acknowledge that these thoughts, generated amidst emotional stress or not, are valid and shouldn’t be discounted simply because they’re items in a list.  The quality and consequence of the reasons matter and should be taken into account, too.

Here are my lists:

Reasons to Stay: Reasons to Go:
Paycheck Savings Enough for Months-Long Job Search
Loyalty No Loyalty in Return
Protect My Staff Can’t Protect if I’m a Lame Duck
I’m Not a Quitter I’m Not a Masochist, Either
Sense of Obligation – Don’t Leave in a Lurch Can’t Carry Obligation for Someone Who Doesn’t Want Me
Hassle to Find New Job I’m Unhappy
Age – Harder to Get New Job Out of Control Stress
Inertia Sleeplessness
  Don’t Feel I’m Adding Value Anymore When My Efforts Are Unappreciated
  I Can Find a Place to Add Value and be Appreciated
  Opportunity to Change Direction – Personal and Professional
  Chance to Re-Set and Re-Order My Life
  Take Time for Hobbies
  Take Time to Travel and See Friends
  Time to Write
  Chance to Work on Personal Growth
  Time to do Home Chores and Projects
  Relief from Pressure, Stress, Anxiety
  Distance from Boss’ Fits of Rage
  Change is Refreshing – New People, Places, Challenges
  Chance to Cultivate Peace and Tranquility in My Life
  I’m Not Irreplaceable – the Company and My Team Will Be Fine Without Me

What I take from the flat comparison of the two lists is that there are more numerous and weighty reasons to leave than to stay.  Assessing for depth, I can’t see that there is any urgency left within me anymore to continue fighting the anxiety, to endure the demoralizing disregard and mistreatment from my colleagues, or to achieve any specific professional objectives, that add up to a reason to stay. But I can see a lot of yearning to be free from the negativity, stress and emotional upheaval that is constantly generated by the people I work with.

Because it’s not the job, it’s the people. If I were to look for a new job (and I have been looking quite a lot), I’d still look for a similar position – I still love being an attorney for a company doing good things. I just don’t want to have to endure the toxicity that currently surrounds me in this company.

One of my frequent commentors on this blog said something recently about me being in a constantly toxic environment and continuing to expect to not be poisoned. That thought has been stinging the inside of my skull ever since I read it. At first, I was a little hurt to think they viewed me as naive and irrational for feeling so keenly the hurts from this job. But the more I think about it, the comment and my situation, the more I come to understand that what I’m feeling is grief over having finally reached the end of my creativity and ingenuity for inventing paths to resolution. I’m grieving over not being able to fix a problem that I didn’t create. I’m grieving a failure not of my making. I’m grieving the end of an era of my professional life that didn’t culminate in triumph, but in apathy.

One of those internet memes of wisdom I’ve seen a lot of lately advises not to hold onto a mistake simply because you spent a long time making it. Similarly, I’ve been advised by the interwebs that I can’t reach for something new if my hands are full of old junk.  While pithy, maybe even trite, and certainly oversimplified, these bits of advice hold a kernel of true wisdom: letting go of past mistakes gives you the opportunity to move on…hopefully to avoid making the same mistakes later.

My boss has been giving me little pep talks lately, taking pains to complement me and apologize for all his temper tantrums and the stress he adds to my life, and making a point of assuring me that the chief agitator causing the bulk of the drama is on a plan that has them retiring in 18 months or less.  He tells me all the time to just hang on for a little over a year and the main source of all our grief will be gone.

That’s so, so tempting.  By that time, I’ll have surpassed the 20-year mark with this company, a nice, round, milestone achievement.  Also by that time, my bonus for this year’s achievements will have been paid (if all the gates are met). And with the horizon free of the Senior Butthead and Top Drama Maker, I could see myself finishing out my career with this company.

But the rational voice still living in my head, however muted and small, still shouts that whomever replaces that jerk may not be any better and, besides, 18 months is a LOOOOOOOONG time in which much stress and turmoil can occur and in which they may change their plans and not retire at all.

So, since the present is all the time any of us has, should I waste my opportunity to take back my happiness on a hope for someone else’s decision to retire or not? Do I have it in me to stay another year and half while that plays out, enduring the continued toxicity and risking panic attacks and remaining unhappy – is the milestone and the potential bonus and the hoped-for relief solid enough of a benefit to make sucking it up worth it?

No answers, yet.  I’ve told myself, and even one friend who I trust, that I’ve already decided that I’m out.  But I don’t have another job, yet, so I’m not making any rash moves.  Will inertia win? I’ll just have to keep thinking and working on my courage to make a change, I guess.

 

Flotsam

It’s been a busy week. When I returned from vacation a week ago, I had a short few hours to empty my suitcase and refill it, ready for a week in conference with my global team. I host this summit every two years and it’s always a wonderful experience. This time was no exception. It was made even better by my not having to plan, organize and execute the agenda. I had delegated that task to my senior leaders and they didn’t disappoint. The agenda was full of engaging activities, intriguing speakers, and plentiful opportunities for getting to know one another. My brain is full of bits and pieces, flotsam, of the week. Here are a few highlights:

  • I experienced my first escape room. I was very uncertain about doing that, as I am very claustrophobic and our team, even broken down into four groups, is large. I didn’t want to get into some confined space and panic and be the reason we failed. But it was fun. I surprised myself by staying calm enough to think through clues and solve nearly half of the puzzles myself. My group worked well together and had a great time, escaping with 12:09 to spare!
  • It was surprisingly nice to be more of a spectator than the driver at this event. I let my leaders be responsible for the agenda and running the meetings, and didn’t even feel the need to jump in and help. They each did a great job with their part of the agenda and were incisive and thoughtful in their remarks and questions. It’s good to see your people blossom.
  • We did a group Emergenetics assessment, evaluating how each person thinks and approaches working with others. I was pleasantly surprised to see how well balanced the team is overall. Normally, any given group or individual has one or two strong thinking preferences, with the other two being minor tendencies. But this team is fairly evenly split among the four styles: Analytical, Structural, Conceptual, and Social. Surprisingly, especially for a group of legal professionals, Social (which should really be called Relational) was slightly bigger than the Conceptual category, though Analytical and Structural were still the highest scoring styles. Our overall balance is reflected in the tight integration and high engagement and productivity of this team. I’m very proud of them and all they’ve accomplished. It’s nice to have data that validates their good working dynamic.
  • Being a participant, rather than the driver, this week left me with more opportunities to get to know more of my team, especially the newer folk from my international groups. We had lots of playful banter and some fun conversations about personal interests. I was surprised to find so many Harry Potter fans among them, along with plenty of car enthusiasts and Marvel lovers. But I was also gratified to find them all to be thoughtful and sensitive in their discussions of more weighty topics. At one point, a conversation that started off playfully debating the comparative qualities of Snape, Umbridge and Dumbledore, led to a respectful, yet lively, discussion of the merits of JK Rowling’s choice to out Dumbledore as gay. One young member of my team in Asia said that they didn’t see how that detail was necessary to expose, how it could possibly advance the story. When I explained that seeing someone, even a fictional character, in the media that we consume who reflects back to you the qualities that make you feel different can make those markers of difference less sharp, less othering, I saw the lightbulb go on in their head. It was fascinating to see them realize that knowing something about a character that makes them relatable on a personal level is as essential to enjoyment for minority/marginalized groups as it is for the privileged/mainstream groups. It felt good to be able to help them make that connection and, hopefully, help shape their thinking a little bit.
  • We had some amazing food experiences this week, too. But out of all of them, I think I enjoyed the relaxed pizza party we had after the escape room the most. Removing all the trappings of elegant dining and just sitting around in a sports bar and talking about everything and nothing, we became even more of a team. No rank, no titles, just a bunch of people getting to be friends. I really enjoyed that.

I hope your week ahead is full of good conversation and plenty of opportunity to get to know folks in your life that bit better. Have a great week, friends.

Conundrum

I’m really freaking tired of the up/down, positive/negative emotional treadmill that’s taken up residence in my brain and psyche lately. It hasn’t even been a full week since the victorious settlement of one of the biggest litigation matters in my professional career and I haven’t even had a chance to celebrate or even fully grasp that it’s no longer a problem I have to deal with. Yet I’m already embroiled in the next (few) crises, battling the next source of negativity.

But I don’t want to fall into the trap of repetitive, unrelenting negativity. So I’m trying to come at this one from an attitude of learning: what can I learn from this, how can I reframe this into some positive, practical good?

Here’s the puzzle:

How do you separate your emotional investment in something from the intellectual and logical, even logistical, considerations of any given issue, especially when faced with the projected emotional experience of the people around you?

Here’s today’s experience that triggered this query:

In the midst of a vent about the way a few people at my company have handled certain issues lately, a person I respect and admire and whose judgment I have always trusted described their decision to change careers and come work at my company in a field and position similar to my own as “abject failure”, going on to express how their parents had lamented their decision to change fields, go to law school, and take a leadership position at a company rather than continue their promising career in an entirely different professional field with the opportunity to “do real work with value for the world “.

I know logically and intellectually that these comments were borne of their frustration and stress, that they were venting and speaking about themself and their experience, relating memories from their past. I also am perfectly clear that their comments were not directed at me, only to me, and that the judgment held in those words was directed at their life, not at mine.

I know all of this.

Yet, at the same time, it’s hard not to apply that same judgment (that being an attorney, especially an in-house lawyer for a company not “doing anything important” for society is failure) to my own career. That judgment stings sharply, especially because I don’t have that second career, that other skill set to return to.

It seems to me a reasonable conclusion that if being an attorney and business executive is a failure for someone with such considerable accomplishments and valuable alternative skills, then it surely is more so for anyone else in the same company in a similar position who is less accomplished and has fewer alternative skills. How could it not be? Only if the less accomplished yet similarly situated person has exhausted their potential – if they were always going to be less, couldn’t expect to achieve anything more or better.

But that’s as big a smack in the face as the assertion that a chosen career and its associated achievements is necessarily a consolation prize, unworthy of pride and celebration.

So, what’s the lesson to be learned, how can this be turned into something positive ?

I don’t have these answers yet. I’m still struggling not to internalize the notion that everything I’ve worked for, all my professional achievements, and me into the bargain, aren’t some pathetic joke, undeserving of the esteem I’ve ascribed to them for nearly two decades. But I have to believe that there is something positive to salvage from the junk heap of professional ego.

Maybe it is this: even if the career I’ve built and the contributions I’ve made to my company’s success are less glamorous or valuable than some other esteemed career by someone else’s measure, I at least can be proud of what I’ve accomplished because I’ve done it honestly, with integrity and by the work of my own mind and skill; I have exploited no one, mistreated no one, cheated no one, and taken nothing that I did not earn by honest means. If that’s pathetic, abject failure for some, I’m unsure what could possibly measure up to success.

Still, it doesn’t sting any less knowing that my measure of personal success seems weak and valueless to someone who I have respected and admired and whose esteem I have labored to attract. I wonder now if they regard me with as much contempt as they apparently regard my career?

That’s not a super-shiny positive on which to end this post. But at least I’m thinking about it and making an effort to divine a positive meaning from a hurtful encounter. That’s supposedly a “learner’s” mentality and the first step to positivity. So there’s that.

Victory

My last post conveyed my nervousness about the trial my company was preparing for on Tuesday of this week. Although we had done a vast amount of work to prepare our case, martial our evidence, and prepare witnesses, I had a healthy level of concern for our prospects – there are a lot of variables and things outside our control that could cause a loss for even the best prepared case.

Also, as is my way, I was also nervous about my own personal performance and participation in the trial. I was designated to be the corporate representative necessary to the presentation of the case, so I was going to be sitting at counsel’s table in the courtroom. But I was also going to be called as a witness. So, in addition to the hundreds of hours of work I had put into the case, including nearly 20 hours of combined deposition testimony, I was going to have to relive it all and synthesize our data under the scrutiny and pressure of direct and cross examination.

So, I was nervous.

Tuesday dawned and I found my way downtown and, eventually, to the correct federal courtroom without incident. All of our witnesses and both outside counsel and my boss, the General Counsel of my company, showed up on time and fully prepared. After the pre-trial conference, we took our places and proceeded with opening statements and direct examination of our first witness. Keeping our team informed of our progress (since they weren’t permitted to be in the courtroom) during breaks, we ended the day with some work to do based on the rulings and questions that were raised during the day. So, after a 8+ hour day in court, we spent several more hours at the office digging up data to address issues we’d face in court the next day. We also were fielding questions and overtures from the other side toward settlement.

But it didn’t settle before the report time the next day, so we showed up for court again Wednesday morning, ready to go hard. We did go hard and gained back some of the ground we’d seen slip in bench rulings on the prior day. That helped us tip the momentum in our favor. So, just before the end of the lunch break, and – more critical to me personally – just before I was to be called to the witness stand, the other side agreed to settle on my company’s terms.

It was a good result for both me and my company. I’m very pleased with the result and hugely proud of all the work I and my team put in on this case. I’m proud to be able to report a victory.

Nerves

After months of grueling work, high stress and anxiety, sleepless nights and even a few ridiculous panic attacks, tomorrow begins the trial. This case should have been so straight forward and resolved in a matter of days after the circuit court ruling nearly two years ago narrowed the issues to essentially one. It was a contract claim, for frick sake! It shouldn’t have taken this much time, effort, energy and head space. But old, greedy, white dudes with nothing better to do than to make trouble, and here we are.

I’m going to be at the counsel table with our outside counsel. I’m supposed to be observing and an available resource to counsel for contract-specific details. In other words, I’m the living database for our case.

No pressure.

Actually, I’m ok with it. I’ve devoted so much of my time and endured so much stress in this thing that I’d feel cheated not to be on hand to watch it play out. But that doesn’t stop the nerves. I’m sure I’ll be fine as soon as it starts. As with so many things in life, it’s the anticipation that’s the killer.

And on the plus side – I will probably wear one or both of my custom suits during this circus.

Probably won’t hear from me again before it’s all over. All the good vibes, good wishes, crossed fingers, and positive energy you can spare for me is much appreciated.

Signs of Maturity, or at Least Personal Growth

I don’t know why I should feel any surprise at all, given the years’ worth of effort to achieve exactly this, but I am pleasantly surprised to recognize new signs of growth and maturity in myself. It’s gratifying to see positive results from concerted effort. Clearly, I’m not perfect and this whole improving myself gig is never ending. Nevertheless, I’m happy to see results and pleased with how far I’ve come.

Here are a few things that, in my mind, mark progress in areas of myself that I’ve been working on:

  1. Confidence and “owning my awesome“, as I’ve previously called it on this blog. This is absolutely NOT arrogance or false courage that is often mistaken for being justifiably confident. What I’m proud of is both recognizing and then acknowledging without demurrer my achievements and their relative significance. For example, just today, we finished a huge, complex, extremely detailed, data-intensive project for one of the litigation matters I’ve been co-managing with my boss. It involved coordinating inputs from half a dozen people, data from dozens of sources over a period spanning nearly two decades, and creating multiple tools and interim iterations just to arrive at a single, comprehensive analysis that will inform – under-pin, even – the entirety of our case and have a direct impact on the ultimate outcome. Whatever that outcome, I found myself saying to my boss today, I’m proud of our collective work and of my own considerable contribution. I think what I’m most proud of is that we have done absolutely everything that could be done to secure our desired outcome; we did nothing half-assed and left no detail unexplored or unresolved. Having the clarity and courage to acknowledge that, both to him and to myself, is just as big of an achievement for me as the work itself.
  2. Honesty and Personal Integrity. All my life I’ve worked hard to maintain a high standard of personal integrity and to always be truthful with myself and others. As is the way of all noble pursuits, this takes continuous effort and it is not until you are confronted with challenge or temptation that you know whether that effort has paid off. During the course of preparing for the trial of that same litigation matter over the last several months, I have been both confronted and tempted, having to account for actions and decisions, as well as resist the opportunity to cut corners, even cheat, in my work. Most challenging have been the times when people have given me the answers they thought I wanted to hear, rather than the actual facts or truth. Recognizing that condition, carefully and tactfully correcting it, and getting the work done accurately and well while maintaining the integrity of the work and of my word, was a true test of the value of my life’s work on these personal values. It came home to me when I found myself counseling a coworker to “give me uncomfortable truths over comfortable untruths any day”. Because the temporary and relatively minor discomfort I experience now while I’m adjusting toward acceptance of that truth is an order of magnitude less painful than the trauma and devastation that I’ll have to overcome when unpicking the comfortable untruths that have become enmeshed in the fabric of my life (or of this case) when the truth inevitably comes to light. Choosing to endure the present pain of the truth over enjoying the temporary and false comfort of a lie is maturity.
  3. Prioritizing Myself. Lastly, I’m proud of successfully prioritizing my own needs without guilt or shame. I told my boss today (I didn’t ask or request, but informed) that when this trial is concluded I’m taking at least a week and am doing something just for myself, and will not even think about my job or permit anyone, including him, to bring my job into my time off for the entire time I’m away. I have endured extraordinary levels of stress over the last year for this company, putting myself last in all things, and it’s taken a huge toll on my body and mind. I’m no longer willing to sacrifice my peace of mind and all of my personal time for a job and a company that takes my sacrifice for granted. It’s a tiny step, declaring my intention and brooking no argument about it from myself or anyone else. But it’s a vital step to fostering my wellbeing and choosing myself. And doing it without a self-imposed guilt trip is a huge accomplishment.

There you go. Three good things, positive progress in my journey to being my best self. I hope you all are succeeding with n your own journeys, too.

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