Category Archives: 1st Job

On Being a Mom Without a Mom on Mother’s Day

Red knitwork, horizontal

“Yes, Mom, what do you want?” I said quietly into the phone. “My boss is sitting right here, I can’t talk now.”

My Mom had been calling me every day at the office for six months. She had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the spring of my 3rd year of law school.

As a newly-minted lawyer at a government agency in downtown DC, my first job, with a boss and my own office (albeit very small and without a window), I was learning to deal with her daily calls.

No, I can’t tell you that,” I told her.

She persisted.

Please, just tell me what your bra size is,” she asked again.

Mom, c’mon, I’m at work, I’m in my office,” I pleaded. “My boss, he’s a man, he is in my office, too.”

She pleaded right back.

I’m at the yarn store in Westport. I’m knitting you a sweater. Just give me the number.”

I gave up.

36B,” I whispered into the phone, as my boss rolled his eyes upward, squelching a laugh.

Exactly one year later my Mom died of cancer. (well, actually she died because of malpractice related to her cancer but that is a tale for another time.) She was 54 years old, I was 28.

I still have the beautiful red, V-neck cotton sweater with the just-below-the-elbow length sleeves she made me, although it no longer fits. It was as stylish then as it is now. She was a woman of both good taste and great kindness.

Some women complain that their elderly moms call them too often.

Every night, can you believe it, she calls me every single night, and then she worries if I am not home by 9 p.m. She tells me to eat my vegetables, have I gotten an eye check up lately, she bugs me about the kids or my job or my husband. When are we going to visit her? Who’s going to drive her to her doctor appointments? Or run to the store to get her a new light bulb or better reading glasses. I’m tired of hearing her complaints about who did or who didn’t sit with her at dinner. Honestly, my mom is driving me crazy. Doesn’t she know what a busy life I have?

I bet she does know you have a life. Hers is shrinking in scope, yours isn’t and she wants to be a part of it.

My Mom called me at the office for over a year when she was ill. Then one day she stopped calling. Three weeks later, on a sunny spring afternoon in May as my Dad and I sat by her bed, holding her hand, in the ICU of a cancer hospital in New York City, hearing the beeps from the machines that had kept her alive ebb away, she died. It was mid-afternoon, on the Tuesday after Mother’s Day. Thoughtful as ever, she chose, I felt, to wait and not ruin the holiday for us.

I would give anything for one more phone call, nagging, annoying, insistent, critical, I’d take it.

And you know what, Mom, I’d say? You have two wonderful granddaughters and two terrific grandsons that you never got to meet. And in 2013 you became a great-grandparent, too.

What else would I tell her? Oh yes, my bra size has changed in the past 34 years. I don’t like the color red as much as I once did. But the sweater remains in my closet and it always will.

Miss you forever, Mom! Happy Mother’s Day.

 

 

5 Comments

Filed under 1st Grandchild, 1st Job, Adult Kids, Aging, Aging Parents, Baby Boomers, daughters, Family, Female Friends, Holidays, Lawyers, Moms, Women, Working Women

Say “No” to an Admission Offer from a Highly Selective College?

09_spring-lawn_campus-center

 

 

Sometimes I cringe when I re-read some of my older Blog posts. And sometimes I think I was spot on.

Early April is here – and with it, I’m moving beyond the March Madness of basketball (that final game where the underdog team Villanova beat UNC at the buzzer was well worth staying up late for) – and again observing the annual “madness” that the college acceptance season has become.

I wrote a Blog post in April, 2015 expressing my thoughts on what really matters when making a college choice.

Here is what I said then  – I think it rings as true today as it did a year ago ———>

 

———> Yes, it is a ridiculous and harmful obsession that some parents, shared at times by their teens, have with getting accepted to an elite, highly selective college.

And yes, “getting in” can become the narrowest of goals in the madness of this college admission season.

But – can I be honest here?

I think it really DOES matter where a student goes to college.

But probably not for the reasons you think.

1st – Attending a college with a well-known brand name DOES open future doors.

I agree 150% that fit matters far more than brand name. Yet brand name can help, especially in the post-college years – – let’s not kid ourselves.

When I applied for internships and jobs, every interviewer I met labeled me (rightly or wrongly) as smart based upon the school from which I had graduated.

“You went to Smith? My (daughter/wife/sister/niece/cousin) went to Smith. You must be smart.”

The name of my college opened doors – got me interviews, introduced me to well-connected alums.

Here’s the key though: It was up to me to achieve once I got in that door.

So if your teen pushes for a brand name school, he understands its’ name will always be on his resume. He’s right; that name alone may ease his path to jobs and graduate schools. But he has to do the work once he gets there.

2nd – Going to a college that offers a diverse and intellectually stimulating community in which to live DOES matter.

Much of the learning in college comes from outside the classroom – which is why it is important to attend a college where you will be surrounded by people you will learn from.

And, assuming a student, is open to new ideas, because this is really what college is about, isn’t it? –  she will not learn as much from people who look like her, think like her and grew up near her than she would from people who are dissimilar.

Diversity DOES matter – because highly selective schools usually can and do offer more financial aid, a student may find a truly diverse student community, in terms of background, beliefs, ethnicity, race and social class in a more selective school.

3rd –  and most important to me  – Where a student goes to college DOES matter to that student’s Mental Health.

Parents and their teens must discuss the topic of college student mental health – before the student sets foot on campus next fall.

The absurd stress of the college admission process is but a harbinger of things to come. If a student gets accepted to the dream elite school of her choice, the prize is an entrance ticket into an even more stressful academic environment.

Highly selective schools function as pressure cookers, packed with intensely focused kids driven to succeed and achieve, to get that A, to find the best internship, to land a prestigious job after graduation or get into a top medical school.

And the impact of all of that stress?

An increasingly deleterious impact on the mental health of college students. More students than ever, according to recent studies, report feeling anxious, depressed and/or stressed.

The University of Pennsylvania, seeking its own answers after a series of student suicides,  wants to change its own campus culture of  self-described “destructive perfectionism” – – a culture sadly familiar to many at similar top colleges where driven students put immense pressure on themselves to achieve and then think they have failed themselves (and perhaps their parents) if they don’t meet their often overly ambitious goals.

So step back a minute.

If accepted to a highly selective school, congratulations – and yes, it’s true that its’ name brand will be a helpful lifetime credential and alumni connection.

And yes, a top college often offers the most intellectually intriguing and diverse community in which to study and make forever friends.

But perhaps – if your student gets accepted by the most tippy-top, elite of schools, because of his perfect grades, mega test scores, impossibly impressive list of awards, achievements and leadership positions, even if your son or daughter is the kind of student who could barely find time to floss in high school, given how busy he or she was –

Perhaps your student should do the unexpected –  and  consider saying “no, thank you” to that most elite of colleges?

What if your student instead considered instead a college with a culture that is not one of  “destructive perfectionism” – but instead one that will support as well as challenge a student.

Here’s the plan:

  • Colleges themselves must take the first step to lessen the pressure to be perfect in order to be accepted.
  • Parents should dial down their own expectations.
  • Students should put their own mental health first (and second, and third) – and start rethinking about college (and high school) as places in which to enjoy learning, to thrive in instead of being driven into a frenzy of unrealistic achievement goals.

Then the only March Madness will be the games we watch on T.V.

 

 

 

 

 

7 Comments

Filed under 1st Job, College, College, Education, Mental Health, Parenting, Raising Kids, Young Adult Mental Health

Faster, Faster. Slower, Slower: 60-Something.

Frozen Time

 

A few weeks ago, just before my Fabulous Fibula Fracture, I had started to draft a new blog post prompted by an interesting comment made by my friend, Liz.

She wants to freeze time. To stop the clock. Right now.

Liz and I are both in our early 60’s. As are many of our friends. And we are finding this to be an age – and a stage – (an inadvertent rhyme) – where we would like to freeze time. So we can enjoy life as it is for a while longer.

If only we could hit the “pause” button.

We are (mostly) healthy and happy. Our spouses/partners are also (mostly) healthy and happy. We are all working full or part-time or reinventing ourselves in semi-retirement. We are (mostly) empty nesters. Our adult kids, in their 20’s and early 30’s are finding their own ways  in the world – mirabile dictum.

We have reached a unique stage of life where – for the first time ever – we are not constantly pressing the “fast forward” button.

Think about this -> In every earlier stage we were always anticipating, waiting for the next phase to begin.

When we are young, we can’t wait to grow up.

When we are in college, we push to graduate.

First job, when’s my next vacation.

Engaged? Plan for the wedding.

Married, think ahead to a family.

Young working mom? Always tired, count the minutes till bedtime.

On the job, march on to the next project, await the end of each workday, hope the weekend comes quickly.

Empty Nest? We made it – and it is our turn. (wasn’t there a movie with that name?).

Finally – We arrive at a stage where we want time to stop – let’s hit the “pause” button!

Which is a wonderful thought, we should savor our current lives, have not a care in the world as to the unforeseeable future…

EXCEPT for that awful TV commercial that keeps replaying in my head. The one that translates to “we interrupt your normally scheduled programming to bring you a slice of unpleasant reality.”

Perhaps you have seen this ad for a financial planning firm? Where the people interviewed are able to recall that both good and bad things happened to them in their past – but somehow anticipate only good things will happen in their future.

Wrong! The announcer intones in a Dreadfully Serious Voice that it is likely as we enter our 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s – yes, bad things WILL happen. And we should prepare for them by saving lots of $$.

Of course, we know this. We aren’t idiots. We read, watch the news, our heads aren’t buried in the sand. And $$ is likely, frankly, to be the least of our problems. You have it or you don’t have it, at least you have some control over it. Unlike good health where we have absolutely no control.

And no control over the “pause button” or the time clock either.

Which is too bad because I would really like to speed up the next six (more?) weeks of this fibulastic (made up word) healing process so I can set aside my skills at hopping. And then after I get back on both feet, to freeze time for awhile.

From my perch on the couch, I watch my husband delighting in grandparenthood as he plays with our visiting two-year-old grandson.

Faster, faster” our grandchild (actual toddler pronunciation = “wasta, wasta”)  tells my husband as he spins him around and around while seated on a desk chair on wheels. The little guy’s idea of an indoor amusement park ride.

The two-year-old wants to go faster, faster; I want to go slower, slower. And there we are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Comments

Filed under 1st Grandchild, 1st Job, Aging, Baby Boomers, College, Empty Nest, Female Friends, Midlife, Parenting, Retirement, Second Careers, Semi-Retired, Women, Women's Health, Working Moms

“Let Them Learn From Failure”: Does it Apply When Parenting Our Adult Kids?

foreground65G

Wait, so you can’t insist that your adult “child” do what he/she doesn’t want to do?

All joking aside, this question has been an ongoing life lesson for me – and also a much discussed topic among my friends who also have adult “kids” (italicized because while they are no longer little children, we are still their perennial parents.)

What can we do if we think our adult “kid” is about to fail?

It is our strongest instinct as parents to rescue our children.  But we shouldn’t always do so, says author and teacher, Jessica Lahey in her recent, thoughtful book “The Gift of Failure”. Parents of growing children do them no favors by scooping them up on the playground of life to save them from every slip and fall. When our children are young, Lahey explains, they learn from failure so we must let them experience it, rather than always rushing in to protect them from its’ consequences.

(a concept I well knew in theory, but then again years ago when my high school son left his biology textbook in his locker at school that evening before a big exam…)

But what happens when our growing children are all grown up?

If our young child falls off of a playground slide, his scraped knee heals. If our teenager doesn’t get accepted into the college of his choice, likely he will do fine at another school.

But if we think our adult son is about to enter a disastrous marriage, our adult daughter is in a relationship harmful to her mental health or our son’s partying ways are spinning out of control, the stakes are much higher, aren’t they?

Lately my friends and I have been sharing our worries about our adult “kids.”

  • My friend L.’s 30-year-old daughter struggles in a tumultuous  relationship with an unkind man. Upset and crying, the daughter calls L. and says that despite how he acts, she really loves him and can’t part ways. Can’t she see, L. wonders, that she is hurting herself by staying with him?

 

  • The 26-year-old son of my friend H. recently began his first post-grad school job at a big financial firm. He’s always been a model kid, dutiful, well-behaved but suddenly (?) has started to go out to bars with friends every night, partying till the wee hours and arriving late at work. He just received a warning notice from his boss. Can’t he see, H. thinks, that he is messing up at a critical time?

 

  • C.’s  29-year-old son brought his girlfriend home to meet C. and her husband.  The girlfriend’s strongly controlling manner upsets C., as does her son’s changed behavior. She thinks her son is about to announce his engagement. Should she tell her son she thinks that marriage to this woman would be a mistake?

Do parents of adult “kids” always know best?

Parents believe that we have clear (yet hardly objective) vision with our kids’ best interests in mind. That our kids are the ones with the big blind spots that prevent them from recognizing bad choices.  Surely, if we point out to our adult “kids” what we know to be true – they will promptly turn to us and gratefully say, thanks, Mom and Dad  – you are so right, I was so wrong. I will do exactly what you say and change my life!

Not happening.

If I ever tried that, my adult kids would dismiss me as intrusive, give me the silent treatment or get angry and the carefully nurtured bonds of Parent/Adult “Kid” communication would greatly fray.

Does the “let them learn from their failures” concept apply even when our adult “kid” is poised to make a major life mistake with possibly painful consequences?

My carefully thought out answer? And honestly, I am not waffling here. But both Yes and No.

Yes:  While they are adults, we are their perennial parents, and with great delicacy and respect, we still can tell our adult kids how we feel.

AND

No, we shouldn’t tell them what to do.

Telling them how we feel  – versus – telling them what to do = a BIG difference.

I’m not writing an advice column here (but hey, wouldn’t that be a great job to have? Kind of like my lawyer job where I gave advice to clients for many years, but their questions were far less fun. Not that my clients weren’t fun. They were. But legal issues, not so much. I digress.)

My friend with the daughter in the struggling relationship could tell her the next time she calls:

“It makes me sad when you tell me Boyfriend says such nasty things to you.”

For the son whose job may be on the line:

“I worry about your health when you talk about going out and drinking every night during the work week.”

The controlling serious Girlfriend?

“Son, it made me very uncomfortable listening to how Girlfriend talks to you during your last visit home.”

Assuming we can limit our remarks to how we feel – a major assumption that – might our parental comments prod our adult kids to think things through and start on different paths?

Or not.

As Jessica Lahey said, failure teaches a lesson. It breeds resiliency. Second chances. Growth.

Marriages don’t always work out. Young adults lose jobs. Mental health can worsen and then improve. Even when the stakes are so high, do we owe our adult “kids”, not just the littler ones, the right to make their own mistakes and learn from them?

It’s complicated.

 

 

9 Comments

Filed under 1st Job, Adult Kids, Baby Boomers, Communications, daughters, Empty Nest, Family, friendship, Letting Go, Parenting, Raising Kids, Relationships, Sons, Women

Find a Career that Makes Your Eyes Light Up: Advice for Recent and Not-So-Recent Graduates

bowl of candy on desk

So, is there anything about law firm life that you miss?” asked my old friend, Tom, a big deal partner at a DC law firm.

We stood chatting late in the evening at a wedding reception a few weeks ago. Guests gathered by the dessert table; I was debating between the little parfait glasses filled with chocolate mousse or the fruit tarts. Or both.

No, not really,” I responded without giving his question much thought, my mind more focused on the tiny red velvet cupcakes as another option.

Tom tried again, “Really? Nothing at all about practicing law that you miss?”

O.K., so we were having a real conversation here, not just a polite inquiry among haven’t-seen-you-for-awhile old friends.

I countered, “Well, I did like advising clients. I always liked telling people what to do.”  I laughed,  “And I liked the paycheck. So did our mortgage company.”

Pause for a moment of silence while I recalled the thrill of my first sizeable law firm paycheck.

I also liked the candy. I miss that.” I told him.

You miss what?” Tom asked, with a puzzled look on his face.

(perhaps they didn’t have as much candy at Tom’s law firm as they did at mine?)

So I explained. “You know, the candy in the bowls that people kept on their desks.”

Every afternoon around 4:00 p.m. I would take a break and do a “power walk” around our law firm’s small office, stopping for brief chats with colleagues and staff and to select my daily rewards for making it through most of the work day. Susan could always be counted on to have a seasonal assortment, candy corn, turkey-shaped chocolates or peeps. Ned specialized in mints. David shared Tootsie roll pops.

The thing is that I don’t really even like candy.

Likely, though, that Tom doesn’t rely on candy as a work-day incentive. He is the kind of lawyer who loves what he does. I did not.

I thought of my conversation with Tom the other day while reading an essay by novelist Jonathan Odell, offering excellent, if unexpected, advice for graduates titled –  “Never Get Good At What You Hate.”

Odell, who left a successful corporate career at midlife to become a writer, reasons that if you do become good at a job that you don’t much like, then you will be asked to do more of it. And the more you do of it, the more you will be asked to do, and the more unhappy you will grow.

I recognized myself in his essay. I, too was very good at a career I didn’t much like. I didn’t hate it – I just didn’t love it. And what made it harder for me was being surrounded by colleagues who really loved being lawyers.

How could I tell?

Their eyes lit up when they talked about a new project, they relished a tough legal debate, they eagerly worked those long hours –  all because they had found that love for the law that bypassed me.

My law firm colleagues, Tom and my Dad, too, (now age 92, still practicing law at a firm he founded) – – they all share that gut level passion for the law that I lacked.

Over my lawyering years it became increasingly obvious that I was getting very good at what I didn’t like to do. It made me feel like an imposter, and while I hoped that no one around me noticed – I am sure that they did.

After 33 years of working hard, becoming a partner, earning the respect of my terrific clients –  it was only through the “luck” of having a defective heart valve go seriously awry 2x, that I was involuntarily de-lawyered.  I suddenly had all the time in the world to consider what I really wanted to do – return to my childhood passion, writing that does not involve any legalese.

Which makes me (if not my mortgage company) very, very, very happy. My eyes now light up (so my husband and friends tell me) when I talk about my latest writing projects.

I offer this cautionary tale for recent and not-so-recent graduates to ponder. And a question: how can you possibly know at age 22 or 25 – or at 58 or 62 what you will really like to do if you haven’t had the chance to do it?

Try this test with a few close friends. Let them sit in front of you. Then tell them about a few different work/life paths you’ve been considering.

Which one will make the work day go so fast that you won’t need candy as a mid-afternoon reward?

Which one will make your eyes light up?

 

 

 

 

7 Comments

Filed under 1st Job, Adult Kids, Baby Boomers, Careers, College, friendship, Law firm life, Lawyers, Midlife, New Grad, Semi-Retired, Women in the Workplace

On Being a Mom Without a Mom on Mother’s Day

Red knitwork, horizontal

“Yes, Mom, what do you want?” I said quietly into the phone. “My boss is sitting right here, I can’t talk now.”

My Mom had been calling me every day at the office for six months. She had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the spring of my 3rd year of law school.

As a newly-minted lawyer at a government agency in downtown DC, my first job, with a boss and my own office (albeit very small and without a window), I was learning to deal with her daily calls.

No, I can’t tell you that,” I told her.

She persisted.

Please, just tell me what your bra size is,” she asked again.

Mom, c’mon, I’m at work, I’m in my office,” I pleaded. “My boss, he’s a man, he is in my office, too.”

She pleaded right back.

I’m at the yarn store in Westport. I’m knitting you a sweater. Just give me the number.”

I gave up.

36B,” I whispered into the phone, as my boss rolled his eyes upward, squelching a laugh.

Exactly one year later my Mom died of cancer. (well, actually she died because of malpractice related to her cancer but that is a tale for another time.) She was 54 years old, I was 28.

I still have the beautiful red, V-neck cotton sweater with the just-below-the-elbow length sleeves she made me, although it no longer fits. It was as stylish then as it is now. She was a woman of both good taste and great kindness.

Some women complain that their elderly moms call them too often.

Every night, can you believe it, she calls me every single night, and then she worries if I am not home by 9 p.m. She tells me to eat my vegetables, have I gotten an eye check up lately, she bugs me about the kids or my job or my husband. When are we going to visit her? Who’s going to drive her to her doctor appointments? Or run to the store to get her a new light bulb or better reading glasses. I’m tired of hearing her complaints about who did or who didn’t sit with her at dinner. Honestly, my mom is driving me crazy. Doesn’t she know what a busy life I have?

I bet she does know you have a life. Hers is shrinking in scope, yours isn’t and she wants to be a part of it.

My Mom called me at the office for over a year when she was ill. Then one day she stopped calling. Three weeks later, on a sunny spring afternoon in May as my Dad and I sat by her bed, holding her hand, in the ICU of a cancer hospital in New York City, hearing the beeps from the machines that had kept her alive ebb away, she died. It was mid-afternoon, on the Tuesday after Mother’s Day. Thoughtful as ever, she chose, I felt, to wait and not ruin the holiday for us.

I would give anything for one more phone call, nagging, annoying, insistent, critical, I’d take it.

And you know what, Mom, I’d say? You have a wonderful adult granddaughter and grandson that you never got to meet. And last year you became a great-grandparent, too.

What else would I tell her? Oh yes, my bra size has changed in the past 34 years. I don’t like the color red as much as I once did. But the sweater remains in my closet and it always will.

Miss you forever, Mom! Happy Mother’s Day.

 

 

17 Comments

Filed under 1st Grandchild, 1st Job, Aging, Aging Parents, Baby Boomers, Family, Female Friends, Holidays, Lawyers, Moms, Women, Working Women

Five Things New Grads Must Know About the Secret Language of 1st Job Bosses

Female lawyer working in office

In late August of 1981, when I started as a new associate at Big Law Firm, I did not realize that the senior lawyers at the firm, the Big Bosses who held my legal career in their hands, the ones who would supervise me and assign me work, spoke, like Big Bosses in businesses everywhere, in their Very Own Secret Language.

If you are soon to begin or just starting a new job as a recent graduate of college or other temple of higher learning, you may not be familiar with this Secret Language either.  And while to the uninitiated it may sound as if your new Big Bosses are actually speaking in English, and in fact may use many common English words, what they say to you does not mean what you might think it does.

What you Really Need if you are to Succeed in your First Job as a New Grad is a Dictionary of Big Boss Language.

The earlier in your career, you can correctly interpret what is being said to you by a Big Boss, the better. Here is a handy Guide to get you started on the path to office life success.

1. Your First Assignment.

After a few day of orientation as a young associate, you receive an email from Mr. Important Partner – “When you have a minute, can you please stop by my office?”

Possible Interpretation:

It is o.k. to finish your coffee, and then walk down the hall to the office of Mr. Important Partner to see what he wants.

Actual Big Boss Translation:

Get up from your chair immediately and walk as fast as you can to the office of Mr. Important Partner. Your idea of “when you have a minute” has changed forever.

2. Description of the Project.

Mr. Important Partner describes the research he needs you to do, saying “This shouldn’t take you long.”

Possible Interpretation:

This is a straightforward assignment that you should be able to complete in a reasonable amount of time.

Actual Big Boss Translation:

I have just assigned you a ridiculously complex research project, similar to the kind I used to whip out in record time when I was a young associate. You better do the same if you want a future here at “Oppressed, Outstanding and Overworked.”  No pressure.

3. How Long Will it Take you to Complete the Project.

The next day, Ms. New Partner calls you in to her office, asks you to look into a question for one of her clients, and tells you “Don’t spend too much time on this.”

Possible Interpretation:

This project is not that important.

Actual Big Boss Translation:

This project is critically important but my key client always questions the amount of hours he gets billed for associate research. So you must prepare an acutely insightful analysis in response to my client’s question in the shortest possible time. Hint: Do not come back and tell me it took you six hours, I can only bill the client two hours for your work. Got it?

4. Why your New Office is Next Door to the Office of a Big Boss.

You have been assigned a Tiny Office which happens to be next door to the Very Large Corner Office of Mr. Very Senior Partner who likes to Talk Very Loudly on his speaker phone to his Very Important Clients. One afternoon you overhear him saying to a Very Important Client – “Jack, the law in this area is evolving. You make a very interesting point; let me get back to you on this.”

Possible Interpretation:

Mr. Very Senior Partner is an expert in his area of legal specialty, recognizes changing legal trends and enjoys challenging analyses.

Actual Big Boss Translation:

I have no f-ing clue what you are talking about, Mr. Very Important Client. I have not done my own legal research in years. But sitting in the Tiny Office right next to mine is a Very Young Lawyer whose name I do not know but who is going to research your absurdly difficult question as soon as possible for me so I can get back to you and take full credit for the answer.

You wait five seconds, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, as you hear Mr. Very Senior Partner rise out of his office chair, leave his office, and then duck his head into yours and say -“uh (can’t recall your name, if he ever knew it), can you step into my office?”

5. Your Completed Project is Rarely Complete.

In your second week at Big Law Firm, with a mix of pride and trepidation, you email your first research memo to Ms. Eager Beaver I-Better-Make-Partner for her review. A few hours later, she emails you back, “I only have a few edits on your Memo. Please come by to discuss.”

Possible Interpretation:

Wow, she liked my Memo. She only made a few changes. I must be getting this Big Law Firm thing right!

Actual Big Boss Translation:

You promptly walk to her office (see lesson learned in #1 above) and she hands you back a mark-up of your draft Memo.

You see that your carefully written memo is covered in blue ink, cross-outs, x’s, deletions and so many other edits so that you can barely make out the only two sentences remaining from your original draft.  She wants it completely re-written. And it is 5 p.m. on Friday afternoon, and oh, by the way, she needs it revised to send out to the client tonight.

So if in the first few weeks of your new job, a partner, director or senior manager, your new Big Boss, stops you in the hall, and asks you to drop by her office so she can tell you about an exciting new project you will be working on, you can refer back to this helpful guide. And with any luck, in a decade or so, you will become a Big Boss yourself. If you have any new entries to add to the Secret Language Dictionary, do let me know.

*and good luck at your new job!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Comments

Filed under 1st Job, Careers, Communications, Law firm life, Lawyers, New Grad