Monday, October 10, 2011


I had a shitty day on Friday. Easily the worst in my 37.5 months at the firm. It would be unprofessional to get in to the details- unprofessional and unfair given that the person largely responsible came up to my office and apologized in full for the whole mess today. And when a partner makes an all out apology to you, an apology which actually moves them to tears, you either decide to let go or you leave. And since I don't have any feasible offers at this very moment, I rallied some grace and thanked the person for making the apology- while also rebutting a few of the proffered explanations.

That was a victory. Not in getting an apology, though that was undeniably nice to hear. But in accepting it, without offering more. I've spent the last year working to be stronger in confrontation. I am a people-pleaser, a smoother of troubled waters, someone who physically cringes when someone else is uncomfortable in a movie and skims over awkward conversations in books. When another person is at fault, I go out of my way to play it down and make them feel better only to be infuriated later by my utter lack of support for myself. It galls me to know that even when everything was terrible and wrong during the Chicago nightmare, I still hated anyone being uncomfortable around me. I apologized for the situation- a situation I did not cause- countless times, frequently to the people who actually had a hand in causing it. The only person I call out on anything is JP and it is no coincidence that our relationship is the best, strongest, and most honest one in my life.

So today was a step forward. When someone 4 feet in front of me felt bad, I accepted that without telling them they didn't need to feel that way. I thanked them, genuinely, for coming up to tell me so, but I did not simultaneously brush off how I felt. Without knowing me, I'm not sure you can know what a huge step that was. Friday I was furious. Today I am simply annoyed. More steps.

Because Friday was what it was, I was a bit down this weekend. I started wondering what else I could be doing, what other jobs I might enjoy, where else we could live... those thoughts can be productive in the abstract, but when you're asking because you actually want a near-term change they're just a black hole that leads to a skull-splitting headache. Luckily, my parents came to town to join my sister and her boyfriend in the largest cheering section the 4-year-old soccer team had ever seen for an 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning game. Landon scored a goal and we followed the game with a celebratory brunch.

Landon on the sidelines, holding a Clairebear who wandered into his lap

The rest of the weekend was relaxing. I gained perspective. I organized three closets and all our used baby and toddler clothing. I took a car load of stuff to Goodwill. I slept for 13 hours on Saturday night. I did not work. I bought a gorgeous pair of brown riding boots. I ate a lot of candy corn. I watched an amazing Breaking Bad season finale. I slept more.

Today daycare was closed for an in-service, so JP took one for the team and fielded conference calls from home with two children bouncing around him. I gave him a break and took the kids to lunch at Five Guys (double cheeseburger with bacon and fries for me; hot dog for Landon; fruit, crackers, and the marrow of several dessicated french fries for Claire) and then Landon begged to go to my "work." I finally gave in, warning him that it would be a LONG time and there was to be no complaining. Also, boys wear collared shirts and no crocs are allowed in the office. He complied with both requests:

He was so good. SO good. He colored, he watched a movie, he filled out half of the "pre-K workbook" I bought off Amazon before Easter and forgot to give him. I was able to work steadily for five hours before telling him it was time to go home. He looked so disappointed- "But you said it would be a long time!"

I tried to explain that 5 hours was a long time and daddy was probably very ready for a little help with a Bear who was probably desperately missing her big brother. That worked. Landon put away his tape-paper-marker masterpieces, re-packed his Batman backpack, and we headed out, his boots thumping on the floor with the click of my high heels as we walked together. I felt good. I remember loving to visit my dad's work. I'm glad someone loves to visit mine, even if, occasionally, that person isn't me.


  1. I am like that too, and in fact I'm working on that very same skill of cutting out unnecessary apologies. Good for you (and interesting that you mentioned "rebutting proffered explanations" -- sounds like the apology also included some butt-covering, which you politely rejected).

    That picture of the kids is so sweet, and I love the story about Landon at work. (5 HOURS!)

  2. Love that picture! What a happy boy. The kids love to go to my school and write on the board. So much fun to have the two things you're most proud of in the same place!

    I'm so sorry work was awful. You deserve a string of good days for sure.

    And also, I need your help picking out some boots! I am at a total loss. We should meet on gchat sometime for some zappos fun!

  3. Landon is amazing. My girl (same age) -- I'm not sure she could do that.

    I get frustrated with coworkers, but if I worked as hard as you do and people didn't treat me right or appreciate me, hoo boy, I'd be some upset! I said to my husband recently that part of being successful is being able to carry on AFTER those difficult confrontations. Good job on handling it well!

  4. Ooh... just a warning. I used to be very non-confrontational. I was the one who brushed everything off. Then I got a Master's in Counseling. I had to learn to be okay with confrontation as it became a huge part of my job in working with people "gentle confrontation." I learned to do it in my personal life, as well...

    The warning is that there are times where I feel like I have had some "Towanda!" moments (Fried Green Tomatoes?). It's liberating.

    And... getting rid of baby and toddler clothes? Does that mean there will be no LL v.3 coming ever? :(

  5. Oh my gosh, I'm cracking up at the "collared shirt and no crocs"...
    I know you miss Chicago, but Landon sure makes such a handsome Texan! Boots suit him. ;)

  6. I am so impressed with Landon behaving himself at the office for five hours! Unbelievable!

  7. So cute about Landon at the office (and then what incentivized him to leave it)! He sounds like a great kid.

  8. Stand firm, but don't become the down in the mud slinging kind of litigator. It never benefits either side. We really need the professional "peacemakers" of sorts in our profession these days! It speaks well of you that a partner would apologize to an associate. They must really want to keep you! Practice keeping your cool in the office because it is really needed once you spend a good deal of time in the courtroom. Big hug to you!

  9. I hope things get better at work soon. Good job standing up for yourself - and then not working this weekend. I'm sure you needed it.

    That picture of Landon and Claire is gorgeous! They are so sweet together.

  10. Good for you in standing up for yourself! I have serious problems with confrontation (and also accepting compliments) but it sounds like you handled that really well. I hope whatever it was that sparked the apology was a one-time thing and work-life gets better.

    Also, I'm seriously impressed at Landon. I can't even imagine attempting that with my son!

  11. Good for you for standing your ground. I'm sorry you had to, and I know how much those moments suck, but...good for you.

  12. Agree with Anon on all counts.

    Landon is do handsome! Pumpkinhead loves visiting my work. I reserve it for special occasions 1-2x/year and have never regretted it.