Friday, October 17, 2014

Going Beyond the Comfort Zone

Yesterday and today were pretty writing-heavy days at the office, which makes me really happy because I've realized I would be totally satisfied with my career if I could just sit and draft documents and write briefs for clients all day, every day. I enjoy being in court and preparing for hearings too, but I really think the writing is what I like more.

I'm excited because I've been asked to assist on a really big case where we're working to handle some very complex financial issues that have come up in one of our divorce cases. I've been asked to write the settlement agreement, complete with a ton of details about how the retirement accounts and pension plans will be split up, how child support and alimony will be handled, how real estate will be divided, etc. Never mind that I have never written one of these before, I want my finished product to look like I have been doing these for years. I'm learning not to say, "I don't really know how to do X" because if I don't know how to do it, well, I need to just learn/ teach myself/ ask someone to show me how to do it. If I've never done something before, that's all the more reason for me to be doing it now because then I have something else under my belt. So for the past two days I've pretty much just sat down and figured it out bit by bit. I've put in the merger clauses and tax indemnification provisions and all the details about dividing pension plans via qualified domestic relations orders. It's turned into a 25-page document and might get longer yet. I'm basically done for now, but I need to have a major conference with one of our tax lawyers on Monday to make sure I wrote in the tax provisions correctly before I pass it onto my boss. I'm hoping he can let me know if I made any serious mistakes before I embarrass myself in front of the partners with it.

I'm getting to the point, though, where I am okay with feeling dumb sometimes. Part of me would rather always know exactly what I'm doing and feel totally on top of things, but there is something to be said for being stretched WAY out of your comfort zone at work and challenged to develop new skills and push yourself to do things you've never done before. I was in a bad mood on Wednesday night because everything all day had just made me feel stupid (no one at the office has ever made me feel that way because they're all very patient, but I was just feeling that way in general after a day of not being able to figure out how to do anything people were asking me to do). And I was feeling very out of my league at this job and wondering if I was in over my head and if I would ever just get it. And I've been feeling very drained lately too, because I really love all the new things that have begun in my life in the past couple months, but adjusting to a new job/ new city/ new apartment/ new friends all at one time is pretty challenging, and I've had to learn and adapt to a huge number of things in a very short time. But then I realized that feeling clueless and overwhelmed sometimes means I'm pushing myself, and being challenged, and dealing with the discomfort that so often accompanies professional and personal growth. It's boring if you always know exactly what you're doing and are totally comfortable with your work. And I know that even if I feel dumb sometimes (some days more than others), I've still developed a lot of new skills just in the past few weeks in this job, and the more I keep working at it, the more natural it will probably feel.

My boss is going on vacation and she left this morning and won't get back till a week from Monday, after bar results come out a week from today. So before she left, she said, "Lauren, next time I see you, you're going to be a lawyer!" I'm thinking, boy I hope you're right! But I feel good/ relaxed/ at peace about the whole thing right now, no matter what happens. And she was like, "Text me as soon as you find out!" I hope I'll be getting to tell her that our firm officially has another attorney . . . very, very soon.

Well y'all, I need to go to bed because tomorrow is service project day at the refugee mission north of the city, and I have to be there at 8am. Enjoy your weekend!

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