Tuesday, April 22, 2008

the curse of competence

What I am about to say is going to sound very arrogant. Maybe because it is. Being good at your job is a total curse.

I have been smashing it at work recently. I have nailed discovery from every angle. I have revolutionised colour coded tagging systems and replacement coloured sheets for original files. I have charmed the litigation support unit and developed an awesome new database function in the software to make everyone's jobs way easier. I have even updated the litigation manual and refined the section on discovery so everyone can learn from my mistakes. (yes, it's true I too am finally learning from my mistakes).

Other people started to see that I was doing my job and doing it fairly effectively. Now they all want me to do work for them. Then a senior associate in our team resigned and guess who got all the files?

The only benefit of being so insanely busy is that I am going to have to find someone to help me with all the work.

His name is Ben. Oh sweet payback. Partnership here I come. Would it be a bit too obvious to write off his time and claim it as my own? Maybe if I started with a little bit here and there no-one would notice...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

sleep, stress and date number three

Last night for the first time in ages I had a good night's sleep. At the risk of sounding somewhat Heath-Ledger-esque, sleeping when you are stressed can be incredibly difficult. As you know, I have been in absentia for the last couple of weeks, consumed by litigation strategies, affidavits as to documents and discovery. We are settling back into a bit of a pattern with some more regular hours now and the heart pounding, sweaty palm stress of the last few weeks is starting to fade.

Which leads to the issue of sleep. Obviously, when the stress and anxiety are less, the sleep is more. It's very easy when you're under pressure to get into a cycle of long hours, no exercise and bad office diet. You don't get to blow off steam at the gym because it's shut when you leave work and by the time you get home you're exhausted but can't stop your mind racing… so you have one glass of wine, which becomes two and then maybe three (which means you may as well finish the bottle) just so you can relax and let it all slide away into a light, fevered, broken night's sleep before you're up and do it all again with the aid of too much coffee.
We all know that this level of commitment to work is a little bit unhealthy but when you're in the middle of it feels like you have no choice, like you have to keep soldiering on and that the matter will fall apart if you're not there.

And how the hell do people maintain relationships in this madness? The person I spend most of my life with is Ben, at a conference room table with a pile of documents and bad office food I have learnt to seriously dislike (even the Moroccan lamb with cous cous doesn't cut it any more). Poor Adam has had to book date number three a week in advance in the hope I will be able to escape for dinner at the Panama dining room (excellent date venue) by planning my week properly. And how on earth am I meant to find time to prepare for date number three when I am going to be in the office all day Saturday?

Why don't time management courses properly address these issues?