Survival

In a mentoring session yesterday I heard the story about a young lawyer who left practice because she was working for the LFH, otherwise known as the lawyer from hell. Difficult to please, never satisfied, always quick to criticize and with a big enough practice and voice within the firm to make sure the lawyer was not kept on.

She has left the practice for good.

It reminded me of one football season when I was sixteen. I adored football. I was good at it and practiced all the time. It may shock you to discover I played left tackle. (More about the importance of that position in a future post.)

In practice I played against a defensive player named Paul. He was built like Gibraltar. His arms thick as timber. Every second or third play as we engaged, he would slap me in the helmet on the way by. We practiced three nights a week after school. That meant three headaches a week.

At first I looked forward to the games on Sunday. It was a break from Paul, though I noticed he wasn’t doing it on the field to the opponents. Just to me on weeknights.

It wasn’t long until I began to hate football. Years later I began to understand the number of concussions I suffered that season. Thankfully I still remember my name…. and Paul’s.

If your’e caught in a situation like this, listening to the advice that, “learning to deal with this will make you stronger,” can be a terrible idea. If your self-confidence is beginning to wane, if you can no longer bear the idea of getting up in the morning, if the situation has become intolerable, remember one thing.

The power is in your hands. Dealing with it by reporting the behaviour is your decision. Leaving the relationship is your decision. Tolerating the situation may only increase the level of concussion that your ego is suffering.

If you’ve lived through it or if you have advice, please weigh in.

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Here is your opportunity to pose your questions: about professional life, about your career development, or anything else that comes to mind that will help us all improve. Whether it’s practical, psychological, ethical or related to communicating, this is designed as a safe space to share our issues, and to invite senior people to weigh in. Our goal : to improve professional life, to honestly expose its weaknesses, and work together to improve it.