Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall during someone else's therapy session? In this podcast, Susanne Gabriele and Andreas Kalogiannides admit to some personal and professional realizations and, despite being warned by their Inner Critics not to, they've decided to share them with you.
Until about a month ago, I had been getting increasingly motivated to put my thoughts down and share them. Lately that motivation has diminished. Does writer’s block stem from an underlying identity crisis? If so, then I think this is writer’s block.
The other week, I was putting on a suit for work; I had a client meeting in the afternoon and I was speaking on a legal panel that evening, and I wanted to look sharp. But on this morning, I observed a new feeling that I hadn’t ever experienced: putting it on just didn’t feel right. This was a suit that I’d worn many times before; as I looked in the mirror to put on my tie, I felt that something was “off”. Like many feelings, it was hard to pin down at first. All I knew was that this was a new feeling and something wasn’t right. The feeling was of contradiction; conflict, even. After sitting with it for a while, I narrowed it down: I no longer needed to wear a suit in order to feel like, well…me.
Are lawyers suffering from an identity crisis? Is it an occupational hazard that our training has made us good at our jobs, but bad at life? In many instances, we are legally and ethically compelled to subvert our personal interests and identities in favour of our professional interests and obligations. As lawyers we are typically pessimistic, risk-averse, adversarial, argumentative, confrontational, overly opinionated, critical, over-achieving, “type-A” and blame-avoidant on our clients’ behalf. Admit nothing. Say nothing. Give nothing. Defend, defend, defend. Attack, parry, thrust. Are our personal identities slightly subverted to these interests or have they been completely eradicated?
How do we affect change in our professional environments when it comes to acknowledging and confronting emotional and mental health issues? At the OBA’s Opening Remarks Summit on this topic, Dr. Molyn Leszcz suggested that we need more than a bandaid solution. I’m inclined to agree with him.
I read an interesting article recently in the Globe and Mail. High profile, professional women were interviewed to provide insight into the ongoing struggle for gender parity. Adrienne Clarkson was one of the interviewees, and her advice to younger women was never to believe in other people’s expectations of you; only believe in your expectations of yourself.
I read an article on Vox.com recently, entitled “7 Reasons you shouldn’t go to law school (unless you really, really want to be a lawyer)” by Amanda Taub. You should most definitely take a read; it’s excellent and completely on-point in describing many of our experiences in making the decision to attend law school and become a lawyer.
Why would someone who grew up with an intense fear of being confronted choose to become a lawyer? The obvious answer is that I had something to prove, but that presupposes that I was conscious of this fear and that I took active steps to engage with it. If I was conscious of the fear, it was only so that I could ‘manage’ it. When it came to that fear, the only thing I actively engaged in was finding something big enough to mask it.