It’s time for VOUDDDZZZZSTTEERRIIIAAAAA!!!!!
Why, you ask? Well, there are three reasons:
- Because I said so
- Because today marks the second last Tuez with Voudz: a moment of silence. JUST KIDDING, I don’t even know what silence means.
- Because today is our tenth episode! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO US! (Oh champagne, how lovely, 19th floor please).
Every time I sit down to write this blog it feels as though it’s been a blink since the last Tuesday…not that I’m complaining because, let’s face it, I enjoy hearing myself ramble. As I perused the sentiments of various law students and associates at the firm, the common thread of conversation seems to be that nobody can believe it is already August (the other common thread is that I’m hungry…but really, I’m always hungry). More importantly, I ask you friends, where has the time gone; oh where has the time gone?
So why all this talk about time? No no I promise there are no other European relatives lurking in the background waiting to be introduced nor am I going to tell you that I’ve been wearing spandex again (for those of you just tuning in, YOU HAVE BEEN MISSING OUT on all the fun and this kind of kooky wackiness doesn’t come around all that often). The real reason we’re talking about time is because you don’t ever realize how slowly time passes until you’re avoiding a particular task that needs to get done. “AVOIDING??!!!” you screech in horror “how can this be?? Supra Girl fears nothing, what could she possible be avoiding??”. Well friends, just as Superman had his kryptonite, Supra Girl has hers…I call it “Perfectionosis” (an acute combination of “perfectionism” and “neurosis” which, when combined, results in extremely fast speech, blurred vision, hunger pains [oh wait, nope that’s idiosyncratic to yours truly] and an inexplicable obsession with reality tv).
Now now friends, do not look so defeated. Why, the greatest superheroes are only so because they are able to overcome the very things that frighten them (how very philosophical of me…see family lineage re Socrates). So, what frightened me? A memo. I know, I know it’s shocking that I even had the courage to face up to this unspeakable creature. Now, you may be wondering how on earth Perfectionosis and memos combine to create a desire to procrastinate by playing “eye spy” alone in my office…if you are wondering this, CONGRATULATIONS, you’re a type B personality and we can no longer be friends. Haha, just kidding again (so many jokes in one post!), please stay, I need someone to hand me a paper bag when the hyperventilation starts.
Back to my point (I have one, I promise): sometimes you’ll be given work that upon first glance seems extremely daunting and sometimes this sense of impossibility creates the desire to run in the opposite direction from the very thing facing you. Perfectionosis works to increase the pressure you already feel and fills your head with “what-ifs” (“what if I write this and I’m completely wrong?”;“what if I write this and I miss a key piece of legislation or case law”; “what-if my head explodes?”) and by the time you’ve sorted through all of these worries, you’ve got no energy left to write the memo! Perfectionosis is, therefore, a time-grabber (THE HORROR).
I’ve learned, however, that the best cure for this avoidance is to turn yourself right back around, stare that memo in the face, and start to do something with it. Here are some tips that have really helped me when facing a task that seems difficult:
- Ask a lawyer if they have any previously written memos or papers on the topic. These may not only alert you to key terms to use in your research, but may actually provide a foundation for your assignment that you can simply update with any relevant legislation or case-law that has been produced since the memo was written
- Don’t be afraid to tell the lawyer you’re working with that you’re unfamiliar with a particular area of law. They may point you to some great resources within the firm or may be able to alert you to starting point that can help your research take off.
- Have confidence in your abilities. One of the biggest lessons this summer has been about effective communication and this type of communication requires confidence in what you know. This confidence, however does not mean that you have to hide what you don’t know. Instead, it requires that where you are unsure, you ask. I’ve developed a habit of using footnotes to alert the lawyer I’m working for to particular areas in the memo that I might be confused about. This is helpful if there isn’t enough time to meet face to face when the assignment is due and clarifies any areas of confusion so that the lawyer better understands the ideas you’re trying to communicate.
- Take all of those what-ifs, look them right in the eye, and say “SO WHAT”. Try it. You’ll realize even if those worst-case scenarios do come true, there is always a solution; always a silver lining…except maybe if you’re head explodes but I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that this is HIGHLY unlikely.
So, what’s the cure for “Perfectionosis”: do the very thing that you’re avoiding. Not only will you realize it’s not as bad as it seemed, but the act of doing will itself calm any anxiety or nerves because you’ll feel much more productive. There you have it folks! I’ll leave you with this:
“Worry is like a rocking chair—it gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere”
Tune in next time for the GRAND FINALE of