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Otis

Work is too consuming—anyone else have this problem?

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8 hours ago, DA RAIDERS said:

sadly, they would, in fact, carry on without you.  

No doubt.  The company is contractually obligated to complete the projects I'm working.  I know who would catch all the work, though, and the burden thrust upon them would be unfair.  

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I've been thinking about this, Otis, and I really think you need some sort of hobby.  I know tons of other lawyers in bands.  That an option for you? 

I'd go insane if I didn't regularly play softball and golf and thankfully my wife understands that. 

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3 minutes ago, Zow said:

I've been thinking about this, Otis, and I really think you need some sort of hobby.  I know tons of other lawyers in bands.  That an option for you? 

I'd go insane if I didn't regularly play softball and golf and thankfully my wife understands that. 

LOL. I’ve been trying to get Otis to start a band for the better part of a decade now. 

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What with all my free time?!  

I’d love to do something start a band. I even know a bunch of super talented guys I could recruit for it. I just can’t see myself making the regular enough commitment to make it work. Maybe when I don’t have small kids anymore that may change, but at this point, just feels like I’m barely home enough with the kids as it is, can’t see justifying skipping out for band practice.  Well, that and I suck at guitar nowadays and I’m not sure I even have the hunger in me to get good again. 

 

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12 minutes ago, Zow said:

I've been thinking about this, Otis, and I really think you need some sort of hobby.  I know tons of other lawyers in bands.  That an option for you? 

I'd go insane if I didn't regularly play softball and golf and thankfully my wife understands that. 

How the hell do you find time for golf in particular. Jesus that’s like half a weekend day no matter how you slice it. 

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23 minutes ago, Otis said:

How the hell do you find time for golf in particular. Jesus that’s like half a weekend day no matter how you slice it. 

You're right that it's half a weekend day and I make the time.  Generally, I find one day per week that I only work a little bit from home.  And on that day I golf (or play in a softball tournament which usually lasts even longer) and make sure the other half of the day is spent with my family. If we're visiting my wife's family (which we do at least 1x/month) I'm cleared to play with my brother-in-law at his private course which has a faster pace of play.  There are a few prosecutors and/or other opposing counsels that I'll make time to go play with every few months to discuss our pending cases as well. In the summer during the busy weeks I'll get up and be on the first tee box when the sun just comes up and, playing solo, I'll knock out a round before my co-workers are even waking up. 

The weeks I don't get to play a sport (the week-long trial weeks or the rare just too much going on weekends) I have significantly less patience and am noticeably less happy.  I don't know how you do it without some sort of hobby which can distract you completely from life stress. I love my family very much but having two little kids stresses me out, too, and inevitably I succumb to reaching for my laptop to work or my wife will generally discuss work with me because I almost always have some case that is being chronicled in the local paper.  The only time work isn't somewhat on my mind is on the field/course. Hell, I dreamed about work every night last week. So I relish those moments where it escapes me completely. 

Edited by Zow
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16 minutes ago, Otis said:

What with all my free time?!  

 

I'm with you on this. If I could have anything right now it'd just be more time in the day. Be that to work even harder, see my wife and kids more, etc.  

But even with limited free time you gotta find some outlet that isn't work that's just for you. 

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I should say, I realize what I posted above is lame excuses, because biggie and I have the same career and he found a way to be a legit rock and roller. So, it’s obviously not impossible. 

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7 minutes ago, Zow said:

Hell, I dreamed about work every night last week. So I relish those moments where it escapes me completely. 

I do this a fair bit, especially during a trial or the lead up to a trial. The other night I had a completely random one—I have no trial set anytime in the near future, but I dreamt about a cross exam. No idea what the case was or who the people were, but a dude is up there testifying and I’m looking around at my team to see who is prepared to cross him and apparent nobody is so I start mapping out a cross as we go. Actually figured out a few good zingers I thought. I didn’t get to do the cross, but damn if the adrenaline wasn’t pumping for this moment I was totally unprepared for. 

In any event, pretty pathetic imo 

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On 12/22/2018 at 8:31 PM, Otis said:

Anyone else have this problem?  Your sacrifice too many important things for work.  When you “work from home,” you find yourself getting frustrated with the family because even though you stayed home to help out thinking it would be a quiet day, everyone and his mother decides they need to email you requesting something that day, or asking you to jump on emergency calls or whatever. When work slows, you’re almost so PTSD’d out from it all that it’s hard to “disconnect” and get refocused on what really matters in life.  Even when things are slower at work, which is more rare these days, I find myself often off in a corner e-mailing, networking, brainstorming on what more I can do.  I’m halfway through my life, if I’m lucky, and I worry that one day I’ll look back and feel it was all wasted on the completely wrong things.  It’s not like I’m saving the world either, or doing something that should justify the extent of the sacrifice I make.   

The weird thing for me is I was never really a “gunner.”  I had good grades as a young child, but not due to effort. I didn’t study much until post-grad, and even then I was just “ok.”  When I first started in my profession, I wasn’t a super hard worker.  It sort of happened to me, slowly, over time.  I bought in.  And now I’m here.  And I’m probably a workaholic.  

Anyone else feel like this?  How do you manage it?

Early Merry Christmas to all my GBs.   

I have been meaning to respond to this thread/post for a few days as I think the two of us have fairly similar careers with young kids but haven't had time (what a surprise).  Anyway here I go.    

I never worked hard at school and skated by in HS and college doing as little work as possible and managed to get into a decent law school due to good LSAT scores.  I decided to work very hard and dived into law school and excelled and loved the law.  I worked hard as I realized at my law school unless I excelled my job options would be a bit limited.  I then was able to get a job in big law which I figured I would use to pay down student loans and work for a couple of years and move onto a client but never as a long-term career.  I didn't want to be that partner chained to his desk. For the first couple of years I worked hard but was not a gunner at my job but then I sort of moved into someone who was and all of a I sudden I looked up and I was a seventh year associate.  At that point, I said what the hell I have done this for 7 years and I might as well try for it.  I made the run for partnership and got it.  

My job and career are very hard to put aside which sounds like yours.  Be it the constant emails or work networking events that I never seem to let go and have little free time outside work.  I tend to put my kids first (or at least I try to) but not far behind is my job. One of my big problems is that my job can strain my marriage and other relationships (old friends, etc.).  I have been really trying to make an effort the last year to put more focus on things outside of the job but treating them as part of my calendar/schedule.  I know this seems a bit cold but I found that it works for me with my busy schedule.  As a result, I am regularly scheduling a date night with my wife and drinks, dinner or lunch with friends.  I am never going to be able detangle from my job like like others have described in this thread.  I also don't think deep down I really want to.  However, I have found putting time aside time for a specific purpose outside work and then sticking to it has seemed to help. 

One thing I have found in all of this is clients who have a crisis also tend to understand you may have some other commitments on your schedule but if you treat all these items the same (work and the other social things as not breakable) clients understand.  Just don't tell them what your conflict is.  I had been one who would end up just cancelling the social event with friends for the work item but at this point I just don't do it.  I am also willing to work late and odd hours if need be to keep these things on my schedule.  For example if I am meeting a friend for dinner I won't cancel it but will make clear to client that I will get to his question but it might be late.  Anyway, I found this is something that has helped me.  Might not work for you but it does for me.

Another item I would suggest is making your ability to work at home and anywhere else you work remotely as seamless  as possible.  At my house, I have a dedicated home office with my office phone there (I turn it on and it is duplicate of my phone at my desk in the office) and everything else I need to work there laser printer/scanner, desktop, etc.  I also have that full setup at my beach house.  I feel like I can be more productive at home or at the beach and clients never notice the difference as I am always at my office line.  So what if I what if I left for the beach Thursday night as when they dial me up Friday morning it appears I am at my desk.

There is some great advice in this thread (I especially like bigbottom's) but I thought my experiences might be helpful to you.  Lastly, good luck as balancing work/life can be tough.    

Edited by Redwes25
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Good stuff. And great point about prioritizing. I need to be better about saying “sorry; I’m tied up and can’t do a call now, but I can later tonight or in the morning.”  Right now I’m always trying to be Johnny on the spot and will drop anything anytime.  

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1 minute ago, Otis said:

Good stuff. And great point about prioritizing. I need to be better about saying “sorry; I’m tied up and can’t do a call now, but I can later tonight or in the morning.”  Right now I’m always trying to be Johnny on the spot and will drop anything anytime.  

And it becomes an expectation of you which is going in the opposite direction than what you want.

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6 minutes ago, Otis said:

Good stuff. And great point about prioritizing. I need to be better about saying “sorry; I’m tied up and can’t do a call now, but I can later tonight or in the morning.”  Right now I’m always trying to be Johnny on the spot and will drop anything anytime.  

One other thing, buy yourself a sports car. It helps. 

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Seriously, you probably have a huge house, can afford great vacations and school for your kids.  Your wife doesn't have to work.  You probably can hire people to help her with the kids and the house.  I assume you're one of those people that loves working their way up the corporate ladder.   My brother has the same exact life.  He loves it.   

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Im very lucky. I have a job that is basically only 9-5, i never have to work outside normal hours, i never have to check emails on days off, etc. i have flexibilty to work early hours thus giving me the opportunity to pick up my son from school every day at 430 and cook him dinner every night. And as an added bonus, due to this flexibiltiy i have the ability to do something i love and manage my sons little league team. Now im not mentioning this to brag. Im an actuary with an ASA. I make solid money but I can make so much more if I get my FSA. It would require tons of studying. I have chosen i am content with my life now and adding more money to it now will also add more responsibilities. I choose my free time over monetary reasons. You have chosen a profession that requires a lot of hours. Is it possible to practice law under less stress and time dedication knowing full well you will definitely make less money? You might find yourself to be happier though.

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I suggested an Indian movie to Otis a while back.  This time, since he mentioned a Chinese actor, I will recommend this Chinese TV drama on YouTube to help him relax: 琅琊榜

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I changed jobs about a year ago exactly because of this notion that companies feel you are obligated to do whatever they ask because they pay you.  The issue came up because I wouldn't give them my cell phone number "for emergency reasons". No one at a job needs or should need me in a situation that is so pressing that it can not wait until Monday or during business hours.

There was a time in my 20s that I was dead set on climbing the corporate ladder.  As I got older, I realized that all it was doing was raising my blood pressure.  I completely changed industries and now work in one where there really is a limit as to how high I can go. 

I will never run the company (or department for that matter) but I am ok with that.  When interviewing for the new job, I laid out the parameters and they accepted.  I coach travel soccer and that is my passion. The corporate world can kiss my *ss and work around my schedule or I will find a place that will.  The new company was cool with it (my boss happened to coach travel soccer and understands) surprisingly enough.  My BP dropped 15 points in a month.

I could probably job hop a bit or put in 60 hrs a week and make more but to me it is way more worth it to have my weekends free of worry about work.  Work my 40 and leave it there.  Then I can stress about the next soccer game or practice lesson.  Luckily, my wife bought in and i get to coach my daughter all week and spend time with her and make my sons games when i can.  Way worth the extra few bucks.

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Young people in my company work insanely long hours sometimes.  I did a fair amount of that when I was younger.  Now I'm established I will only put in a regular week, 50  hours max.  It's the commute that kills me.

I rarely think about work after I leave and never answer emails.  I will answer the phone.  6 weeks of vacation a year, at least 2 of which I completely unplug.

 

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On ‎12‎/‎26‎/‎2018 at 10:06 AM, kutta said:

I agree for the most part. I’d rather just deal with the stuff than worry about if things are getting done. When my wife and I take vacations, I usually tell her I need 30 minutes each morning to just whip through emails and return any calls that can’t really wait. It keeps me relaxed and allows me not to worry throughout the day.

Likewise. Not in the same business now but I always kept in touch. 5 minutes would keep something simple from turning into an emergency upon your return. 

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