Monday, July 13, 2009

Pay Attention!

Today, at work, I was in a complete and total fog. I was in a daze all day from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. A complete, deer in headlights, stare off into space daze. I could not understand why I was in such a fog, I slept well the night before, I ate breakfast, I drank coffee and diet coke, yet I still could not shake it.

Today was not the day to be in a daze. I was working on legal research for a Supreme Court case, a United States Supreme Court case. I have only been an attorney for 2 1/2 years and I am working on a Supreme Court case. This is huge, this is monumental, this could be one of the most important cases I work on in my career. Yet, for some unknown reason, I spent the majority of my morning starting out my window and reading blogs.

After lunch, I figure I better snap out of it and focus. I had been working on this research project for days and needed to get something, anything, to my boss. So, I bust out an hour of actual productivity and email him my results. This next part may not make sense to you, but my boss emails me back and says he doesn't recognize the reporter listed in one of the cases I had cited. (Sidebar: when a court issues a decision and it is certified for publication, it is included in a volume called a reporter, there are reporters for state and federal court and by region, when you cite a case you list the volume, the name of the reporter, and the page number.) So, I look at the case citation and I don't recognize the reporter either. I pull up the case again and look at it. Right at the beginning of the first page, in all caps is "NOT CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION." OMG, OMG, I actually submitted a non-published case to my boss as my legal authority for a particular issue. Crap, crap, crap. I am a moron. Again, this probably does not make sense to a lot of people, but one of the first things you learn in law school is that if a case isn't published, it has no precedental value and cannot be cited to as legal authority. So here I am working on a Supreme Court case and I make this boneheaded mistake by submitting a basically worthless case to my boss, argh.

Then my boss asks me about another research project I am working on, again for the Supreme Court case. The research project I completely forgot about. Um, crap again. So I say I am still looking (despite the fact that I have not even started looking!). I find the answer quick and send it off, sweet, I rock, finally. Boss emails me, tells me I'm wrong and I am looking at the wrong rule. Ugh, this is getting old. I realized that in my haste I had picked the wrong rule because I could not be bothered to actually read the rule and think about it, because I'm rushing because I forgot about this assignment. I find the right rule of law that I'm looking for and send it off in an email, crisis averted. I still have a job, despite forgetting basic legal principles, rushing through work, and finding the wrong answers.

I start thinking, this research was important, why did I drop the ball so horribly? This day made me think of an article I recently read about self-sabotage. Basically, the article said that when a person is under a lot of pressure or very anxious about something, they subconsciously begin to self-sabotage as a way of dealing with the pressure. They might oversleep and go to work late, lose interest in things that matter, or engage in self-destructive behaviors such as alcohol and drugs. The article said that cases of self-sabotage were on the rise in this economy were people are nervous and anxious about their jobs, supporting their families, keeping their house, etc.

I decided that I was not going to fall victim to self-sabotage. I am going to relax, remind myself that I can handle the pressure, snap out of it, focus, pay attention, and do my job well. I went to the gym in an attempt to prove that I was in control of my life and I had control over my actions. Then I accidentally punched myself in the face during my kick-boxing class. Doh.

1 comment:

  1. OH NO what a terrible day. Tomorrow you will have to go in and kick double butt. And I so cannot take kick-boxing I come out black and blue because of the accidental punching, falling, and general lack of all coordination. I admire you for going.