A Complaint Free World!

ABAJournal.comhas a post entitled, “Working with a Whiner” based on an article in the Wall Street Journal.I’m always interested in this type of article because they are helpful to me in preparing my students for internships and working in “the real world.” This one was good for more reasons though than its tips, e.g., “When a co-worker gripes about the boss, respond with this remark: ‘It sounds like you and he have something to talk about.’ Or ask this question: ‘What’s going well for you?'”

First, while I’ve been accused by some of being overly idealistic with my “One File at a Time” post on managing workload, at least my basic concepts and the name “The Empowered Paralegal are firmly based in reality, while the name of the group offering the tips is ” A Complaint Free World.” Now that is idealistic to the point of utopian!

More seriously, however, I was taken by the real prescription for constructive solutions:

One complainer and her boss managed to work out a constructive solution. Joan Curto, a national accounts manager for a pharmaceutical company, used to complain about the heavy travel needed for her job, the story says. Her then-boss, Trevor Blake, asked her what she planned to do about it. “Come to me with a solution,” he said.

Curto told the Wall Street Journal she was irritated at first. Then she developed a plan: She would travel to meet customers with the highest sales potential. A pharmacist could be hired to contact the others. Sales increased and Curto was able to spend more time at home.

Those of you who have read The Empowered Paralegal: Effective, Efficient, and Professional will have noted already that this confirms the basic theorem of that book:

It is a proactive rather than reactive approach. It seeks to understand and manage even those aspects of practice that the paralegal cannot control. This principle involves taking a rational empowered approach.

While the specifics were different in each of the chapters, in each chapter of this book we identified the areas of concern, analyzed each aspect of that concern, set priorities that addressed those concerns, sought a greater understanding of the area of concern, investigated solutions and barriers to those solution, and established procedures for implementing solutions and removing or overcoming barriers to those solutions. We did so in a direct, rational and professional way. We did so in a way that honored our own need to be efficient, effective and empowered, and honored the interrelationships and responsibilities of the first principle.

When a paralegal applies these principles, that paralegal becomes empowered. The empowered paralegal is an essential member of the legal team in any office. In particular, the empowered paralegal not only survives, but thrives in the American law office.

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