Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

Happy Talk

Friday, February 11th, 2011

We have happy paralegals and unhappy paralegals, but apparently on the whole the paralegal profession is a happy one, at least according to Forbes which reports that the legal profession (not just lawyers, but the profession including employees of attorneys) is the tenth happiest in the United States:

To evaluate the data, CareerBliss conducted 200,000 independent employee reviews from 70,000 jobs all over the country to collect 1,600,000 data points on nine factors of workplace happiness. These included the employee’s relationship with their boss and co-workers, their work environment, job resources, compensation, growth opportunities, company culture, company reputation, daily tasks and job control over the work that they do on a daily basis.

Each factor was followed by a ranking of how important that element was in the employee’s overall happiness. These numbers were combined to find an average rating of overall employee happiness for each job type.

The fact is, however, that we cannot depend on our profession to make us happy. We are responsible for our happiness within the profession we choose. Try planning for happiness. While you have to have a dream, you need the happy talk to make that dream come true.

It only feels like a war zone

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

I understand the tendency of paralegals to describe their workplaces by comparison to war zones, but usually avoid such comparisons out of respect to those who are serving in real war zones (although sometimes the two coincide). When it comes to stress and happiness, a frequent topic here recently, apparently some lessons from the war zone can be applied to the legal field. This post from references attorneys but much of it is applicable to paralegals also. Here’s an excerpt:

Happiness researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are working with the U.S. Army to teach soldiers how they can bounce back from the stress of deployment in a war zone. Those lessons also can apply to lawyers, says one of the school’s experts, lawyer Dan Bowling.

Writing for the Careerist blog, Bowling lists 10 happiness tips for lawyers, many of them lessons developed for the military training…

A few of Bowling’s tips:

• People are happiest when their jobs play to their strengths. “If you are a happy-go-lucky extrovert, try to avoid spending 10 years doing discovery requests,” he says.

• Keep your perspective. “The universe doesn’t revolve around you and your worries,” Bowling writes. “If you aren’t in the top half of your class, it’s not the end of the world, although it might seem like it when first-year grades come out. If you don’t make partner, life will go on.”

• Be sociable and thankful. Keep in contact with friends and express gratitude to those who matter.

Here’s a link to the original article on the The Careerist blog.

Planning for Happiness: The Happiness Project

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

This weekend I returned to  a post on entitled, “For Happy Life, Do What You Want to Do; Lawyer Explains How.” It caught my attention because during the course of my career I’ve run into a lot of unhappy attorneys. As the post notes about attaining happiness, “It isn’t easy to do so, though, especially when money and prestige pull you in one direction and your own interests take you in another.” As students in my class know, I put a high premium on setting goals, making plans and maintaining key principles, such as those advocated by Gretchen Rubin in her book The Happiness Project and her Happiness Project Blog.

The process of setting goals, making plans, managing time and workload, seem themselves like a lot of work. As noted by Rubin, it can also be scary at times, “It’s painful to acknowledge a dream, because as soon as you acknowledge it, you also acknowledge that you might fail.” After one goal setting and planning exercise in my professionalism course, a student noted that acknowledging her goal for three years down the road and starting to plan for it, felt like a commitment and realizing what she had yet to do to achieve that goal was somewhat overwhelming.

Yet, I think that if you being a professional paralegal is what you want to do, implementing the techniques of professionalism will lead not only to professionalism but happiness. Much happiness comes from achieving goals and you are much more likely to achieve goals if they are clearly identified and there is a plan for reaching the goal. If you want to get to NYC, you are far more likely to get there is you set a date and map out a route than if you just wander aimlessly in the general direction of NYC.

Goal setting and planning when combined with time, calendar and workload management have another benefit. You can plan for, and free up time for, the other “good things” in life, whatever those things are for you – time with your family, time away from your family, blogging or just no pressure knitting. In any case, take a few minutes to check out Rubin’s blog and The Happiness Project Toolbox.

That’s all for me today. I’m heading out to work in the garden and go to an Ole Miss soccer game. Hope to see you there or wherever you want to be doing what you want to do!

Understanding Your Attorney

Friday, September 4th, 2009

Managing your relationship with your attorney requires understanding the attorney. This takes on many aspects including what kind of manager are they, how do they deal with conflict, and what their understanding is of the role you play as a paralegal. It also helps to understand “where they are coming from” with regard to their own position in the firm.

With that in mind, reports “Graduates of elite law schools are less satisfied with their jobs at large law firms than graduates of less selective schools, according two researchers for the American Bar Foundation.” So where attorneys come from educationally can affect their satisfaction and happiness with regard to where they are. This is bound to affect their attitude at the office and how they interact with the other members of the legal team in the long run.

I suspect the same is true of paralegals. In any case, while the members of the legal team should maintain a professional detachment from each other, they should also be mindful of “outside” factors that may be affecting their attitude, performance and relationship with the other members of the legal team. If nothing else this can minimize miscommunication and the feeling that there are unspoken personal issues existing between members of the team.