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2009-09-16 - 6:21 a.m.

Some interesting things have happened of late.

I have been enjoying work immensely. In particular I feel like over the past few months I have developed a really good relationship with one of the attorneys who had reached out to me and is acting like an unofficial mentor. She is actually acting like my unofficial supervisor as well. I find the relatinship to be really positive and nurturing. What was interesting is that she DOES have these controlling aspects of her personality at times yet for some reason the way those traits in her were brought out the worst in the relationship with the lady she actually IS the official manager of, in our working repoire those things do not emerge, or rather when they do they do not become issues.

I think its because I understand her, and I just have such a different RESPONSE. When she has acted at all condescending and paternal and judgemtal I actually just looked at her an LAUGHED. YES I LAUGHED and she said "What is so funny?" and I said
"You should see your face-and your demeanor. You are lecturing like this was a MORTAL SIN, yet it is really just a legal philosophical disagreement in approach"

It didn't offend her, but she could accept the HUMOR of her very dramatic reaction to all things, and then listen to the substance of what I Said in response to her legal opinion which differed from the language I had used. * Ironically it wasn't even MY opinion but another attorney's drafted language at issue.

So we articulated and talked of the ISSUE and neither took it PERSONALLY. In the past working relationship with the really lovely lady she officially DOES supervise those moments would result in resentment as the other CM would feel like she was being condescending, disrespectful of her as a professional, controlling and walk away feeling personally attacked and judged and terrible. She then had fear of every raising an issue as the dramatic response of the attorney was so damaging to her. So it really was just a bad fit between their two personalitys as FOR SOME REASON my personality DIFFUSES those negative aspects of this attorney. I also don't take those moments PERSONALLY.
I recognize when she has these behaviors they are often FEAR BASED in her wanting US ALL to be competent and perfect in our work! Yes we ARE competent, but not perfect! So I understand that her CORE VALUES are no different than mine - she wants us to do the best job possible, but her presentation sometimes is alienating to others who feel attacked.

The thing is, sometimes she does things that ARE controlling. Like "double speak" of giving two CONTRARY directions. Then my red warning flag kicks in... So the other night when she told me that SHE said I would send out an updated doc, and then I followed up with a call to the sales and pricing manager that I would do so, when I was running late and needed to leave SHE WAS SO GRACIOUS in helping me out and said "I'll finish drafting this language-- you can go home to meet your nanny and I will send it out."

But I didn't TRUST.

But FOR ME it wasn't even due to the interaction with the attorney. I was stressed about being late, overly stressed worried about not having bus service for the girls as of yet this year (last year the county did provide it but this year so far said they will not), and I just was worried about a number of things so my response was a total moment of PANIC and PARANOIA that she was going to sabatoge my work.

It was a full blown PTSD MOMENT. They happen to me sometime. I was under so much stress I had a few of them last week.

I can RECOGNIZE THEM, which HELPS a little- -but when in the throughs of the panic and fear that isn't really ENOUGH to stop the feelings and thoughts that emerge.

So I sent out the document as promised to all who expected it with the comment she was updating language in the one section and would send out that revision later that night or tommorrow morning.

She immediatly sent and e-mail WHY. I was HONEST about why I did that when I talked with her yesterday and she was very empathatic and understanding. I just told her it was a moment and I was honest that it wasn't about HER but my response when under stress as I WAS HACKED when trying to update my resume a couple of years back. My files would be locked and write protected. Features of the software would not be available. It was TOTAL hacking and key stroke programs on my machine, then crashing of it.

I told her I was afraid to ever mention those moments at work as I don't want anyone to think me nuts, so I just work through them but SOMETIMES they do occur.

It felt good to have that conversation and apologize for just ignoring her direction to wait to send it. Everyone HATES when there are docs going back and forth incessantly when we could be a little more patient and send the doc out for reveiw once after ALL updates are incorporated. We get way too much on the TO LIST for that inefficiency.

The best part was when she said "You work for me, not the account manager"
which I only thought about LATER.

Its funny the OFFICIAL shift was never made, so now I am not sure if she really THINKS I am her direct report or not (I am not OFFICIALLY.) That is the hilarious part-- SHe did ASK that I work for her. I was TOLD it was a possibility... I was asked HOW I FELT ABOUT It.... I said "I like working with her" But then the official change never came.
So that is the hilarious part about this, that I think she BELIEVES I am her direct report yet on paper, and in reality I am not! But I am happy to ACT like that with her and benefit from both her mentoring and her constructive criticism, yet when she has suggested I do things that are just silly or a waste of time I then get to ask my REAL boss "Is this important to put on my plate?" And if the answer is NO I don't do it.

She is also one of those people that when you do have a direct report she delegates all the small annoying tasks to you. That bugged the CRAP out of the other CM, but I just get it done immediately and find that takes less time and energy than getting upset and feeling like I am doing someone else's work. I couldn't care less if she picks up a deal and hands if off to me to tie up all the lose ends. I figure THAT IS THE JOB OF A CM and THAT IS TEAMWORK.

I figure She is the attorney who needs to have her time freed for the nitty gritty negotiations.

So it just doesn't bother me.

NOw the OTHER interesting thing that happened at work was VERY REVEALING TO ME.

We were given a "HOMEWORK" assignment in preparation for an interactive training session. Interestingly it was VERY similar to a project I designed and facilitated when in law school. Analyzing a contract, dividing participants in groups and then having an interactive discussion. I LOVED that project in advanced contracts and got an Honors in the class.

YEt when this came through on my to do list, I was ANXIOUS and DAUNTED by the project. It is a hundred some pages . Here I can DRAFT those hundred page contracts without anxiety... but as this was so much an ACADEMIC exercise not an ACTUAL contract it so FELT LIKE SCHOOL.


EXCEPT I didn't procrastinate. I DID make a point of not putting off the task. I did put time into it to try to attend to it well ahead of time. But the RESPONSE was EXACTLY THE SAME as whenever I had an important paper. It was like my BRAIN SHUT OFF from worry and fear of being able to do the task thinking it was daunting and hard. I STILL Forced myself to attempt it and YES I DOZED whenever I did so! **Same response. I would get up and fight that, then go back and it was like I would GLAZE OVER and not be able to process a thing at all. Like my brain just SHUT off with the stress of it.

So the interesting thing is this was assigned by a Director of another group who invited our group to participate. Now logistically he should have KNOWN better than schedule a training the LAST day of the month. ** WHAT WAS HE THINKING! We are up to our necks in tying up deals Busy as heck with those last moment drafting and redlining. Hot time of major neurotic panic energy of the TYPE A Sales dudes who think everything is a fire and emergency (** AKA THEY WANT THEIR COMMISSION THIS MONTH NOT NEXT!) so we get their crazy anxiety driven pressure to deflect. We get anxious Customer negotiations at this time too.. as some of them are also of that unhealthy ilk that they seek out drama (*The control freak type like the one on a particular account who ALWAYS enteres into an intense negotiation THE NIGHT BEFORE A MAJOR HOLIDAY... That's that control freaks particular, predictable pattern. Three day weekend coming up? Who is going to reach out to the Account team to reach THAT BIG fortune 500 psycho attorney a few days before to see if we can resolve his issues brewing BEFORE then as we KNOW They are coming. And its always "CLOSE THIS DEAL NOW OR WE WILL LOSE THE BUSINESS AND THEY WILL GO TO THE COMPETITOR... RIGHT! As if there are really competitors lining up to be dangling on a puppet string from this nut's hands. They can HAVE him as a client as I think the poor account manager might end up having a nervous breakdown and her medical expenses might cost our company MORE than the gain of this contract! Sometimes you need to KNOW when cutting your losses is a gain! What's hilarious is how piddly the value of that account is.)

But back to my point- I responded to that academic exercise EXACTLY as I did to writing papers. I did much of the preliminary work AHEAD OF TIME, combatted procrastination, was organized and knew JUST DO IT... yet when it came down to WRITING and analysing to craft my input-- TOTAL BRAIN SHUT DOWN AND MENTAL WRITERS BLOCK.
What was the WEIRD thing is then I went to my BOSS at 6pm Mon, when this was due to the Director , and asked her what she thought about the priority of this and its deadline of that due date. I had asked the others in my CM group if they had done it- reminded them of it a few days before (they hadn't realized the e-mail invite with the attachment had a homework assignment in the text below!) My boss likewise had accepted the meeting without reading the e-mail fully . She said "I will tell you what I am doing, I am not even looking at the doc Thu night before our Fri meeting."


and then , I promptly sat down with that anxiety and weight lifted off my shoulders, and in RECORD time- once again SCANNED the doc I had been trying to read so carefully and in somethink like 30 minutes was able to suddnely have my brain working at peak ability and I decided "I'll just send SOMETHING and get a few comments, although not the whole TOP TEN ISSUES list he asked for." YET at the end of the thirty minutes in which I HAD A HELL OF ALOT OF FUN WITH THE PROJECT, I had rifled off what I think was not only a decent top ten list, but executed with humor and some quality legal analysis.


The task that seemed overwealming and daunting post deadline suddenly became EASY AND FUN once I MISSED THE DUE DATE and was given permission to NOT DO IT.

CRAZY! I would hand in cranking good A papers and take the grade dock to get a B all through college.

* Consistent B student overall!

I even TRIED that philosophy "Don't be a perfectionist-- just get it done and hand the B work in ON TIME and not wait for the moment of inspiration and prefection and the feeling it is worthy to submit. I could never hand in ANY PAPER until I had SOME ORIGNIAL THOUGHT TO SHARE. If it wasn't ORIGINAL WHAT WAS THE POINT?

I had to have some creative ADDED VALUE to the body of work on a subject.

Just getting it done with mediocrity wasn't good enough for me. It had to be stellar.

I worked SO HARD to get over that FEAR OF FAILURE as well as FEAR OF SUCCESS.

So it was just SO weird that the academic exercise brough this out in me.
What is interesting is that I NEVER before have struggled with that anxiety in relation to Work ! *THANK GOD!!!

Its like the insecurity is SOLELY when in an academic setting *which came out in the academic exercise at this juncture.

I told my CO WORKER "DAMN if I could only actually complete the BAR EXAM essays THE DAY AFTER THEY WERE DO and take a dock in points I WOULD PASS!"

I realized I have had that test anxiety and mental SHUT DOWN when I take that test. The questions which I could easily navigate THE DAY AFTER instill the same response when in the test to an extent. * But then I just fall asleep! I have fallen asleep during EVERY standardize test EVER TAKEN. The BAR is the only one I didn't STILL Do well on despite dropping off for at least 25% of the testing time. Narcolepy which is so clearly there when I look at that criteria may not be the only thing going on with daytime sleepiness.

I will do some further reading to see if there is something I can do to address this so I can once and for all tackle that exam while under anxiety of the test situation.

The good news is that at about 6:45 pm I sent off my TOP TEN issues list in response to the contract we will be analyzing. The Director thanked me, and then sent an e-mail to our working groups asking everyone to PLEASE send their responses as he only got a couple and was REALLY disappointed as he REALLY expected them to be handed in to him. MY whole group was essentially rolling their eyes and blowing it off when I asked if they were doing it as we have REAL contracts to draft up to our ears.

I am sure there was some push back * Maybe from my Boss asking if he lost his marbles! HE is SUCH A NICE GUY that I wanted to follow through for him PERSONALLY as I respect and apprechiate him as he was the one who rubberstamped my hire! * HE was my final interview!

SO in the end we got an e-mail CANCELLING The training for Friday. It will likely be re-sceduled for a more logical time-- the the FIRST week of the month when the work load is MUCH SLOWER than the end of month rush.

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