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Lawyers of San Diego is a specialty bar association committed to advancing the status of women in the law and society. We use this space to share articles written about Lawyers Club events and programs and items of interest to our members which are relevant to our mission. The opinions outlined in content published on the Lawyers Club of San Diego blog are those of the authors and not of Lawyers Club. All members are encouraged to participate respectfully in discussions regarding the topics posted on the blog. Guest writers are welcome.

 

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Reclaim Your Voice: "Equal Pay For Equal Play"

Posted By Daphne Delvaux, Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Equal Pay For Equal Play

Growing up in Europe, I’m expected to love soccer. It’s part of our culture, on par with bread and cheese, a unifying factor in a divided continent. Sadly, I never cared too much about soccer, or any sport that involves fighting over a ball. Just buy your own ball.  Problem solved.  

 

But then I learned the U.S. National Women’s Team (“USNWT”) is playing offense for equal pay. Ladies, you have my attention! Earlier this year, five members of the USNWT filed an equal pay action against the U.S. Soccer Federation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The complaint alleges that the women earned $2 million for winning the 2015 World Cup, while the men earned $9 million after being eliminated from that same tournament in 2014. The complaint further alleges that both national teams are required to play 20 exhibition games a year; however, a male player who loses all games would make $100,000, while a female player would make $99,000 for winning all “friendlies.” Their concerns are broader than equal pay—other discrepancies include the quality of the stadiums (men always play on grass), and flights to games (women fly coach, men fly business class).

 

We do not know yet how this conflict will end. But to me, they already reached their goal because it’s important for successful women to keep fighting for more. Some say these women may have the most desired jobs in the world. Every day they live their passion. The women have achieved fame and notoriety. Young girls all over the world idolize them. Arguably, they do not desperately “need” more money.

 

“We continue to be told we should be grateful just to have the opportunity to play professional soccer,” two-time Olympic gold medalist Hope Solo said on NBC’s Today show. 

 

This is a reoccurring theme when women fight for equal pay: They are perceived as being “difficult.” I’ve encountered this not only from others, but from myself, “I shouldn’t be difficult . . . because at least I am no longer scavenging vending machines for forgotten change,” and, “I shouldn’t be difficult . . . because maybe I will be perceived as ungrateful.” We need to get over it.

 

The simple truth is that the men’s soccer team is getting more money and better working conditions. The inherently unfair message in pay discrepancy is simple: “Women are inferior to men.” 

 

This is evidenced by U.S. Soccer Federation’s release in response to the complaint: “While we have not seen this complaint and can’t comment on the specifics of it, we are disappointed about this action.” They clearly dropped the ball here. Even though U.S. Soccer did not even bother to read the allegations and has no idea what the basis of the complaint is, they have already concluded that they are disappointed in these women. It’s like giving a red card without observing any foul play. 

 

The EEOC will now conduct an investigation into the claims. As an employment lawyer, I expect the team to pursue their case in U.S. District Court if the EEOC cannot resolve it.

 

When women speak up at the highest levels of professional sports, it creates a ripple effect. We have the ball, let's kick it and win.

Editor's note: The U.S. Women's Soccer Team starts competing in the Rio Olympics this afternoon. As we cheer them on, let's also recommit ourselves to advancing the status of women in the law and society.

This blog was authored by Daphne Delvaux


Tags:  employment law  equal pay  reclaim your voice  soccer 

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Off the Beaten Partner Track: "Building Confidence Through Posture"

Posted By Jillian Fairchild, Monday, August 1, 2016
Building Confidence Through Posture

Taking control of your body language is not just about posing in a powerful way. It’s about the fact that we pose in a powerless way much more often than we think – and we need to change that.

 

               -Amy Cuddy

 

We can all use a power boost from time to time and attorneys are no different. We all know that when we feel more confident, it shows. We have a spring in our step. We stand up a little taller and laugh a little louder. But what if we can create this feeling just by improving our posture?

 

There is research that shows that expansive posture can affect not only how others perceive us, but also how we feel about ourselves. If you haven’t watched the TED Talk by Harvard researcher Amy Cuddy on youtube.com, it is definitely worth checking out

 

I also recently finished Ms. Cuddy’s book “Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges” which expands on this same topic. This book explains how your posture can be used to increase personal power. Nonverbal expressions of power are so hardwired that we instinctively throw our arms up in an open V when we win a race. This is true regardless of cultural background, gender, or whether we have seen anyone else do this. Because we naturally expand our bodies when we feel powerful, do we also naturally feel powerful when we expand our bodies? The answer is yes!

 

Standing in a “Wonder Woman” position or power posing for two minutes can alter our brain chemistry. The altered chemistry causes a hormonal shift that decreases anxiety and improves the ability to deal with stress. This affects the way you do your job and how you interact with other people. This can be especially helpful when you have a big event coming up, such as a job interview or an important deposition/court hearing.

 

The way we bend over to look at our smart phones and our small devices is also affecting our posture and, in turn, our personal power. This is obvious when we think about it, i.e., hunching down to look at a smart phone screen creates an inward stance as opposed to a more powerful expansive stance. This can be overcome by taking a few minutes to set up your work station to elevate your chair just enough so that you won’t be looking downward for extended periods of time. It is also helpful to avoid hunching over small screens for too long. It is important to put the devices away and expand our bodies as often as possible.

 

 

I have been using the power pose and have been trying to improve my own posture. I recently started working at a new firm. The strategy came at a pivotal time in my own life since day to day confidence can be a struggle in a new position. I have found that using a power pose for two minutes in the morning can lessen my anxiety and improve my overall outlook during the day. I am also more cognizant of my posture throughout the day. My brain feels less clouded and I am able to interact with people more effectively. I am now encouraging others to take time out of their day to check their posture and use it to their advantage. I would love to hear from anyone who has tried this to hear how it is going! 

 
This blog post was authored by Jillian Fairchild 

Tags:  Amy Cuddy  confidence  LCB  off the beaten partner track  posture  power pose  Wonder Woman pose 

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Chasing the Last Wave

Posted By Molly Tami, Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The concept of “choice” runs deep throughout the three waves of feminism. During the first wave (late 19th to early 20th centuries), women fought for the legal right to make social, political and economic choices that critically affected their lives. Hard to believe that women in this country could not even vote until 1920!   Second wave feminism (1960’s continuing in the 1990’s) saw women exercising choice to work outside the home and in fields traditionally the province of men. The fight for a woman’s “right to choose” and control her reproductive rights and health also dominated during the second wave. (Women continue to battle today to preserve those hard-earned choices.)     

 

During the period of third wave feminism, (early 90’s to present), the rhetoric of “choice” arose in another context as women (predominantly professional women) struggled to deal with the “work/family conflict.” Women discovered it was not easy to have it all. The resulting “mommy wars” pitted women against each other, as conflict arose between women who chose to be homemakers versus those who chose to pursue careers. You may remember the controversy around Hillary’s statement that “I suppose I could have stayed home, baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided was to fulfill my profession.” This conflict continues to threaten feminist coalitions. (And it glosses over the fact that most women, because of financial realities, lack the choice between working and staying home to raise a family--a larger topic for another day.)        

 

Many have tried to unpack the notion of “choice” when it comes to women making decisions that affect their advancement in the legal profession.  We’ve all heard stories about women “choosing” to leave their firm or stepping off the fast track because of the pull of home/kids or because they feel too stressed out to do it all.   Professor Joan Williams and her colleagues at the Center for WorkLife Law at UC Hastings recently published an extensive report entitled ’Opt Out’ or Pushed Out? How the Press Covers Work/Family Conflict.”  In that report, the authors analyze the “opt out” story and tell “the untold story of why women leave the workforce.” While the stories in the press pinpoint the pull of family life as the main reason women choose to quit or opt-out, Williams cites a recent study showing that 86% of women cite workplace “pushes” such as inflexible jobs. The report’s overriding conclusion?  Women quit because they encounter “maternal wall bias”- gender bias triggered by motherhood.  Such women are not freely opting out- they are being pushed out by family responsibilities discrimination.

 

Williams’ report highlights that the press invariably focuses on women after they leave the workforce and before they are divorced (in a country with a 50% divorce rate). I recently talked with a lawyer facing divorce after decades of marriage to a successful high-earning professional. She had always remained involved in her profession, but had foregone major career opportunities to support her husband in his career and serve as the primary caregiver for their children. Although she had a job at the time of the divorce proceedings, she asked for partial income equalization (i.e., spousal support) to retain her financial security. Her husband conceded that she supported him in his career and cared for their kids, but he claimed that she made the “choice” not to pursue more lucrative opportunities during their marriage. So in other words, it’s her own fault that she will be less financially secure than he after the divorce because of her “choices.”  I shared in her outrage at that assertion.     

 

So what’s the takeaway here? I say we quit talking about women making the “choice” to get off track or opt-out completely. We need to reject using the “choice” rhetoric to explain or validate (to ourselves and others) the hard decisions we make for the benefit of our families but to the detriment of our careers and economic security. When it comes to having “free choice” around career advancement, we are definitely still “chasing the last wave.” Let’s resolve to catch it rather than drown in it.      

This blog post was authored by Molly Tami



Tags:  career  choice  discrimination  feminism  feminist  gender  last wave  LCB  legal profession  opt-out 

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Perfection in the Imperfection: "Self-Compassion"

Posted By Siobhan Strott, Monday, July 25, 2016
Self-Compassion

I have been feeling it lately. The continuous inner dialogue that, usually a low hum, has reached a deafening scream. You know the feeling. Constantly deciding what gets your attention when a million things are vying for it. Some days/weeks/months, I feel like I’ve got this working mom gig handled. Other times, when every aspect of my life seems to demand my immediate attention, I feel like I’m dropping all of the balls at once.

Before becoming a mother, I poured my energy into my education and later my career. My source of pride was in getting good grades in school and positive reviews at work. Now having a husband and two young children who also deserve the best of me, it’s been a bit of a juggling act to maintain all the areas of my life with that same, limited amount of energy. 

I know you have heard it before: balance. But what does it mean? What do you do when you are preparing for trial, your husband is traveling, and you have a sick child?  It means you do your best with the resources you have. Sometimes work may get neglected and sometimes your family may feel neglected because the truth of it is, you can’t be everything to everyone at the same time.

I have been beating myself up lately. I haven’t made any big mistakes, I just feel like my overall performance has been lacking. I’m either at the office late or taking work home while my kids watch a little too much Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, or I’m leaving early to run to this pediatrician appointment or that school show while I have emails piling up and phone calls not returned.

I recently saw an article in The Atlantic titled, Why Self-Compassion Works Better Than Self-Esteemby Olga Khazan. The author of the article interviews Kristin Neff, a psychology professor at the University of Texas and author of the book, Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind. In the interview, Ms. Neff discusses the pitfalls of focusing on self-esteem, most notably, that to build our own self-esteem, it comes at the cost of putting others down. Instead, she advises, “treating yourself with the same kind of kindness, care, compassion, as you would treat those you care about – your good friends, your loved ones.”

Since reading the article, I have been keeping the notion of self-compassion at the forefront of my inner dialogue. Now that doesn’t mean I give myself a pass for poor work. To me, it means I acknowledge the current situation for exactly what it is and sincerely examine my role, without judgment. 


The thing about life is, it’s messy and imperfect and we are all imperfect humans (as much as we try to deny it). Imperfection has been a difficult lesson for me to internalize and self-compassion is a fairly new concept for me. Going forward, I plan to dig deeper into my definition of self-compassion and I urge you to do the same.  After all, we are all imperfect humans trying to get through this life as best we can. Maybe self-compassion can turn into compassion for each other.

This blog was authored by Siobhan Strott


Tags:  balance  inner strength  insecurity  LCB  perfection in the imperfection  self compassion  self esteem  working mom 

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Guest Blog: "Consider the numbers, but let the stories move you"

Posted By Angelica Sciencio, Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, July 19, 2016
I have always strolled peacefully at the intersection of white and black, foreign and homegrown, poor and prosperous. I have heard about many injustices but experienced few.  So like you, I usually scroll through my news feed glancing over lives lost, vocalized racism, masked xenophobia and just plain bigotry. I usually feel sad but somewhat detached from that reality, so I shrug and move on to the puppy videos. But not today.

Today, I cried. I saw the video of Philando Castile bleeding in front of his girlfriend, a child, a cop, and a camera phone. I read about the protests, police officers getting shot and I felt extreme sadness. But what took me over the edge to tears were the excusatory comments from my “friended”, the news headlines, the opportunistic political advances and above all, my own inaction.

I thought about posting #blacklivesmatter on my feed, but I wondered if people would think I was playing victim. You see, I am a foreign-born-woman-of-mixed-race.  My black father was a policeman, who was murdered by a white guy.

Despite that drama, I have always lived in this perpetual middle of the road that has shielded me from extremes. I am black enough to have been made fun of for my hair and to prevent closet-racist friends from using slurs in my presence, but not too black to be stopped and frisked for no reason, to be thrown in jail for minor violations or to be shot in my car. I am foreign enough to have worked long hours at various undesirable jobs for minimum wage and will probably forever mess up my prepositions, but I am not too foreign to make people anxious when I board a plane or to be called a terrorist because of the way I dress or the language I speak. I am poor enough to get my yoga classes on Groupon and to buy dog food on sale, but not too poor to be chastised for using government assistance to feed myself and my family.  I am womanly enough to have been called “doll” and “love” by former male bosses, to have been told to smile more times then I can count, but not a woman who was prevented from getting an education and trying to succeed in a male-dominated profession. And thank heavens I am straight for that I have always been allowed to love and marry (and subsequently divorce) whoever I damned pleased. Don’t get me wrong: it hasn’t been easy, but it has been possible.

My point is: I am part of pretty much every minority group out there, and I don’t even understand what they go through. But I try. When (sometimes unwillingly) I enter into discrimination discussions with more privileged, sheltered friends, I feel the need to formulate arguments based on statistics, logical reasoning and contradictions by the other side. But maybe we shouldn’t have to bring up the numbers to convince. Perhaps, we should just listen and give the other side the benefit of the doubt. 

If you have been blessed with opportunities to succeed, and are tempted to believe that everyone in the world has had the same, do yourself a favor lest you sound like a fool: consider the historical oppression of certain people, the widespread institutional discrimination of certain groups and most importantly, listen to the stories. Then, concoct and implement your own moral affirmative action: give those who have traditionally had less (money, opportunities, freedom, respect, rights) just a little extra love and support.  If we shoot for equity, not equality, we might not need hashtags to shine a light on systemic racism and other inequities. For now, however, #blacklivesmatter, #equalpay, #reproductiverights, #stopbullying, #loveislove. 


This post was authored by Angelica Sciencio, an Immigration Attorney at Law Office of Angelica Sciencio and co-chair of the Diverse Women’s Committee. 

 

Tags:  advocacy  discrimination  diverse women's committee  diversity  guest blogger  LCB  race  social media 

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Trial by Fire: "What's the issue, hun?"

Posted By Mallory Holt, Monday, July 18, 2016
Updated: Monday, July 18, 2016

 

"What's the issue, hun?"

It goes without saying that first year associates often find themselves in situations they are unsure how to handle. Some are expected, like the hesitation that comes with meeting and conferring at your first deposition. Others are not, such as finding yourself off balance because you lack the proper response—or any response at all—to an older (and presumably wiser) attorney’s disrespectful commentary. When I have encountered these scenarios, the disparity in years of practice between us complicates the situation and my ability to address the conduct.

 

During a recent phone call to opposing counsel I was repeatedly and exclusively addressed as “hun.” Having never been an “I am woman, hear me roar” type of gal, I was taken aback both by the fact that someone was addressing me in such a disrespectful manner and that it offended me as much as it did. Needless to say, I could not think of the appropriate response during that phone call.

 

To help develop an approach for addressing similar situations in the future, I reached out to strong female attorneys who have mentored me in the past. I sought their advice on whether these issues are worth addressing and, if so, how to go about it. Their guidance yielded the following considerations:

 

  • These scenarios should be addressed professionally, remembering that our legal community is very small. Do not make a scene, reprimand them in public, or become overly confrontational. Politely tell them they can address you by your last name, and similarly, never address opposing counsel by their first name unless invited to do so.
  • Keep your client’s best interest in mind at all times. Will correcting the situation put you at ease so that you can more effectively represent your client? Or, will confronting the issue distract you from the task at hand? Choose the course of conduct that will serve to advance your efforts in the case.
  • Recognize that the comment may be an attempt to bully, rather than a truly sexist remark. In an effort to assert dominance or to control a situation, disrespectful remarks may be made based on sex, age, experience, or appearance. If opposing counsel is trying to get under your skin and throw you off your game, confronting the issue may validate their efforts and encourage continued remarks.
  • There is no categorical “strong” response. Commitment to effective representation is the “strong” response. This may come in the form of addressing the remark or allowing it to roll off your back, unacknowledged. 

 

While the “appropriate” response will be a personal, case-by-case determination, I feel prepared to more confidently confront these circumstances with these tips to guide my way.


This blog post was authored by Mallory Holt

Tags:  associate  disrespect  feminism  feminist  lawyer  LCB  professionalism  trial by fire  young attorney 

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Off the Beaten Partner Track

Posted By Jillian Fairchild, Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, July 13, 2016

It’s no secret that there are significantly fewer female partners in law firms than their male counterparts. According to the American Bar Association, women make up approximately 50% of law school enrollment and more than half of the J.D.s that are eventually awarded. When women start out as associates they make up about 44.7% of the attorneys in private practice. However, women only make up 21.5% of the partners and 18% of the equity partners in law firms.

 

Staying on the partner track becomes infinitely more difficult when there aren’t very many role models to look to as examples. This is especially true when you plan on having children. At my last two law firms, there were two women partners and only one of them had children. I have worked at law firms where no one in a management position had children at all. When there are so few women in leadership roles at law firms, it is difficult to picture yourself successfully rising to that level. When I started at my current firm, I made sure that there were several women at the firm in general and women in partnership roles.

 

I have also encountered circumstances where some women associates take a backseat after having children. When I asked why this was the case, I was told that I could have this too if I wanted to make less money and go on the “mommy track”. Just referring to this choice as the “mommy track” was offensive to me. These women associates are frequently putting in the same time and effort. This is especially true when their cases have out-of-town appearances and pending trial dates.

 

Women should not have to decide between the “mommy track” and the partnership track. Men also have children, but no one ever asks them if they want to go on the “daddy track”. It is expected that if men have children that they will continue along the partner track after the baby is born. Some measure of flexibility in work hours would also be helpful. We are lucky enough to work in a profession in which work can be done after hours and from home. Women (and all) attorneys should be able to take advantage of this.

 

This would be very clear if there were more women in positions of authority at law firms. The confidence of women in their ability to reach that level would grow. Women attorneys would have someone to look toward as an example. Overall, and perhaps most importantly, there would be more confidence in the legal community that women can succeed and thrive in leadership positions

This blog post was authored by Jillian Fairchild

Tags:  LCB  motherhood  off the beaten partner track  partner track  partners  partnership  partnership diversity  women dropping out 

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Student's Corner: "Networking 101: Teamwork"

Posted By Courtney Strange, Monday, July 11, 2016
Updated: Monday, July 11, 2016

Networking 101: Teamwork

Unfamiliar. Uncomfortable. Unnerving. Three words law students often use to describe “networking.” Overcoming those hurdles requires time, a rather limited resource. Luckily, Lawyers Club is intentionally structured to guide attorneys and law students over and around hurdles such as these, that inhibit the advancement of women in law and society. Personally, I have learned that taking full advantage of being a Lawyers Club member requires teamwork. In fact, it has been clear to me from day one that each attorney or judge I interact with remembers being in my shoes. That familiarity seems to lead Lawyers Club members to do what they can to help students like me achieve my individual goals.

 

I wasn’t even a law student when I found myself standing alone in the corner of the lobby outside the ballroom at the U.S. Grant, awaiting the start of the Equal Pay Day luncheon. There, I met a recent law grad holding her brand new baby girl. We bonded over our mutual awkward feelings—I wasn’t even completely sure I was allowed to be at this event. But, we both had enough courage to show up, Lawyers Club welcomed us with open arms, and we fell right into place at our respective stages in the journey to becoming the lawyer we each want to be.

 

This woman, (and each woman and man I met in this organization since that first luncheon), has become part of my “team,” whether they realize it or not. I am constantly blown away with the amazing opportunities I have been offered, and how close I am to realizing a decade-long dream. I look forward to the day when I can celebrate with my “team” and share stories about how each individual played a key role in my success. I also very much enjoy sharing my experience with my fellow classmates. For example, I recently introduced a new friend and classmate to “members of my team” at the Red, White, and Brew. He is a charming individual who came up to me before class and said, “I need to network. I hear you’re the person to talk to.” He mingled with attendees as easily as I knew he would, but being at his first networking event, he was incredibly grateful to have me and another friend as a networking team as we moved about the room. Hurdles leaped, together.

 

So, thanks, team! Law students: Go find your “team.” All: Got a story about your “team?”


This blog post was authored by Courtney Strange


Tags:  law student  LCB  networking  student's corner  team 

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Chasing the Last Wave

Posted By Molly Tami, Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Gloria Steinem contends that gender is probably the most restricting force in American life. Many believe that it is certainly the most restricting force in the legal profession. To be sure, we’ve come a long way since former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor graduated third in her class at Stanford in 1953, but the only job she was offered was legal secretary.  And since Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Notorious RBG!) received not one offer from a law firm despite tying for first in her graduating class from Columbia Law in 1959. (She instead accepted a clerkship with a federal judge.) Those were definitely not the good old days for women in the law. As a result of the feminist movement, we’ve come a long way, but we all agree that we are not there yet. We need the “last wave” of feminism to get us there. 

 

A very short history lesson on the feminist movement in the U.S. sets the stage. Feminism, in its different waves, arose to achieve political, social, and economic equality for women.  First wave feminism, in the late 19th to early 20th centuries, focused on suffrage and other legal rights. Second wave feminism, which began in the 1960’s and continued in the 1990’s, was a reaction against the renewed imposition of domesticity on women after WWII, and focused on women in the workplace (as well as sexuality, family and reproductive rights). Third wave feminism, dating from the early 90’s to the present, found a more diverse group of women with a diverse set of identities challenging gender stereotypes and continuing to fight for many of the causes of the second-wavers. Some feminist scholars are now envisioning a fourth wave to reframe the movement.

 

A pivotal moment on the road to gender equality occurred in 1972 with the passage of Title IX.  As the result of that groundbreaking law, the doors to law schools and the legal profession were flung wide open. Benefiting from that development and riding the second wave, I graduated from Berkeley Law in 1983. I never imagined at that time that gender would shape my experience in the profession. While by many measures I have enjoyed a successful legal career, I have no doubt that gendered work arrangements and gender roles restricted my potential just as they continue to restrict the potential of many women lawyers today.   

 

In my current role, I advise both men and women law students about their careers and professional development.They graduate from law school on generally equal footing. But when I consider the various statistics on the current status of women in the profession, I worry that their paths will diverge. So I plan to explore in this blog various aspects of the state of women in the profession along with the challenges that prevent women from being equal participants in all sectors of our profession. I’ll tackle issues like wage disparity, lack of women’s retention and advancement in law firms, the work/family conflict and the like. I won’t be presenting anything novel nor will I necessarily have solutions. But we must keep talking about these issues if we are to ever solve them.  


When it comes to gender equality in the legal profession, we are definitely still “chasing the last wave.” Let’s chase it together.  

This blog post was authored by Molly Tami

Tags:  advancement  career  challenges  Chasing the Last Wave  equality  feminism  feminist  gender  last wave  LCB  legal profession  Title IX 

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Perfection in the Imperfection: "Work vs. Life vs. Me"

Posted By Megan O'Neill, Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Work vs. Life vs. Me

As a little girl, I wasn’t really interested in dolls or playing house. I played business. I loved setting up my desk and rubber stamping paper and answering calls, taking notes – I loved it all. Someone might suggest that I was influenced by my parents, however, my dad was a pastor (not a traditional office environment), and while I have memories of being a “latch-key kid,” my mother is quick to remind me that she stayed home until I was in 6th grade (then she went on to conquer the world of health care). So, while my parents have been an enormous influence on me and my career goals, I take pride in and embrace my innate young work ethic and ambitions!


In the years to come, I did well in high school and college and, professionally, fell into what has become a career that I absolutely love. In my single days I relished in the late nights preparing for depositions and trials and felt a great sense of pride and accomplishment. Passing the CPA exam was par for the course in my career path and I felt like I was that little girl again at a desk, taking on the world.


THEN, I met a (wonderful and loving) man who equally loves his career (firefighter), and we got married. THEN, one year later (2012), we welcomed our first daughter and three years to the day after that (2015), we welcomed our second daughter.  These new amazing and fantastic life events have created a great deal of internal struggle for me as I try to continue to stay the course of my dream professional life, as well as explore my new roles that I love as wife and mother. To complicate matters a little more, our oldest daughter has a rare medical condition complete with seizures, making childcare a great deal more complicated. 


I have felt that my home life needed to be in direct competition with work, or vice versa. That having one meant that the other was sacrificed. Admittedly, I felt as though I was truly failing for the first time in my life. I love my career and where it is going, yet at the same time, I absolutely LOVE being a wife and mother and how in the world do I get all of these moving parts to move together?


Then it hit me. To me it’s not about “doing it all” or “having it all,” because inevitably, something is sacrificed in the pursuit of something else – creating competition where it’s just not necessary, and maybe I just don’t want “to do it ALL.” Lately for me it’s rather the “balance” that is spoken about ad nauseam, or a better word that I bring from my career is “collaboration.”  We talk about collaboration all of the time in our cases, so how can my career ambitions work with my home life (or vice versa) to foster an environment of, well I’ll just say it, kum-ba-ya. 


I don’t believe that there is an absolute right or wrong way to be true to oneself while staying true to family and work. I also expect that I need to be able to ebb and flow with any new challenges in work or life that come my way. I feel that by viewing these pieces of the puzzle not with an end product in mind that are “competing” for perfect placement, but as “pieces of me” that continue to collaboratively shape who I am, that I am at peace with me, my work and my family.  


This blog post was authored by Megan O'Neill

 

Tags:  collaboration  having it all  LCB  perfection in the imperfection  working mom  worklife balance 

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Judicial Incubator Workshop

5/9/2019
2019 LC Annual Dinner

Lawyers Club of San Diego

402 West Broadway, Suite 1260
San Diego CA 92101
619-595-0650

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