Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hey, man! Be nice!

I totally wanted to write about something funny or light today. I had the best of intentions.....but....then I had an encounter with a mean person. And an unnecessarily mean person at that. So sorry, Cheez-it stories today!

So ok, in my line of work I deal with all sorts of people. And I guess to some respect, when you go to school to become a lawyer, you know that you'll be getting yourself into situations where people aren't always pleasant. No,, not when the law is involved. That's when people pull out the claws. So I did know that when I went to school, but yet I did it anyway. And lawyers are supposed to argue and advocate for their clients. Yes, this is all very true. But what a license to practice law does not give you is the right to just be mean. Nope, you can be nice and still do your job well.

I like to argue as much as the next guy, don't get me wrong, but there's arguing and then there are personal attacks. And without going into too much detail, let's just say I was having a really good day and then had a run in with someone in the professional setting who was just mean for the sake of being mean. Not cool, man, not cool. And it's kind of ruined my mood. (Maybe I need some Cheez-its to cheer me up?)

In situations like that, I wish that I could harness all of the sarcastic and witty comebacks I can think of after I walk away from the situation and throw them back at that person, but then I think "isn't that just sinking to their level?" It probably is, so it's best I didn't do that. I am a firm believer in that civility goes a long way. It's just more professional and is way more effective. And it's the kind of person I want others to perceive me as and the way I want my children to be raised when we do have children. You should just be nice.

Back when I was in high school, I was really really shy and didn't speak up much, so when I see people that I knew back then, a lot of them are confused and genuinely surprised to hear that I went into the practice of law. I hear a lot of "but you're too nice for that!" Well, hey, lawyers don't have to be mean! Most of us aren't, for that matter. And those of us that are just give the rest of us a bad name. Personally, I went into law to help people, which I do through child protection services, and I see no need in resorting to meannness and pettiness to win my arguments or cases. And that really is how most of us are, which is how it should be. But there are a few bad seeds, which you'll get anywhere. And sure, yes, I do have a "Beware of Attack Lawyer" sign over my desk, but that's all in good fun :-) I'm nowhere near "attack lawyer."

But my dilemma right now is how do you let this stuff just roll off your back? T always tells me I need to "be like a duck and just let negativity roll off of your back like the water rolls off of a duck's back when it rains." But that is definitely easier said than done. For those of us who do care about how others perceive us, when someone isn't really nice like that, it does leave a mark. And I'm feeling a little bruised at the moment.

So that's my soapbox for the day. Be nice people! We can really all get a long, really!

Alright, where are the Cheez-its?


  1. Ugh! I totally feel you! I'm a social worker and as a clinician Who advocates for others I have to deal with rude, Inappropriate people all the time and what's worse is that most of the time they attack my amazing clients! I agree with your philosophy and I applaud you for being an amazing lawyer!

  2. I'm so sorry, that really sucks. I think it's just important to focus on all the nice people you know. And if someone's mean to you, well, they're clearly far too unimportant to make an impact.


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