Posted by: LYF | October 13, 2009

Deadlines and too much initiative

I have a strong desire to do as much as possible in any given amount of time.  Not only to do as much as possible.  I want to do everything.  If someone asks me if I’m available to work on a file, I won’t turn them down.  Even if I’m already over-worked.  It’s a symptom of wanting to know a lot very quickly.  I also get worried that I may be passing up an opportunity.  Maybe this file will teach me something extremely valuable.  I get nervous when I say no.

This can get you into trouble.  Things will start to build up.  Files will begin to overlap and you won’t be able to separate them in your head.  An issue in one file, will become an issue in another, mixed with an actual issue in the file, to form an even more complicated issue, which has now become a blend of fact and fiction.

And then people will ask you for updates.  How are the files going?  You won’t be able to answer them.  At least not accurately.  You’ll be able to say how far along the files are.  The vaguer your responses the better.  Just give a sense of confidence and an, “I know what I’m doing” smile.  It’s the best you can do.

Someone sent me an email this past week.  They wanted to know if they were crazy for thinking about leaving their current firm.  The firm was never busy and the pay was good.  It’s hard throwing that away.  But this person wasn’t learning anymore. They felt stuck.  Actually leaving isn’t hard.  What’s hard is dealing with the idea of it being “difficult.”  The perception of the situation and it’s crippling effects on moving forward.

Sometimes things get tricky.  You’ll be put in situations – or in my case you’ll put yourself there – that will seem tough.  Is over-working yourself because you’re afraid of not learning a good idea?  I’m not really sure.  Do I make myself nuts sometimes at the prospect of constant learning?  Probably.  Is it hard throwing away an easy job because you’re mentally unsatisfied?  I bet it is.

But that’s what I want.  I like when it’s all over and I look back on what I did.  Now I understand how a reverse takeover through a capital pool company can take a private company public.  I know what it’s like to work for 4 out of the 8 partners at my firm.  I’m only stressed because I’m being pushed.  And it forces me to be resourceful.

I don’t know if this strategy is scalable in the long-run.  And mixing issues is certainly something I try to avoid.  There are many ways to “move forward.”  This is my way until I find something better – never saying no.  Never saying no or leaving your firm because it’s not challenging enough; these are hard positions to be in.  It’s just nice knowing that difficulty isn’t the issue.  It is difficult.  Resourcefulness is the problem.

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