Google “kick the dog syndrome” and see the results. Basically, this real psychological thing where one displaces their frustration and anger onto other innocent victims. While I cannot find statistics that show people actually kick their dogs (thank goodness), most of us know this expression. Does anything about your job give you kick the dog syndrome? Are you stressed and burned out? Are you unhappy at your current law firm? Is the grind impacting relationships with your clients, colleagues, family and friends? Are you lashing out against the people who mean the most to you? If so, it is time to take stock of your situation.
The first thing is to examine the root cause of your stress. Since this blog is about work-related stress, what is making you unhappy at your law firm? Can the cause be identified and addressed? For example, are you working far too many hours? Is this because the firm does not have enough attorney support or a culture lacking collaboration? Is it because you will not delegate anything and are a control freak? The bottom line is to identify the root cause. Failure to do so will make solutions that much harder to find.
Solve the Problem
Once the root cause has been identified, what are the possible solutions to fix the problem. Is it you? Do you need therapy or medication? Or is there something at your firm that can be changed? If there are things that the firm can do to improve your situation, write them down. Then discuss your needs with management. Perhaps, there are easy fixes – like more support, hiring more people, working remotely, and so forth. As a productive partner, the firm should be willing to make reasonable accommodations. However, if they are not, or they do not agree on reasonableness, maybe it’s time to find a new law firm.
You know when things are not right. You know when there is tension with your spouse. It is obvious when your kids are annoyed with you. You know when clients are not getting your best work. Your staff notes that you are snapping more often and overreacting to issues. You know it too. There are no surprises. The good news is that you can control the situation and have the power to make things right.
At the end of the day, happier people tend to be more productive. They also have deeper, more meaningful relationships. And, they tend to have better health than unhappy, miserable people. If your job is in the way of your happiness, rest assured, others in your life feel the impact. It does not have to be this way. Let me help you find a new law firm that will make you happier. It will also improve the lives of your clients, family, coworkers, friends, and yes, even your dog!