I am an optimist. It’s in my blood. No matter how bad things get, they have to get better eventually. It’s just how the world works. I am sure many people who have heard my never-ending optimism would like to stomp on my head. Frankly, I irritate myself sometimes with the things that I say. But in the end, I believe that optimism will take you far in life. Take a candidate with whom I recently met. She is as talented as they come, with a resume to match. But she was a senior associate, with no business, in a transactional practice that has been dead-as-dead-gets since the recession first hit. Not surprisingly, she was laid off from her Am Law 10 firm, despite being there for over five years.
Depressing? Hell, yes. But what’s worse is that she is a single Mom. No partner/boyfriend/spouse to pick up the slack during her unemployment, and no shoulder on which to cry.
When we first met, she was devastated. Anyone in her position would be. As we talked, I drew out of her that while she liked her most recent law firm position, there were countless other positions that might be a better fit for someone like her – both inside and outside law firms. At first she was resistant, and she even shed some tears during our meeting, but as I helped her to see the endless possibilities out there, she seemed to perk up. But it wasn’t until I told her that I believed (which I do) that there is a “100% chance that you will get another job” that she breathed a sigh of relief. I quickly qualified that statement by making sure she knew that I could not guarantee that I was going to be the one to find this job, or that it would pay as well, be in her chosen specialty or even be in the legal profession. But the fact remains that each and every one of us is employable, and as the recession begins to fade, the opportunities for talented attorneys are going to increase. It’s just how the world works.
While it may not actually get her a new job, I am confident that my optimistic outlook on her employment future helped to infuse new energy into her search. And for that reason alone, I will continue to irritate myself with my optimistic view of life.