Here we are…the holidays are over and my office is slowly rolling into the new year. I have caught myself saying that it is a different year but the same circus. Yes, I have done this a long time. I won’t say I’m the best at my job but I know what I’m doing on most days. So as people make their New Year’s Resolutions of losing weight or to stop smoking, here are some of my resolutions for litigation support this year:
- Be more flexible. I don’t know why it often hits me wrong when emergencies happen or someone needs something at the last minute. It will happen. You know that saying “Failure to plan on your part does not make it an emergency on my part”? Yeah, that doesn’t apply in this job. It doesn’t matter how many policies are in place or what you do, things will happen and the stressful parts of the job will happen. A judge won’t be happy with the technology or a paralegal will forget how to rotate an image in TrialDirector during court. Although I need to expect the unexpected I just need to handle it better.
- Conduct more training. Instead of limping through the year and putting out fires when people have issues with litigation technology, I need arrange more training to help the staff increase their knowledge. Training people will only make my job easier. Some people like to protect their knowledge like we are a magician or something. Although we ARE magicians, there is nothing wrong with sharing what we know. We can’t do it all although we try to do it all.
- Upgrade old technology. Sometimes we just settle in our comfort zone with our technology. Doing things because we’ve always done them isn’t a good motto to have in this job. We must constantly seek out new and improved ways to get things done. The old technology is – well – old. It needs to be replaced. Believe me, people will fight change but sometimes you have to give them a gentle nudge. We have two pieces of equipment in our office, one is a newer model than the other; however, people use the older one because “it’s the machine everyone uses.” Nope. We’ve got to move past that mentality.
- Use the word “NO” more often. I’m sure we are all guilty of this. We don’t like to say “no” to the people we support. I have learned to say it more over the past several years but I look back and see that I still need to do better about it. That doesn’t mean I won’t help people out but if people want quality work, we have to say “no” to other things especially if it isn’t our job. Now, I know we hate to say “it’s not my job” but I think it’s time we make people do their jobs instead of enabling people to assume we are going to do it if the slackers won’t. Saying “no” to things isn’t being mean, it’s being smarter in managing our workload.
- Be open to new opportunities. If you have done this job for as long as I have, you have to realize that you won’t be doing it forever. It’s probably good to start preparing for your exit to another career or whatever you are going to do after this chapter of your life is over. How will our current skills transition to something else? Do we need to take classes? It’s a good time to look at the new opportunities ahead and prepare for them. If you are just starting out in this job, you should set your goals and work your way to achieving them. It may not be this year but you need to put yourself in position for when that opportunity comes.
So here we go charging into another year. We are facing new data to process, trials to prepare for and other challenges in litigation technology. I will say that this is a unique career field and it can take you wherever you want to go but you also need to make time to have a life. A former colleague of mine once said that you weren’t doing your job if you weren’t working at least 50 hours a week. Sad to say that he passed away several years ago. Now what? Not to be negative but the reality is that when we are gone, they will just hire someone to replace us. This job shouldn’t be your life. It’s rewarding and sometimes exciting but it’s not the main thing. Make 2018 a good one!