I played hooky this morning for a couple of hours in order to complete some tasks on my to do list. These were things that had been lingering at home for some time and I finally had the parts in hand to do the repairs, thanks to a big trip to Home Depot and several deliveries from there. And, I had a little extra time because Melissa had to leave extra early to do “a real job,” consulting with a client during jury selection. Most of my list included simple things that should be easy. But, I’ve learned the hard way that some of the simple repairs turn out to be more involved than they “should” be. Those that become difficult often require me to engage a handyman to fix things which are beyond my limited skills. So, I had 5 finite things on my list today, one of which had multiple steps. The multiple step item required me to cut a couple pieces of wood, glue them together, and paint them, all of which went well. I then left the paint to dry and moved to item 2, which went well enough, then 3, then 4 and then back to item 1 to move it along a little, then to item 5, finally finishing item 1. In all, it took about 2 hours and in the end, I felt the immediate gratification of successfully completing these tasks. It was that realization that, in contrast to my “day job,” certain tasks, certain jobs, provide immediate feedback and the knowledge that the job was done, well, and it is over. In contrast, our work as trial consultants, while satisfying, requires a long time line as the work flow occurs over weeks or months. There is much back and forth with the clients and the vendors upon whom we rely to get our work done. There are almost always frustrations along the way, changes to the plans, and sometimes, premature endings to our projects. We get wonderful feedback from the clients, but there is never an immediate reward or instant gratification for our work. At least today I had some instant gratification for my engineering and handyman skills.
Hooray for David in, as I like to say, “gittin’ er dun”! It’s always nice to accomplish tasks on the “to do” list. As David said, our professional lives do not offer the same sense of satisfaction that comes from other people’s jobs. Our work takes a long time to complete, and often, our clients do not express their gratitude for a job well done, such that it is difficult to know if anything we did was appreciated. In contrast, I have always remarked to my long time hair stylist, Mark, that his job must be rewarding. When a client walks into his salon, he or she has an appearance that is among the worst ever, given that he or she is there for a new hairstyle, color, etc. In a few minutes or a couple hours, Mark can see the client transformed from an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan. Although considerable effort is expended on each client, in the form of using sharp scissors to cut hair, mixing all the chemicals to form a lovely hair color, and styling the hair, the end result can soon be seen in the huge mirror that is prominently located near the stylist’s chair. Mark is fond of turning me around, with my back to the mirror, spinning around the stylist chair, then happily exclaiming “Voila!” when my new look is complete and I can see the new me in his mirror. David’s pride over the completion of his tasks is its own intrinsic reward for a job well done. My reward will, hopefully, be in the form of another happy client who won her big case with a little help from yours truly. I hope to say “Voila!” soon!