I’ve already shared a story about detrimental reliance at the workplace, where I very nearly deep-sixed a matter by relying on a colleagues incorrect work.
I learned an important lesson that day: stay paranoid.
Sometimes, when you’re in the midst of a difficult task, the temptation to rely on someone else’s work exerts as strong a pull as an oasis to a dying man in the desert. But don’t do it.
Now here’s an even better story about professional failure for you. And it does not have a happy ending.
I call this story “better” because of a very important axiom I just coined two seconds ago: THE BIGGER THE FAILURE, THE BETTER THE LESSON.
This particular failure happened early in my legal career. I was maybe…a month into my first post-law school job. I had been scheduled to oppose one of our defendant’s summary judgment motions.
You see, the attorney who’s case this actually was couldn’t make it. So on short notice, I got the call.
“Great!” I thought. “A chance to prove myself!” Diligently, I told the attorney I’d get cracking on our opposition.
“No, don’t worry,” she said, “I’ll write it and send it to you.”
Against my better judgment, I agreed. Hey, I was busy, still getting my feet wet…and a little lazy.
Time passed, and I still didn’t have this attorney’s opposition. I was frantic, until the night before the hearing when she emailed it to me.
And it was garbage. Continue reading “Gut Instincts and Glory”