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By: Brianna Kennel
Happy High Heel Friday, TPS Nation! Today, we’re bringing a new Guest Blogger front and center onto the TPS Stage! Brianna is here, brimming with enthusiasm, and ready to share a little wit, wisdom, some oh-so-relatable content, and a dash of humor. After all…who couldn’t use a little humor on this coveted, paralegal holiday otherwise known as “Friday?!” May this post find you with your feet planted firmly on that carpeted track or your rear planted firmly in a tall, black, leather chair…and not dancing around the office in a last minute task tango!
[insert permission to dare to dream here]
[followed by an endorsement for dancing shoes]
“Hey, I need this to go out the door right now, overnight,” my boss says to me at 3:40 p.m. Of course I stare blankly at him for a few abnormally long seconds. Surely he doesn’t mean, now, now? The UPS guy comes at 4:00 p.m. and my boss needs this doc signed, notarized, copied, scanned then retagged for signature, and address labels made for the UPS envelope. My eyebrows make the first move before my mouth can utter words and I notice his eyebrows and eyes are communicating with my eyebrows. This is going on for what seems like a while. Now, I know this that this isn’t his first rodeo…he knows when the UPS guy comes, he knows how long this document will take to get it out the door…or does he?! His eyebrows were asking my eyebrows if I understood and my eyebrows nodded (without my permission) that they did, so his mouth said, “thanks,” as his body walked away.
Now, completely panicked and hoping that my body’s natural adrenaline drug (that crazy stuff that can give you superhuman strength to lift cars off of people during an accident) can somehow help me run faster up the stairs to obtain the President’s signature in a manner of nanoseconds, so I can get the rest of the stuff done to get those urgent documents out the door.
I miss the UPS guy, but I’m smart enough to know the world doesn’t end at 4:00 p.m. Okay, the adrenaline must have run out, because the cognitive reasoning part of my brain just slapped me in the back of the head. I know where there is a local drop off box for UPS, and it’s right around the corner. Last pick-up time is 5:00 o’clock. I pick the one on my route home, because I have keen abilities to multi-task, you know. All I have to do is leave a little earlier to get it there.
This scenario happens, to my embarrassment, quite a few times. And like my dancing skills, I’m dancing the “last minute task tango” with two ostrich’s feet. I don’t manage to learn all the steps until about the eighth time, because I have, of course, rationalized what I was doing in my head. He’s a lawyer; he gets paid more than me, so naturally, I can go out of my way to mail documents he could have prepared earlier in the day.
The scene starts out almost the same, eyebrows are trying to say, “Hey, no problem. I’m superwoman, don’t you know?” However, something snaps into place and my feet and hips start working into a sassy combo number, so to speak. So, before I knew it my mouth had taken over my eyebrows in a hostage situation. I had spoken something a little like this: “You do realize the UPS guy comes at 4, right…and it’s like 3:50? And you do realize it takes about 45 minutes from start to finish to get everything you need done, right? And I’m guessing you had this on your desk to do, and just remembered that the mail comes soon, so we should get this out. And of course, it always has to go overnight. So, here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to set up a schedule reminder on your Outlook calendar for when you are to provide me these super urgent documents and if you’re late – you mail them yourself.”
I might have been holding my breath throughout this grand speech. First went his eyebrows into what some might consider an eyebrow smile, then went his facial features. Docile little ole me just gave one of her Attorney’s a little talkin’ to. Oh dear. Wait! Hold the phones! He was smiling. “Got it,” he said, like I was somehow boss and walked away. Yeah…that’s right!
After the win settled in, I realized I might have shown him a little more of an inappropriate precursor to the “last minute task tango.” I learned a new move right then and there. He wanted me to take the lead, tell him how long the process takes and that it won’t be possible to get it out the door so late in the game if he continually provided me the documents that late in the paralegal tango competition. Who knew? Was my budding, working relationship with the UPS guy going to diminish if I stopped begging him for those extra 5 minutes each day?
My next move was a tricky step, but proved to be one of the best parts of the routine. I set up Outlook reminders on his calendar for a deadline to provide me documents he wanted to go out in the mail that day. He did start providing me paperwork on time, so naturally, I wanted us to learn a new step. We worked on saving the company money by not over-nighting everything that left the office. It’s amazing how well female dirty looks work. Do you have anything that we can send out now, so it’s not going out last minute? [Insert dirty look here] What I learned was he knew how many days he had to do something, so naturally he’d wait until the very last part of that very last day, so all I had to do was jump him up a day or two.
Sounds great…but here comes the disclaimer! I had to get to know my attorney’s working style and personality style before I dared to make the leap from complete and silent obedience to any form of a dirty look. You definitely don’t want to tie a rope around your boss, unless you’d like one making its way around your neck. I observed him long enough to learn that he was often stressed out because he was handling everything last minute, via the procrastination method, so I approached him after my little lecture to ask him how I could help him going forward. And that’s when it happened. I added the Outlook step into our little dance ditty, and it ended up helping us both to dance a whole lot smoother, sleeker, and most importantly, more sane.
So, next time you find yourself trying to dance the dreaded “last minute task tango,” with all the enthusiasm and gusto of a savvy paralegal, consider whether adding in an extra step or two could help you dance down the law firm corridor a champion…or at least a runner up in the who beats the UPS guy by 4 p.m. competition, wearing a smile.
I sure did.
Bri Kennel is a seasoned professional with 5 years of legal experience working for a restaurant company in Broomfield, Colorado as their Lease Administrator; having started out as their Legal Administrative Assistant before being promoted to their only real estate paralegal. She has worked with in-house general counsel, a Real Estate attorney, a Licensing Attorney and a Licensing Specialist paralegal. A life opportunity took her and her husband out of their comfort zone in beautiful Colorado, to start a new life in as a Franchisee for Little Caesars. While her husband, Jake, is the acting franchisee, Bri assists with various tasks from marketing, philanthropic efforts, Common Area Maintenance year end reconciliations, to reporting sales information and anything else that is thrown her way.
As if being the franchise’s Director of Communications wasn’t enough, she decided to pursue a full time position outside of the home. She currently works full time for a large corporation helping with efficiencies, mentoring, branding, and leadership efforts. Several times a week, you can find her playing tennis, a favorite pastime, and baking gourmet cupcakes for employees of the franchise. Bri is excited to appear on The Paralegal Society as a guest blogger, and is planning a return trip soon! She offers a wealth of perspective on a wide variety of topics from the life of a business owner to that of a busy paralegal and everything in between.
Ahhhh…the “last minute task tango.” Have you danced it recently? We know you have! Wishing you and yours an absolutely fantastic weekend that’s high on happy and low on stress!
We’ll see you on Monday. Until then, lace up those dancing shoes. You’re gonna need ’em. I can hear that tango music playing now…RUN!!! (I mean take a deep breath and jump right in…)