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By: Caren Mansfield (Guest Blogger)

Having spent my first snow day at home this Wednesday in the midst of a good, old fashioned blizzard [insert pajama bound paralegal smiling oh-so happily while seated on her sectional couch, sipping hot cocoa, and being 100% thrilled not be in the land of legal on said snow day], it seemed like the perfect time to share this post! It references winter weather and those less than desireable, gut wrenching tasks from hell-oooo my paralegal friends! What could snow shoveling and manual filing possibly have in common? You’ll have to read on to find out!

Snow Flakes

Yes, winter is definitely here. We have had our first snowfall of the season and can admire the beauty at this point. Later, we will just groan at the thought of scooping and shoveling snow, brushing off cars, wading through slush on the sidewalks and worry about sliding on slick streets and sidewalks. But today, we can reflect on the beauty of the snow and how it makes dull landscapes look clean and inspires us the way it decorates bushes and trees. Yep, I really like winter. I don’t mind the cold and nasty weather as long as I am dressed for it. I look forward to one or two snow days a year to just stay home and huddle in a blanket near the fire and read.  I don’t mind shoveling snow.

So once again you have to make the leap of faith with me as I equate something totally outside the world of paralegals….to being a paralegal.

Here goes.

Most people hate winter. I equate winter to being a paralegal in the same fashion as being assigned some of those tasks that just seem to make a paralegal groan. Who loves abstracting medical records or deposition transcripts? Who loves sitting in a warehouse with no air conditioning on a hot July day sifting through tons of boxes looking for just one or two pieces of paper? Who loves [put your most despised task here]?  Most of us have tasks that we must perform in the course of our paralegal assignments that we dread. But the tasks, while being totally mind numbing, have to be done. So it’s all about attitude. Here’s what Wikipedia says:

Attitude may refer:
Attitude (psychology), a person’s perspective toward a specified target
Propositional attitude: a relational mental state connecting a person to a proposition

You can put it off, hide in the bathroom, or run away, but those tasks will still be there waiting when you venture out. If you take the attitude that you can do it, take pride in your effort, and realize how critical the task may be then perhaps you can get through it. It’s all in your attitude.

So take the attitude that, like me, you will enjoy the beauty of winter, dress warmly, wear boots, be careful in the car and make it through to spring. In your paralegal duties you can take the attitude to make the most of your work and work relationships and you will get through those tasks that are less than pleasant.

Here are some quotes to inspire you.

“A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.”

~ Herm Albright, quoted in Reader’s Digest, June 1995

“Attitudes are contagious. Are yours worth catching?”

~ Dennis and Wendy Mannering

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”

~ Winston Churchill

“Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.”

~ Author Unknown

“Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.”

~ Francesca Reigler

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”

~ Mary Engelbreit

“Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples, don’t count on harvesting Golden Delicious.”

~ Bill Meyer

“The only disability in life is a bad attitude.”

~ Scott Hamilton

“If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.”

~ Vince Lombardi

“There is nothing so easy but that it becomes difficult when you do it reluctantly.”

~ Publius Terentius Afer

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Caren Mansfield has been employed as a paralegal since 1987 by the same firm. She is employed by the law offices of Baker, Baker & Krajewski LLC in Springfield, Illinois and specializes in labor and employment law litigation. She is a graduate of the American Institute for Paralegal Studies and obtained the credential of Certified Legal Assistant in 1996. She has been a member of the Illinois Paralegal Association since 1988 and currently serves on its Board of Directors. She has held the offices of president, vice president, secretary and treasurer. While she was President the IPA saw its highest membership.

She has participated as a speaker at the IPA’s Education Seminars, at an NFPA Education Seminar, and in other public settings on topics ranging from Discovery, Ethics, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Filing a Charge of Discrimination through Trial, Law Office Administration and more. She was instrumental in assisting in the preparation of a video about the IPA as well as a broadcast about the paralegal profession on public television in central Illinois. In addition to her duties as an IPA board member she also submits articles regarding paralegals several times a month to the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin’s Legal Employment Weekly. She serves as a mentor to paralegals.

Caren formerly served on the advisory board to the Sangamon State University (now University of Illinois-Springfield) Legal Studies program. She has served as a member of the advisory board to Robert Morris University’s paralegal program for over five years.

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Time to hoist the sails and rally the legal troops, TPS readers (oh yeah…that’s right…we are the legal troops!) Move one inch closer toward that daunting pile of papers covering your desk or warehouse full of boxes like the true paralegal gladiator you are, despite your completely logical state of trepidation. Perhaps a trip past the local Starbucks drive thru of happiness on the lunch hour will do the trick! One can only hope…and order…and wait as that clock tick tocks by ever so slowly past the next 8 hours, signaling the start of the next Paralegal Freedom Movement!

Go you! Order the coffee. Type the pleadings. Sift through the boxes…and enjoy every minute of half sane solitude, you paralegal gladiators! You know we wouldn’t be able to do it any other way. (I’ll take mine half sane, with a side of caffeine, 12 pleadings, 2 banker’s boxes, 52 phone calls, and 382 utterances of my name in a 20 minute time period, please! How about you?)

We’ll see you on Monday!