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By: Brianna Kennel (Guest Blogger)
Employers salivate when they hear their prospective employees utter the words, “detail oriented” when used to describe themselves, but do they really know what they are getting themselves into when hiring a self-proclaimed, detail forensic scientist?
Having grown up as an artist, I used my innate ability to obsess over the tiniest detail in a painting, spending hours on something that perhaps the eye would pass over in a nanosecond. Loving a challenge and having an ego with a large appetite, I insisted on working on ridiculously hard art projects. If it looked or seemed hard to do, then I wanted to do it. One way to impress the viewer is with realistic paintings or drawings, so that’s what I spent my time on. Not knowing anything about drawing (because learning it from a book was like trying to read the Bible word for word backwards with the way my brain operates) I did what every artist does – made everything up as I went. The more I got complimented, the thirstier I got and the more time I spent on the details.
I was labeled “creative” at an early age. You know, the overly-used, least “creative” word a person can come up with nowadays. Being a career goggled woman, I wanted to grab the world by storm. I knew I was “creative,” yet, didn’t really know what that meant, because art to me, was just something I did and happened to do well. But I had no idea why. I had a gut feeling that maybe I just had more patience than others, because when others skimmed over the detail stage of art, that’s when I took my time.
For my first big girl panties type of job, I went for a paper filing and mailing elf type of job for an eclectic goofy company, where I thought that maybe one day I could work in their “goofy” department doing something I had gone to school for. While on my path to the light hearted side of the business, I tripped over a skill I was too sidetracked to notice: Detail. Detail was the reason I was good at art and it was that same form of “detail” that was now turning out to be my biggest skill in the paper thrashing world.
Having figured out that being detailed obsessed was an asset in the legal world, (where I was working as an elf at the time I had the epiphany); I also realized it might be a handicap if I didn’t nurture it. With art, I had the freedom to add grey hairs to my head, but in the business world where efficiency is key, I had to figure out how to spend a little less time, but end up with the same product.
Working on Common Area Maintenance reconciliations, I could easily feel like a rock star, when I honed my frugal side and made it BFF’s with my detailed side. In cases where we, as the tentant, supposedly owed the landlord money, I could flap jack their case and point out in (…wait for it…) “detail” that they’d be writing us a check. What might be obvious to some people was not yet in my peripheral vision. After my balloon got deflated by someone pointing out to me that the amount of money I “saved” the company was then trumped by the amount of time I worked on the project; calculating in my hourly rate, divided by “hmm” and then multiplied by “yeah, “ resulting in, “oh, right…” So, my savings was now in the deficit.” I had to keep that in mind next time I was flying about the office with my cape on.
For those of you non-members of the OCD detail club, you may not understand how one could miss such an easy math calculation, but for those of us who get caught up, we know that while we are busy ‘in the detail zone’ we can’t necessarily see the obvious.
While employers, in general, still want people that belong in the OCDD club, they’ll just want to make sure that honorary members have the ability to tone it down, if need be, and make great team members, because we’re quick to point out something nobody else even thought about. When someone yells, “squirrel” in a meeting, we’re the ones thinking about the step we were on just before the group got side-tracked, how we can get there, how quickly, by what means, etcetera, and aren’t at all distracted by the squirrel in the room.
So, the next time you hear your boss asking for a person who is detail-oriented or telling you how he or she really needs you to focus on the details of a particular project, feel free to chuckle internally, as you fondly reflect upon what it means to become an honorary member of the OCD detail club, for better or worse. And if you ever need to find a co-consipirator for inclusion into a fun and interesting project requiring one that’s an official member of the club…just yell “squirrel” and see who doesn’t bat an eye.
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.
Happy High Heel Friday, TPS Nation! Wishing you an absolutely fantastic weekend filled with rest, relaxation, happiness, and fun! Bask in the glory of it. We’ll see you on Monday!