October 11, 2019

The “Nina Flax” Files: Things That Make Me Cry

Here’s the latest “list” installment from Nina Flax of Mayer Brown (here’s the last one):

I believe none of us, regardless of the stage of our careers, should feel bad, shame or any other negative if we are unable to remain completely unemotional at work. We are human – and emotions make us human! There have been many times throughout my career, and of course in the past few years, that I have cried – including somewhere at work. How I know that I need that outlet as well as support from others in order to remain [more] composed in the inducing situation and after. I need it like the air I breathe.

This got me thinking about crying, how and when I cry, and how some people I work with (internally and externally) do not seem to think of me as being vulnerable for I am sure a plethora of reasons. So, here is a more vulnerable list… a list of Things That Make Me Cry.

1. My Son’s Love. It is a fact that I am a working mom. In fact, I do not think I would be a good mom if I did not work – I am just not cut from that cloth. However, I am in a service profession, which means I have to be available and can have intense hours. Which also means that I have to travel. When my son grabs on to my leg and starts crying hysterically, whether on a “normal” morning when I am going in to work or as I have a suitcase in hand waiting for a car to take me to the airport, I keep it together. Momentarily. The second I walk out of the house and he can no longer see me, remembering his dragon tears and “No, mommy, don’t go! Don’t go [to work] [to the airport]! Stay here! I want you to stay here with me!” – I cry.

2. My Son’s Rejection. See first three sentences above. Which also leads to my husband being the more stable figure who is always able to be there in the morning (no calls in the office from 6am), at night (no working until 3am) and on weekends (for all, no work travel). Which leads to my son at times (sometimes it feels like the vast majority of times) preferring my husband. Which leads to my son, sometimes, yelling “Go away!” or “I don’t want you” or “NO! Only Papa!”, etc. I know this is not atypical. And I know that in the next breath, I get an “I love you” or a hug or a kiss or a head leaning on my shoulder, or, as above, a “Mommy, no, don’t go to work!” These things don’t make the hurt go away. My son’s rejection cuts me to the core, including the guilt I feel that I have to prioritize work sometimes, and I always sneak away to cry by myself. I am saving for another day tag lines that really make me angry – like work-life balance, or lean in. Finally, before I move off of this point, I LOVE the relationship my son and husband have, and would not want their relationship to be any other way. Other than tempering the tone and words of my rejection. If my son said, “Mama, can you please have Papa come in?” or “Mama, I would prefer if Papa tucked me in.” in those moments, I swear I would not cry – I would not feel rejected. Thankfully, he has started heading in this direction.

3. Being Frustrated When I’m Tired. Not kidding. If I am tired and something occurs that I find particularly frustrating, I cry. It is truly a reflex for me. Any frustration.

4. Witnessing Artistic Accomplishments. When I see an amazing ballet, or even watch a moving piece on So They Think They Can Dance (when I watched this show before child), or someone sing beautifully a beautiful song, or someone receiving an award for a fantastic performance, I cry. When people perfect their craft, share it and exude peace and joy at the same time, I am moved. I must admit I am more emotional around the arts, but any deep recognition of achievement, scientific, professional or other non-arts focused, usually makes my eyes at least water.

5. Reading The News. I know I should not admit this in public, but I extremely dislike reading or staying up-to-date on the news. Because inevitably, there is a piece on conflict I seek out, a story about a crime or horrific accident involving a child, or a moving, random act of kindness. The majority of the time I read the news I read something that makes me cry.

6. Feeling Grateful. I have referenced this a bit in my other posts, but I try to remind myself of all that I have to be grateful for. And when I do I realize how much I am grateful for, how trivial some of the things that upset me are, and how there are so many with less. Including children who are hungry, without a roof over their heads, without feeling safe, without feeling loved and/or without books. And I cry.

This makes it seem like I always cry. Those who are closest to me are not at all surprised by my delicate flower status. Those that are not as close to me are probably floored by this post. But I felt compelled to be honest – I am not ashamed of crying, and have learned to temper my feeling of being “less” than anyone in a professional situation who comes across as perfectly composed. Because I love emotions, but maybe a little less than I love books.

Fake SEC Filings: Edgar Fights Back

I really can’t overstate how much we love “fake SEC filings” around here. So it’s with mixed feelings that I report on changes to Edgar that might make these an even rarer occurrence. Specifically, filers now need a longer & more complex password – this Gibson Dunn blog has more detail:

Filers, including Section 16 filers, will now be requested to provide twelve character passwords instead of eight character passwords when logging into both the EDGAR Filing Website and the EDGAR Online Forms Management Website. Current filers who do not update their password to twelve characters will be prompted to update it each time they log in. We have confirmed with the staff of EDGAR Filer Support that current filers who do not update their password when prompted will not be prevented from logging in successfully. However, EDGAR passwords expire annually and should be changed before the expiration date. Any filers who have not already updated their password by the time they otherwise expire will be required to create a password that satisfies the new requirements before being permitted to log in to EDGAR.

Even more interesting from a security perspective is that a “Last Account Activity” tab is being added to the filing & forms websites – so you can see a 30-day history of login attempts and spot any aspiring fakers. And on a more vanilla note, the changes also allow companies to include 150 characters in cover page tags for classes of registered securities (up from 100 characters), since some companies were having trouble fitting it all in.

New Podcast Series! “Women Governance Gurus” With Courtney Kamlet & Liz

Check out the new podcast series – “Women Governance Gurus” – that I’ve been co-hosting with Courtney Kamlet of Syneos Health. So far, these illustrious guests have joined us to talk about their careers in the corporate governance field – and what they see on the horizon:

Stacey Geer – EVP, Chief Governance Officer, Deputy GC and Corporate Secretary at Primerica
Kellie Huennekens – Head of Americas, Nasdaq Center for Corporate Governance
Anne Chapman – Managing Director, Joele Frank
Hope Mehlman – EVP, Chief Governance Officer at Regions Bank

Stacey’s President & GC even presented her with a new nameplate in honor of the occasion!

Liz Dunshee