June 19, 2020

Lawyer Stress: “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”

As we reach the end of another tough week, I thought this article about the results of a recent ACC poll on lawyer wellness was worth noting. This may come as a surprise to you, but dealing with a pandemic, quarantine, economic collapse, civil unrest, job security & health worries, Zoom fatigue & unpaid second jobs as homeschool teachers is apparently stressful:

Nearly 50% reported “feeling tired or having little energy” while also having trouble sleeping. More than 43% were experiencing anxiety; 40% had trouble concentrating; nearly 22% reported an “increased use of substances,” such as alcohol and tobacco; and nearly 19% said they’d been depressed. Nearly 44% had anxiety. Unsurprisingly, nearly 50% of respondents reported having trouble switching off from work and nearly 75% were experiencing moderate to very high levels of burnout.

The good news is that 88% of respondents are – like you & me – working from home, which means that we can all enjoy our mental and emotional collapses in our slippers. So, if you’re finding this time to be a tough slog, know that you aren’t alone, and take comfort in the knowledge that human beings can be remarkably resilient creatures, even under the most trying conditions.

I’ll give you an example. During the Falklands War, the H.M.S. Sheffield was sunk by an Argentine missile. That would be enough to ruin anybody’s day, but nevertheless, as the survivors waited for rescue in the ship’s life boats, they sang “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” from Monty Python’s “Life of Brian.” Since then, the song has become a bit of a tradition among British forces when the chips are down.

We can learn a thing or two from the Royal Navy – after all, they figured out scurvy, right? When things are bad, look for some pleasant distractions to help lighten the load. I highly recommend a nice long daily walk if your schedule & surroundings permit, but I’ve found a few other things during the current troubles that have brought a smile to my face.

For instance, there’s Sponge Bob in box seats at a South Korean baseball game, Vogue’s guide to face mask fashions, and the delightful feeling of schadenfreude that comes from seeing so many people learn the hard way that the “unmute” option on Zoom has the same catastrophic potential as the “reply all” option to an email. I also discovered that religious services are best experienced while reclining in a La-z-boy, & that, if you throw in Peyton Manning & Charles Barkley, anything – even golf – can be interesting to watch. Also, I make a heck of an almond flour banana bread now.

This isn’t much in the face of pestilence, economic turmoil & civil unrest, but these are the kind of small consolations that will get us through – at least until the Visigoths show up. You folks are on your own when that happens, but until then, always look on the bright side of life.

SEC Nominee: Caroline Crenshaw

Yesterday, the White House announced that President Trump would nominate veteran SEC senior counsel Caroline Crenshaw for the Democratic seat on the SEC that was vacated by Rob Jackson’s departure. She joined the agency in 2013 and has served in several capacities, including counsel to commissioners Stein and Jackson.

May-June Issue of “The Corporate Executive”

We’ve wrapped up the May-June issue of The Corporate Executive – and will be mailing it soon! It’s available now electronically to members of who also subscribe to the print newsletter at each of their locations (try a no-risk trial). This issue includes pieces on:

– The Impact of COVID-19 on Executive Compensation
– ISS and Glass Lewis Voting Policy Changes Due to COVID-19
– New Proposed Regulations under Internal Revenue Code Section 162(m)

John Jenkins