Under Analysis

 Needing to leave my leave?

By Lisa Henderson-Newlin

I’m currently out on medical leave for... you guessed it... medical issues. Yes, that hangnail finally got to be unbearable and I had to take time off to get it properly treated. 

All that office paperwork only exacerbated the pain, which is why my workers’ compensation suit is pending. 

While away from the practice of law for a few weeks, I’ve learned some things and come to some realizations. First, co-pays are expensive and my doctors don’t offer a buy one get one free promotion. 

Trust me, I asked. 

Second, I’ve learned that daytime TV is just as bad as you remembered it. Fortunately, I’ve also discovered The Game Show Network and multiple episodes of “Match Game,” so at least my afternoons are ______ (fill in the blank). 

Third, I’ve learned that I miss practicing law. Believe me, no one is more shocked at this revelation than I am. Although being off work for medical treatment isn’t pleasant, I figured being away from my practice for a few weeks would at least be the silver lining. I was wrong. 

Being wrong is new territory for me and I’m not sure how to handle it. Please don’t tell my husband. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed time away from the office. However, I’ve had to make adjustments to my life to compensate for what I’m missing by not working. 

For instance, not having my phone permanently glued to my hand has been nice. However, I’ve found it hard to set my phone down and walk away. We’ve developed a relationship over the years, and she goes with me everywhere; even the ladies room. I couldn’t just dump her because I’m not working at the moment. 

So I did the only thing I could do to save our relationship. I downloaded games and am now glued to my phone, only this time it’s because I’m determined get the high score. 

I’ve also found it difficult to deal with my competitive nature now that I’m not arguing for a living.  It turns out that’s easier said than done, especially when you download games on your phone. 

It’s harder than it sounds to stop competing. I can’t just turn it on and off on command, although I could probably do so if it was part of some sort of contest. 

Being a lawyer brings out that competitive edge and allows me to get it out of my system. Since I’m not working, I’ve had to find other ways to compete.  Since my husband won’t let me play board games with others because “it makes us lose friends,” I’ve had to get more creative. 

Fortunately I’ve found a solution.  I race the other customers at Starbucks each morning to see who can get out faster than the other patrons. Because it’s freezing outside and I love my heated seats, I utilize the drive thru.  As I toast my buns, I race the people who order inside the store and try to drive away before they do. 

Although I don’t have any scientific research to support this premise, I typically win if I blare “Chariots of Fire.”

Granted, the baristas don’t enjoy this game as much as I do, mostly because they don’t like my cheers and the use of the foam finger to pay my bill gets a little tricky. 

Either way, it gets the competitive fix I’m missing since I’m away from my practice. 

I also miss objecting to things, although I’ve found an easy fix to that as well. When I’m at the grocery store and an item scans at a price I don’t like, I loudly object, citing a random page of the weekly flyer. The cashier is often so flustered she reduces the price without even waiting for a ruling from her supervisor. 

Granted, I’m finding it harder to get a cashier to check me out, and I’m now relegated to the self-checkout lane only, but I count that as a sustained objection. 

Come to think of it, maybe I need my job as a lawyer after all. I miss the competition and the arguing. In light of this realization, I hope to be released back to work soon. 

Otherwise, they’re going to stop serving me coffee and groceries. 

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Lisa Henderson-Newlin is a member of the law firm McAnany Van Cleave and Phillips.  Contact Under Analysis by email at comments@levisongroup.com.

© 2014 Under Analysis L.L.C.

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