Each year, we all wish to start with a fresh slate with the usual set of resolutions:  submit the Our Towne article on time, lose weight, exercise more, watch less TV, read a good book, etc.  In our new reality, which will hopefully be history when I write this article next year, there are certain things you should think about as employees and employers, in addition to your role as a parent.

  1. Wear a mask – When you wear your mask it should cover your nose and your mouth. This not only protects the people that you work with, but your family, as well as yourself and the general public.  Your financial and family’s future can be tied to the health of one or more of these people.
  2. Work from home – WFM has become a new normal. However, work from home doesn’t mean be at home, but actually setting up a virtual office.  This includes whatever your normal job encompasses including checking and returning phone calls and emails and engaging in your other tasks.  Pretending to be working and instead be taking advantage of the policies of your employer and/or the mandates of the government, could be an easy way to lose your job, something none of us want to do in this unsteady economy.
  3. Security software- Even if you don’t know about it, “big brother” can be watching you while you work remotely, so don’t tell your boss you are working from 9-5 when you are not.
  4. Further education- If you have more time because you are not commuting, not running around with your children to their activities, etc. consider taking an online course, reading books, learning more about your craft. You can then bring more to your workplace and be a good candidate for increased compensation.
  5. Shut off the TV (at least occasionally) – Binge watching has been come an Olympic sport for many of us as there are so many less activities to engage in. It is difficult to socialize with our friends and family, go to a movie, play, concert, etc.  There are so many readily available platforms with minor costs attached to them.  If you are like me and spend significantly more time in front of the computer now, probably excessive screen time will have little benefit but to fry your brain.  For your children, many of whom are learning virtually, a step away from the computer will probably serve them well.  I always encourage my clients to engage in hands on activities with their children such as cooking, baking, parallel reading, or outdoor activities.  If one parent is simply parking the child in front of the television and the other is actually interacting, who is forming a healthy child and who will be the most appealing to a judge in a custody dispute?
  6. De-Clutter – Sometimes this means getting rid of the junk in your house, other times it means freeing yourself from negative relationships. There is a reason why lifeguards are taught “reach, throw, row, go.”  The logic of  approaching a drowning person as a  last resort is that it is that person’s instinct to literally bring the rescuer down with them.  This is what also may happen in our lives.  Creating better, stable, and open relationships will not only make you a better parent, but a better employee as well.
  7. Lawyer-Client Relations- Should you become a client this year, here are ways to save money and get the most “bang” out of your lawyer:
  • Be polite- Yelling, arguing, etc. because you do not like what the attorney is telling you is generally counter productive and a poor use of time and money. Believe me, I would like to tell every client what he would like to hear, but the law and/or the facts may not be in your corner.   If that is the case, shouldn’t you spend your time trying to minimize the damage and not beat up your lawyer?
  • Show a modicum of concern- Your attorney and her staff are human beings who are all going through the same struggles with health risks, illness, losing loved ones. We are all at wit’s end, and your lawyer/client relationship will not improve if you de-humanize your attorney and her staff.
  • Don’t “outknow” your attorney- If Google is better at providing advice, don’t waste your money on a lawyer. Take your attorney’s advice, it will generally get you to the right place, which is why he was hired.
  • Keep written records- Spreadsheets can be easily manipulated. Keep a calendar for custodial time, a notebook for monies exchanged and owed.  It sounds old fashioned but makes trying a case exponentially easier.
  • First-invoiceitis- While this is not a real disease, it should be considered one.  You hire your attorney and pay him a retainer.  You then spend the first month calling and emailing frequently, not putting all your thoughts into one communication, and expecting (and receiving) a response for each reach out.  You then receive your bill and realize you have used up a lot of    Ask your lawyer upfront what the best way is to communicate so that you use less time and have more focus.  I suggest if you have 5 points to discuss you put them altogether so your attorney can work on the one communication rather than go back and forth with each point.
  • Your attorney is not always at a screen- Do not send an email that says, “call me”, call the attorney if you need to speak with him. Don’t send 5 emails asking the attorney if they read #1.  If you have not been responded to in appropriate time, call and follow up.  What is appropriate?  Absent an emergency, 24 hours.  Your attorney could be in court, or otherwise occupied.  If you truly need assistance sooner, call the office and have someone else help you.
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