How do you handle a situation when you’re asked to do a task you’re definitely not ready for? I am a newly admitted lawyer in my first job out of law school and I have been doing mostly doc review for 6 months, only within the past 2 weeks have I started doing substantive legal work. My boss asked me to cover a meeting he could not attend. The purpose of which was to allow non-lawyers within the agency to play “ask the lawyer” (me) about general legal questions accumulated over the past month. I am unfamiliar with the legal material and do not have time to prepare. I told my boss I didn’t feel I could competently answer the questions in the allotted time and asked if we could reschedule. Did this make me seem incapable, weak, etc.?
This seems timely, especially since I just read an article with Marissa Mayer where she noted that she never felt ready for any of the work that she did. From the article:
“I always did something I was a little not ready to do,” she said last year while speaking on her best decisions in a talk with NPR Correspondent Laura Sydell. “That feeling at the end of the day, where you’re like, ‘what have I gotten myself into?’ I realized that sometimes when you have that feeling and you push through it, something really great happens.”
So how do you do the work you’re not ready for? How do you figure it out without screwing up? I hope that this can be a great thread where we share stories and advice for one another. Here are some tips, both for Reader C and for other women in this situation. (And let me just say, I totally get why Reader C was hesitant about this meeting — it sounds like a minefield.) That said… [Read more...]