Some of the hardest things I had to do as a boss was to hire an employee. I didn’t know how to hire. I mean, I never hired anyone in my life; I was always an employee, never an employer.
When I first started my own law firm, it was just me. I did it all. I did not have a secretary, I did not have a paralegal; it was just me and my computer. Thank God I took typing in high school. It was one of the best decisions I made in my life.
But, I was okay with doing it all; besides, I was used to long grueling basketball work outs that felt like an eternity! Hard work does pay off!
But soon, I found myself working nearly 18 hours a day, every day. Yes, weekends too. I was getting tired and my work was consuming me.
I started to think about who could help me and who do I need hire? What position do I need, a secretary, another lawyer, a paralegal, who? I didn’t know.
So, I worked through it in my mind and started to ask myself some questions.
Questions I asked myself
What position am I looking to fill? Do I want/need a secretary? Why? Is this who I need to hire at this stage? I didn’t have any answers. Did not have a clue. But, I thought a secretary would be good, they can help me organize things, file paperwork, answer the phone, and maybe type up some things for me when I was out of the office, etc.
So, I hired my first employee! A secretary! Yay!
Well, at this time in my career I had one office, and so I shared my office with the secretary. Well, I don’t know about you, but I work best when I am alone, in my own room, quiet and nobody talking to me. But then I realized, it wasn’t being in the same office with the secretary that bothered me, it was the fact that I was working harder than ever just to give the secretary work to do so she could stay busy. Say what? I hired her to take the work off my plate, not to put more on it.
I didn’t have a Dictaphone and so I wasn’t able to have her type up any documents. Should have thought about that before I hired a secretary. And because she was so efficient at filing and everything else I gave her, once she was done, I had to come up with something else for her to do. I would be sitting behind my desk saying to myself, I hope she slows down, I hope she slows down, slow down! Now, I know that was not good for me.
And at the same time I was saying “slow down” to myself, I was thinking, what can I give her next to do? I was spinning my wheels just to come up with projects. And, the worst part of it all – I was not focusing on what I needed to do for my law firm clients.
I became consumed. I became obsessed. This was not good. This was bad, bad, bad.
I realized I had hired wrong. I hired, not the wrong person, she was great. I hired the wrong position. It was a painful mistake and process, because I had to let her go, and she didn’t deserve that.
Now, I still need help. So, I decided to look at someone who could help me with the law. I thought, well, I could hire a lawyer, but I am not sure I can afford a lawyer at this stage. So, I’ll hire a paralegal.
So, I hired my second employee! A paralegal! Yay!
Paralegals are amazing and brilliant people; they are very knowledgeable. There was just one minor problem for me, I did securities legal work, a highly specialized area of the law. I took companies public on the start market (IPOs), did reverse mergers, private placements and the like. Well, paralegals typically are not trained in this area of law. Well, most attorneys aren’t either, but be that as it may.
The paralegal I hired had no background or education in this field of law. It never dawned on me to read her resume, I just figured, great a paralegal! Wrong! I made my second mistake in hiring, not the wrong person, but the wrong position. Again, I had to face my wrongs and let the paralegal go, another bad day in my career.
I still need help!
I was finally getting it. I was finally realizing who it was I needed to hire, who it was who could help me.
And yes, I am sure you guessed it by now. An attorney!
Well, it wasn’t a fun journey, but I learned a lot. I finally realized what position I was looking for. And then after I did, I was able to look for and hire the right person.
And, yes, it happened. I finally made the right decision. I finally hired for the right position. I hired my first attorney! Yay!
And soon thereafter, I hired my second attorney and then my third.
And life was good.