"If you're going through hell, keep going." Of all the quotes that have been recited back to me throughout the years--from Ben Franklin, Sun Tzu, Socrates, Confucius (the list goes on and on)--it's this quote by Winston Churchill that really stands out. It strikes an appropriate balance between the seriousness of a particular situation and the lighthearted humor we need to get through it. And it can be applied in almost any context--from running your very first mile or driving through a blizzard to struggling through law school or dealing with grief.
The first time I heard the quote was many years ago--uttered to me by a concerned friend. Over the course of one week in the dead of winter, my boyfriend broke up with me, I lost my job and I broke my hand. Between the devastating blow to my ego and painful surgery on my hand, I had to pound the pavement in search of a mid-level journalism position in a struggling economy. The task was arduous, and as easy as it would have been to curl up in a ball on my futon in my tiny studio apartment and cry myself to sleep, I didn't. With my one good hand and my powder-pink cast, I picked myself up and got to work. The job search in and of itself was full-time work, but I never stopped.
During the next two months, my ego healed, my cast was eventually removed and I sent out at least a hundred resum?s. Most importantly, I never once lost my momentum, and not so surprisingly, I landed a great position. I remember that feeling--the day I realized I had made it through hell. It was relief, joy, comfort and excitement for the future all at once.
In this month's cover story ("Thawing Out"), InsideCounsel takes a close look at the state of the legal department job market. For some in-house counsel, it's been a rough couple of years, but as the economy shows hints of improvement, legal department hiring is reacting. Experts do warn, however, that although they expect to see an increase in in-house counsel hiring in 2011, the uptick will be slight.
Regardless, for many in-house counsel who may have gone through Churchill's described "hell," chances are you kept going and are well on your way to the other side of it. It's time to look forward to a brighter future.