The public relations industry operates on this platform: the conviction that it isn't what happens to you, it's how you handle it. That mindset is the core of the growing crisis communications niche in PR.
Given the current crush of competition in the legal sector, the probability is high that the Associate Class of 2016 will encounter their very own crisis situations in their workplace.
Even those most socially intelligent are likely to become enmeshed in situations which are not only upsetting. They also could derail a career at that law firm. Reputations, as Mark Herrmann, Aon in-house counsel and former Jones Day partner, observed, are made quickly in law firms. Once made, they harden like cement.
Copy of "Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Riuz. One chapter of this book hammers that nothing is personal. Negativity is framed as The Other spreading poison. The trick is not to consume that poison as it is being let loose on the universe.
Not taking the higher-up's tirade personally prevents getting unduly upset. It also positions you to manage whatever.
One more thing: There's no payoff to doing a psychological workup on the miscreants. In addition, don't share the experience with others in the firm. That could get them thinking that you were at fault. Yes, you could be providing ammo to be branded as less-than. If you must talk about it, share in a safe place. The workplace is never a zone for safety.
The phrase "thank you." The socially acceptable device for short-circuiting what could become a crisis is to simply use the phrase "thank you." You could tack on, "I appreciate the feedback." Usually that dismisses the miscreants. They didn't get your goat and they go elsewhere. Meanwhile, you remain cool.
A planner for The Next. The odds are that you will not remain in the firm for more than a few years. You might not feel it's a fit or you might get that tap on the shoulder. The focus on The Next siphons off the emotional energy that would have been invested in The Now.
One of the steps toward The Next might be networking with those in other organizations. The sure-fire way in is to do favors for those with influence and power. Maybe their daughter has her heart set on Yale. You went there. Be detailed with how that admission system works.
The more possible options you have the less seriously you will take what's currently happening.
A list of local free support groups. What defuses inner turmoil is understanding how many human beings are also in emotional pain. You can bear witness to that at any of the almost infinite number of no-charge support groups. They range from Emotions Anonymous to Dharma Punks at the Shambhala Buddhist Temple. The list of them, with schedules, is posted on the internet.
However, such groups attract the troubled. So, be circumspect in sharing. And whom you bring home.
Cliffnotes for "The Prince" by Machiavelli. Understanding the mechanisms of how to get, hold, and increase power is a prerequisite to managing your destiny. There are many books on that. But you're smart enough to pick up all you need from the Cliffnotes examination of the fundamentals of "The Prince" by Machiavelli.
The more power you are perceived to have the less miscreants will target you for passing on their poison. In addition, it's a career tutorial in itself to analyze how other players in the firm leverage any bits of power that they have.
In 1990, PR player, Bob Dilenschneider, published the book "Power and Influence." At that time, discussing those subjects in public was verboten.
So, I tagged Dilenschneider as a must-watch. One of his most effective power tactics is listening.
That, of course, goes back to human-relations genius, Dale Carnegie. He hammered the importance of showing a sincere interest in other people. Part of active listening is asking questions. That can set the relationship on a roll. And you are the one who controls the situation.
The more tools you learn to use from this tool kit the better equipped you are to get through the day, the month and the next few years without a meltdown. Meltdowns are nothing but a vacation from the hard job of coping with what is. Experience shows that it is easier to cope than to rebrand after a meltdown.