Empathy day

I’m feeling sad today, not for myself, but for a friend who suffered a serious hit professionally, in a costly and humiliating way.  My friend is a very good person and very smart person, but he ended up going down the wrong path because he fell in love with a position that functioned well in an intellectual vacuum but that failed to pass the real world test.  I mention it here both because I don’t feel like blogging right now (I’m really sad for him) and because it is a reminder to all of us that we cannot fall so in love with our theories that we fail to take a reality check now and then.

19 Responses

  1. You have a good heart, Book. Happy Hannukah to you and your loved ones! Remember those who picked themselves up and persevered.

  2. Wisdom always commands a high price. Far more than intelligence ever did.

  3. Sorry about DQ. I’m sure he’ll rebound. Does this change your own relationship with the firm, Bookworm?

  4. Exceptionally nasty, Greg, and very wide of the mark.

  5. Empathy usually expresses itself differently than what your words convey, Bookworm.

  6. “My friend is a very good person and very smart person, but he ended up going down the wrong path because he fell in love with a position that functioned well in an intellectual vacuum but that failed to pass the real world test.”

    Al gore?

  7. Hi Bookworm –

    It sounds like your friend was simply human.

    I’ve noticed that as I get older, I find myself being less harsh with others and more empathetic. More empathetic because so many problems that people have are the result of them doing things that sometimes aren’t all that different than things I have done in my own life. I recognize my own failings in their failings.

    Bookworm, you DO have a good heart. I am confident that your friendship will come to mean a lot to this man in the near future.

    Take care. And a blessed Hanukkah!

    Deana

  8. Thanks to everyone but Greg for their comments. My friend’s problem truly was a “there but for the grace of God” situation, because he didn’t do anything unprincipled. He just did what so many lawyers do, which is to get lost in the intellectual excitement of an argument and then to lose track of the larger issues.

    I didn’t see my friend today but have heard that he’s keeping a brave face and trying to be philosophical, which is truly the best one can hope for under the circumstances.

  9. I love you Book because you always reveal your stripes

  10. Bookworm,
    I am sorry to hear about your friend; my wife supported my return to the military as a full-time analyst even though it meant moving the family and essentially betting it all on my ability to keep (and justify the continued existence of) the position. There have been hard times, especially during the budget delays, and the deployments are rough.
    On the other hand, if your friend is still young enough (under 40) and willing to do whatever is necessary to recover his life (and some earning power), send him a note to contact his local military reserve office. We’re critically short of attorneys for both Staff Judge Advocate (the command’s prosecution/advisor), Legal Defense (an independent command responsible for defending military personnel in court martial/article 15 proceedings) and Legal Assistance (tax, power of attorney, will, etc.) positions. It doesn’t pay all that well (full time officers earn about 50K after taxes) but it is rewarding and a good way to “build” resume items outside the usual field.
    I know, I’m always recruiting for the military. Sorry about the pitch if it is off-key or off-center. I have found that people that have problems with focus and real-world interaction almost always benefit from military experience. It also provides good access to support programs. If your friend is a bit idealistic then he’d be right at home here; a majority of military lawyers I know are very accepting of differing opinion and a bit starry-eyed.
    Best of luck to your friend, wherever his path may lead.

    SGT Dave
    “It is better to leap for the stars and fail than wallow in the mire and succeed.”

  11. Hi BW,
    It’s good your friend is keeping a brave face. I’d suggest he see your’s soon. You are without question a warm and healing presence.
    My own biggest failure led to one of the greatest successes of my life, and I’m still working at it. Nothing as dramatic as you friend, I would think, but he will prevail. Sgt Dave’s suggestion is valid.
    Al

  12. Sgt. Dave’s suggestion is valid — except that my friend is too old and too liberal. Also, because it’s not happening to me, I’m more optimistic than he is that this is an unpleasant bump in the road, rather than the end of the road. Time will tell, of course, but I certainly agree with Al that those experiences that seem horrible at the time may put us on a valuable life trajectory. Indeed, one of my all time favorite books, Neville Shute’s A Town Like Alice is built around precisely that notion.

  13. I don’t think that your friend will ever be too old (too liberal, though, that’s a tough one). Tell your friend that the sun always breaks out after the storm to put things in a much brighter perspective, if it doesn’t offend him to get all this advice from neo-cons.😀

  14. Danny,
    Agreed in spades.
    Al

  15. Just for the record, greg, I’m not the friend with the problem, although he is a friend of mine, too, and I feel bad for him.

  16. I know, I’m always recruiting for the military. Sorry about the pitch if it is off-key or off-center.

    World would be a better place with more US military recruiters, Dave. That, I think, Book would agree with.

    Tell your friend that the sun always breaks out after the storm to put things in a much brighter perspective, if it doesn’t offend him to get all this advice from neo-cons

    I like my saying. There is a silver lining in every dreadnought. Or maybe battle steel gray, pick your colors.

  17. That’s so funny. I just bought Neville Shute’s A Town Like Alice the other day.

  18. You are lucky, Tap, to have a wonderful read ahead of you. It’s a great story and, for a “mere” novel, a most profound book about the meaning and purpose of life and sacrifice.

  19. Well, you know, I had to make a trip to the bookstore, and had decided to treat myself to 1 or 2 books that were just for pleasure.I had actually printed a list from your book thread, but somehow I left it at home.

    It’s so odd that I had intended to use the recommendations from your website and then when that fell through I randomly chose a book that you then recommend a day later. Pretty neat.

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