Changing it Up: New Year, New Perspective

One year ago this month, when the NAJIT Blog was just getting started, I ended my post with these words:

Whether you call it love, passion or simply enjoying your career, I think we can all agree that having a true calling and affinity for this profession is rewarded every day. For some, staying involved and actively seeking out opportunities for growth is easy, for others it may require more effort. No matter where we find ourselves on our career path, taking the time to really look at what we do to keep that passion alive is worth the time, and should be a commitment we all make. This year, I think I’ll make my career my Valentine. (

Happily, 2012 brought lots of wonderful adventures, both on the professional and personal side. Now, for 2013, after some six years working the criminal courts, I’ve been moved to a different location to cover the family law calendars. This welcomed change has been a sort of awakening, and a great reminder to actively pursue opportunities to stay fresh and keep from feeling hum-drum about our workdays or the profession in general.

A 2003 article by Irene S. Levine (Mind Matters: Getting Out of a Rut) goes into some points that we can relate to and apply when we’re feeling like we need change.

1. Self-identify. Surely, all of us were excited about the profession in the beginning, and yet we probably know somebody who seems to always be having a very bad day. When that somebody becomes us, whether it’s internal or external factors that have affected our attitude, we may be the last to realize it. Assessing our thoughts about working in the profession is a first step toward change.

2. Creative solutions. Doing things differently usually does the trick for me. Take a normal routine and shake it up, finding new ways to approach old issues. After you’ve identified the need for a change, change the way you normally handle your needs.

3. Share. When working within a group, make it a rule to be honest and discuss whatever seems to be affecting how you’re perceived. I’m very familiar with the dynamics of a large working group, and it’s easy to be pulled away from the enjoyment of the profession into the trivial and superficial things. When you’ve got a burden, sharing it may bring a group closer together and lay a foundation for others to improve their own viewpoints.

4. Discuss with the boss. When your attitude is affecting your performance, it’s bound to be noticed by those supervising your work. Having an open, honest discussion may allow a supervisor to implement changes , and put him/her on notice that you’re not yourself at the moment, but you’ll be back.

5. Switch gears. If you can’t stand what you’re doing, maybe you’re in the wrong line of work. If you can’t stand coming to work because of something other than your job, you may have let the routine get in the way. Finding a new assignment has reignited my passion for the profession and for the first time in a long time, and I feel challenged and excited. Changes are generally slow in coming unless we seek them out. In criminal court, the true challenge will probably not come from the outside, but instead from within. Finding a new calendar to focus on, looking for changes beyond what you normally do in a week.

6. Take care (aka: eat right, exercise, get away). Yeah, I know. Not the words we want to hear, but they make a huge difference in our brains. When we’re exhausted both physically and mentally, we simply cannot function. Some colleagues of mine enjoy a nap at lunchtime, while others might take a short run, and still others find time to simply walk in the sun for a while. I’ve found it helpful to do a little extra exercise when I know I’m going to need energy for an extra few hours. Coffee doesn’t always do the trick. These small changes in a daily routine can keep things fresh, and can even be an opportunity to become inspired by something we experience along the way. In any event, feeling good physically can help us feel more positive and content, which can be contagious. Everybody wins!

Like I said last year, it can be very easy to fall into a rut […] if we are in an isolated environment or have pretty much the same routine terminology come up day after day. Each of us has a responsibility to ourselves, our colleagues and our profession to take a good look at ourselves and be sure we’re at our best. Let’s keep this flame alive!

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. May this day of love and friendship – and all days in 2013 – bring you much personal and professional satisfaction!





0 thoughts on “Changing it Up: New Year, New Perspective”

  1. Kathleen says:

    I love this good advice! I have already printed this blog entry out, and will tape it to my computer hutch for encouragement. Thanks, Jennifer!

  2. Jennifer De La Cruz says:

    Thanks, Kathleen! The biggest one for me over the last few weeks has been “switch gears”. We all love what we do, but we’re not robots– gotta have the variety, huh! 🙂

  3. Al Navas says:

    Congratulations on the new assignment, Jennifer! As you point out, change is good, but it is especially so when we look forward to that change. Enjoy!

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