Perfectionist, Workaholic and Control Freak…uh I mean Work Life Balance: By Michael Yen

Entering into the legal profession from an entirely different profession has been great for me in terms of perspective. This is especially relevant considering the topic of “work life balance”. Now, consider that I have jumped ship in the past from one employer to another, lured away by the prospect of greener pastures, only to find that the work life balance isn’t always better over there.

So what drives the desire for a better work life balance? For me, family is number one. Nothing rips at me more than having my kid ask if I’ll be home tonight, and then having to say no.

Julie Stauffer makes great points in her article, “Successfully Juggling Work and Family: Tips for Lawyers”. The one that works for me is having the right role-model; it will do wonders for you.

“It’s particularly helpful if other parents in the firm have blazed a trail before you. Not only can you draw on the precedents they’ve set, but they may also be valuable mentors.”

In my case, I have always been mentored by “workaholic” bosses, who demanded nothing less than the same. Imagine that. What did that instill in me? Certainly, I felt a lack of trust. Also I felt, begrudgingly, a desire to be the same. Walk the walk and talk the talk. This behaviour also made me a bit of a control freak and perfectionist if you will.


Consider John Starzynski’s thoughts in “Do I Think and Act Like a Lawyer or a Normal Person? Can They Be One and the Same?

A bit of a control freak am I?

“We often believe that we can control and micromanage when other people do things, what they do, and how they do it. In reality, others work on their own schedule, at their own pace, and with their own personal priorities. Not recognizing this, and growing frustrated because of it, can add stress to an already busy practice.”

Perfectionist you say?

“We feel that we are the only ones who can make sure that everything is done just right. It’s a huge understatement to say the stresses of perfectionism add to our daily pressures.”

Personally I like Anthony Bourdain’s thoughts from his book Kitchen Confidential,

“In my kitchens, I’m in charge, it’s always my ship, the tenor, tone and hierarchy – even the background music – are largely my doing.”

Ah, the satisfying feeling of male bravado. It is MY show, MY shift. I am the MAN! The BOSS, power galore! Yep, I have experienced that, which prompted some further thought.

Look at the article entitled “Understanding the Dynamics of Workaholism—Perfectionism Are you a perfectionist?” by Barbara Killinger, Ph. D.

“The proud workaholic, torn between arrogance and growing insecurity, solves the dilemma by consciously identifying with only those positive attributes that project an idealized public image. A persona that broadcasts success—how that individual wants to be perceived—must be preserved, sometimes at any cost.”


Work has become…wait hold on,

“Daddy, are YOU DONE yet?”
Uhh, yep.

About the Author

Paralegal Student
Communications Students.