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Archive for September, 2012

Weekend-rific

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Happy weekend!

And what a week it has been!  Today, I bring you great news and tidings of weekend joy!

First, thanks to Inside Indiana Business for publishing my story on a trend that I’m seeing in my world skyrocket: the dual degree phenomenon in health care and life sciences!  All those in health care and life sciences should consider it.  Why?  Well, read the article!  But seriously, health care is only getting more, not less complicated.  We need people who can speak different languages–like law and business–on top of the health care and patient care languages.  Coupled with skyrocketing higher educational costs, I think wise students now should consider the economies of scale choice by earning dual degrees at the same time, if they can swing it.

Second, October is national pharmacy month!  We’re celebrating it in Indy by a supplement in the October edition of Indianapolis Monthly around pharmacy practice, and the awesome things that pharmacists are doing in Indiana!  If you’re a pharmacist – THANK YOU FOR ALL THAT YOU DO and enjoy your month in October!

Have a great weekend, everyone.  If your week has been a doozy like mine – EXTRA props to all of us making it through!!  We did it!

The Degree of the Fail

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Well, back to report on the spetacular-ness of my failure for the Indiana bar exam.  I received my results yesterday.  While I didn’t fail by much, I’m happy to report that I didn’t achieve my worst nightmare by failing the bar: I didn’t miss it by only one point.

Thank. The. Lord!

In talking with my friends and family, many have continued to give me props for coming out of the closet on it.  Again, while it’s not my proudest moment, I have a duty to keep things real here.  I’m quite sure I have lessons in this debacle to learn, and I’d rather share my learning than covering it up, in hopes that it helps others to NOT spectacularly fail like me!

Which leads me to the next question I’ve been pondering these past 2 days: should I re-take the bar exam at all?

Below is my analysis:

Pros: I need and should finish what I start.  For law, that means passing the bar exam, period. Many people before me have gone the distance to take, repeat, and re-take the bar several times before passing without giving up.  And, while I’m many things, I’m generally not a quitter.  The lawyers in my network tell me, for the most part, to not give up.

Cons: Or, am I a quitter?  What if I never practice law as a lawyer, even if I was successful in passing the bar?  If I really think about why I went to law school in the first place, it was to advocate for my first profession (pharmacy), not to necessarily become a litigator or a transactional attorney.  Do I really want to go through 3 more months of preparation h*ll in order to attempt it again?

What if, as one of my law mentors says, it’s truly like a pie eating contest, and the prize is merely… more pie?  Do I want that as my prize?  Besides, in my entire network, I think I may know maybe 3 attorneys that absolutely LOVE being an attorney. (And I know my fair share of attorneys.)  The rest?  They hate it!

I’m on the fence on this one.

I have a few weeks to decide.

What do you think?

Hmmm……

Owning The Fail

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Well, still trying to get over the bad bar news yesterday.  And, still awaiting results to see how tragically and spectacularly I failed on the Indiana Bar Exam.

But, in the meantime, two things surprised me over the past 24 hours in response to my bad news.  First, I was surprised by those who came out of the closet privately to let me know that they, too, failed a really important exam the first time.  Second, I was surprised by how people really thought I would cover up or hide my failure.

First to others who failed.  Thanks for sharing!  Seriously – I’m in good company too when it comes to amazing people who have failed the bar exam the first time.  I appreciate those of you who tried your best to cheer me up by sharing your own failures as well.  It is a brave thing to admit that we fail from time to time.

Second, I’m surprised that many people thought I was going to cover up my bar fail.  When I shared my demise with one friend, she said, “Don’t worry, I’ll keep it on the DL.”

I replied, “Why?”  Why should we hide our failures?  We live in a world with impossible standards of perfection.  We live in a world where people are striving to be rock stars in their own right and make it look effortless along the way.  I certainly understand that.  But if we don’t share our failures, that makes us…artificial.  Saccharine.  Plastic.  Seemingly less human, at least in my book–because hey–I like to keep it real.  As I’ve said here before, and will say it again–I’m not perfect, and never will be.  So–we’re all going to face failure at one point or another in our lives.  I say own it, rather than it owning you!

That’s the two surprise messages I received over the past 24 hours.  I sincerely hope you’re out there with better news than me.  But above all?  I hope you are striving to keep it real too.  Real is more important than perfect, because perfection is impossible…and it really doesn’t exist.

#BarFail

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Well, the July Indiana bar exam magic list of passers came out today.

Unfortunately, my name was not on it.

I’m OK – thanks for asking – but I’m more heartbroken for a lot of my friends who didn’t pass as well.  And of course, congratulations are in full order for my friends who DID pass!

All is not lost, however, results are being mailed to us, including our scores, and if we’re close, we can appeal.  I’m pretty sure I know which section was not my strength – the multiple choice MBE portion.  As I’ve complained at this forum before, multiple choice questions are not conducive to law school.  We’re trained to analyze and look at many answers, and when forced to choose one, in my case – I fail in finding the answer the board examiners want counted as “correct.”  Ah, but this is not an excuse, just my feelings on the matter.

Life as they say will go on.

Another case brought to me by my friend, Failure.  It’s how we deal with Failure that counts.  Lord knows I have and will have my fair share of Failure.  But also as I’ve shared before, it is important to make Failure one’s friend, because we learn the most from him.

Of course, I’ll keep you all apprised of my progress through this next round of the law program…

 

The Rodney Dangerfield of Publishing

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Never let it be said that I didn’t fight for my people at this forum.  But, I have yet another rant to throw down for my reviewing and editing homies–myself included.  Here goes.

There’s dirty work that goes on in the world of publishing and awards in the professional world.  This work is often tedious, time-consuming, unpaid, and worst of all–uncredited.  What work am I talking about? But of course! It is reviewing and editing other people’s writing.

Most publishers will let on that it is an “honor” to be asked to review or edit material before it is published–particularly for peer-reviewed work.  Being asked makes you the expert, allegedly.  However, I’m here to tell you that the work of editing and/or reviewing is NOT given the credit it is due.

I’ve edited and reviewed several books now (the authors have been gracious about this – as they can relate to how much work actually goes into writing a book, and is an exception here–they’re great at giving credit where credit is due), book chapters, and other publications in “peer-reviewed” journals, as well as award contests.

This work is first of all, rarely paid.  Second, I’m pretty sure I’ve only received actual credit, in name, for one book chapter review thus far.  (OK, maybe a second, but the new edition of that book hasn’t been published yet – so jury’s still out on that one.)  Furthermore, I’ve never been given credit for reviewing award nominations, nor any of the peer reviewed journal articles I’ve reviewed–and I’ve reviewed now several of both.  Heck, on one internationally known award review program, I didn’t even get a token email thank you at the end of my pile of reviews that took me several hours to go through and evaluate!  I’m still waiting on that thank you, and I think I’ll be waiting awhile.

Lastly, I won’t even start on law review and the editing component.  (If you thought law review was just writing and editing your own stuff, wrong.  Part of the joy of law review is editing other notes, written by other people.  The worst notes to edit of all…? Written none other than by the law professors themselves – NOT the law students.  But I’ll stop right now on that rant.)

I’m. Not. Happy. About. This. (Can you tell?)

So–next time you editors-in-chief or review teams want to recruit me and my editing homies to review your stuff, I respectfully request you consider the following before asking us:

1. Pay us.  I don’t even dig editing my own stuff – why would I edit someone else’s, ESPECIALLY if I’m going to get zero credit for it?  If you can’t do cash, at a MINIMUM, offer up a copy of the book.  I always give those who review my books a copy of the book.  Otherwise – how can you review it properly?  It costs next to nothing, and yet, a lot of the books I’ve chapter-reviewed, I’ve not been offered a copy of the book.  Huh?!?  Yup.  If we’re talking review of a peer-reviewed-journal article, put a list of reviewers alphabetically at the end of each journal, or do it once at the end of the year as a thank you–or better yet, give us a subscription for editing so many article in exchange for our time.  It’s called consideration – and I think the publishing world may have forgotten what this word means.

2. Thank us.  It takes hours to review stuff and do it right.  If you’re not going to pay us, at least thank us for throwing away the one finite thing we have on this Earth to do your work – our time.  You need to include our reviews and/or names generically should we agree to review stuff for you, especially over a long period of time.  While I hear that excuse coming of, “we can’t reveal our reviewers for anonymity and/or conflict of interest purposes,” spare me.  I’d want to know whomever was reviewing my stuff was actually qualified to review it in the first place!

3. Offer to let us write instead as a thank you.  If we are really the subject matter experts on something, why are you asking us to review, when we should instead be writing it in the first place?  I’d rather spend time editing my own stuff than someone else’s, and if I’m the subject matter expert, I should be writing and editing my own stuff, period.

Look, I fully realize that professionals have a duty to help uplift their professions by peer-review and helping each other out.  I get it. However, that doesn’t mean doing everything for free, especially hard, tedious, time-consuming work, especially with zero credit.  Besides, if I loved editing, I’ve got an entire pile of editing to do on my own writing (and anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis knows that I have a LOT of editing work on my writing to do)!

I’m putting this out there because I think we’re doing our professions a disservice by not crediting those who step up to review and edit.  It’s time to give credit where credit is due.  Lastly, I’m ready to blame myself – shame on me for putting up with this, but I’m here to say that you all can officially hold me accountable.  The next time I get asked to be a reviewer, I will ask in advance whether or not the review is paid, or at a minimum if I will receive credit for the review.  That may sound selfish to some, but I don’t think a simple thank you or something in exchange of one’s time is unreasonable.  Editing and reviewing are work, and work should be paid.

Rant. Over.

 

 

The End of Men…And Something Else Even More Disturbing…

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Yesterday, I started reading The End of Men by Hanna Rosin.  Yes, the title is controversial, and so is the work.  I’m a little over halfway through it, and despite the horrors included in the book, such as women increasing their involvement in violent crime, and affirmative action for admitting males into college, I found something even more disturbing while reading it that I just can’t get out of my head.

It is this.

There’s a chapter in the book entitled Pharm Girls.  It talks about how pharmacy as a profession had more women than men a little earlier than a lot of other professions.  This isn’t new.  Even in my own pharmacy class back in undergrad, we were 2/3 women and 1/3 guys.  Not so striking. But what WAS striking to me were two things:

1. Pharmacy is subservient to medicine – Uhm, dear author, you’re just flat out wrong on this one.  Pharmacy is different from medicine.  You’re trying to say there’s a hierarchy of medical professionals, and note to you: we’re a team now.  One isn’t subservient to any other.  Thanks for trying to feed a completely antiquated stereotype.  Rant over on bullet 1.

2. Here’s what I’m struggling with the most: the author discusses entrepreneurship in pharmacy–now here is something I’m passionate about. She discussed back in the day that pharmacy was nearly all entrepreneurial – and that pharmacists had the respect of their communities.  They also apparently were all male, and they could lift a 50 lb. bag of materials to mix their mysterious potions and roll their fancy pills.  Great.  But with the entry of women into the profession, the author argues, that women entering themselves may have caused the demise of entrepreneurship in the profession.

Wait a minute.

Is she right?

I certainly hope not.  But if you really think about it – women in pharmacy were only something like 8% of pharmacy school enrollees in the 1960s and achieved parity in enrollment with men in 1985 in pharmacy schools, and the number of independent pharmacies has declined, while women enrolling in pharmacy school has actually increased.  While I think about my own network, I hate to say it – but more men than women own independent pharmacies in my world.  I only know a handful of women in pharmacy that are also entrepreneurial too.

Granted, one factor decreasing while another factor increasing does not necessarily relate directly (or inversely in this case) to causality.  However, I’m…disturbed by this author’s analysis, especially if she’s right.  In my own research, women start businesses mainly for flexibility too – and community practice independent pharmacy doesn’t exactly lend well to flexible work schedules.  However, on the other hand, women heading into entrepreneurship need resources to start their businesses, and with high base salaries in pharmacy, can allow women to start their businesses without seeking outside capital to start (which is something women business owners also don’t do–ask for money outside of themselves or their families for their businesses.)

As someone who always promotes women, entrepreneurship, and pharmacy practice, I’m now thrown off a bit.  Are some of these ideas incongruent?  I certainly hope not.  I am living proof that they can be congruent, but I’m a N of 1.  But, I now must carefully consider how to further develop entrepreneurship in pharmacy practice moving forward in my own classes, because I’m worried that the author here could be right in the majority of cases.

Clearly, I’ve got some thinking to do here…

The Alpha and Omega of Law School

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

After reading over four years of posts, rants, and rumblings about law school tonight in preparation for my next book – I had to take a moment and stop and ponder what truly is the alpha and omega of law school.  What did I come up with?

The Ziploc Bag. (Insert a circle R here – they don’t have them on WordPress.)

Why this?  Well, what’s the first step in plotting out one’s attempt at law school?  Answer: the LSAT.  The only thing you get to take into the LSAT are a few pencils…in a Ziploc Bag.

What’s the last step in completing one’s attempt at law school?  Answer: the bar exam.  The only thing you get to take into the bar exam are a few pencils…in a Ziploc Bag. (OK – you can in some jurisdictions take your laptop in too – but I’m looking for a pattern here, work with me.)  Although, since the Ziploc was invented in 1968, I wonder what bar takers used to haul their pencils into the exams prior…?

You see, now, when one really thinks about it, law school begins and ends with the exact same thing: a clear, plastic bag.

I just hope next week none of us are looking for them after bar results come out.

Putting the “I’m” into “imperfection”

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

This week, I’ve been editing part of my next book.  I’m trying a bit of a new experiment for this next one.  It’s about law school.  Part of the book will contain my head DURING law school itself, in the form of some of my previous blog posts during my law school tenure.

As I go back through my blog posts and other writing during my 4 years of law school, I’ve definitely noted one thing about my writing on my blog posts: they suck.

Seriously.

My writing on my blog is kind of my laboratory, and it shows.  The posts are littered with bad grammar, misspellings, and just a bunch of flat, poor writing.  For that, my dear dozen readers?  I apologize.  I’m sorry my writing is imperfect.

But I’ve often said to others, when it comes to writing, like much of the mess called life, there is beauty in imperfection.  There’s something comfortable about the flaws.  There is joy in the failure, because failure is where I learn the most, not success.  Failure is the energy on which I improve.

So – other than the sincere apology for my bad writing here, I want to thank you for continuing to read, despite my poor attempts at posts during these past few years.  I appreciate you, dear readers, for putting up with my less than stellar writing.  I promise, I’m working on it!

Now – back to more editing.  Since I’m good at imperfect writing, at least I’ll always have work in editing my own stuff. #JobSecurity!

A Fortnight of Limbo

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Right now, I’m in limbo.  But I’m not alone.  In 14 days, we (my fellow law school classmates and I) will find out if we officially passed, or did not pass, the Indiana bar exam.  This puts us all in a place called…limbo? Purgatory? Oblivion?  None of the words are right, but I think you get the picture.  That stuck place, where you feel as though you just can’t move forward or onward.

Sometimes, the unknown is scarier than reality.  Sometimes, it’s better to just know, that way you can at least move in one direction.  Right now, I’m circling.

Maybe you’re there too.  If you are, at least we’re in this together.  Don’t worry, though – it’s just a fortnight! (at least for the law peeps.)

Here’s the best news, to those of us stuck: the really magical part here is–we’re really not. We can move on–it’s just we are sometimes our own worst enemy. Change is scary…but the only thing scarier is being stuck. In limbo. Oblivion. Circling.

Cheers to all of us busting out of that circle soon!

 

Lips and Fingertips

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Why blog?

Well, right now I’m reading a GREAT book on online presence and growing your brand.  What book is it?  Well, it’s so d*mn good, that I’m not going to share it with you unless, of course, you email me – then I’ll tell you (but only you, my faithful readers)!

There’s something really, really poignant for me which is included in this book.  In it, it discusses why the author blogs.  Let’s put it this way: the author has street cred in my book.  He’s got over 100,000 followers on Twitter, tens of thousands of dollars in passive income from his website and writings, and has a full speaking calendar for the next year.

Anyway, back to blogging – he talks in the book about why he blogs.  He had a lot of original “reasons,” or so he thought for blogging – like to help the next generation of leaders, to increase traffic to his website, etc.  But what struck me most, is that he ultimately discovered why he was blogging.  His ultimate reason is found in the following quote:

“Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips and fingertips.” – Dawson Trotman

Yup – he discovered that – ultimately, he was blogging for himself!  Not so much as a “dear diary” of a personal nature, but more of as a way to get his thoughts flowing through his lips and fingertips – to create his BEST ideas.  He wanted better vetted ideas, and by blogging, he could actually get them on paper and enhance them through his own dialogue with himself.

I like this, although at first blush it may appear a selfish reason for blogging.  I, too, blog to untangle the web in my head.  (It’s a scary place.  Trust me on this.) I thought originally I started this blog to discuss my own law school journey – but it really has become more than that.  It is a way for me untangle and streamline ideas.

Why do you blog?  Is it for others, or really for yourself?  I think here, it’s OK to admit that ultimately you’re doing it for yourself.  And if, along the way, readers get something out of your blog?  Great!  That’s even better.

Now, I’m going back to this awesome book!