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Archive for December, 2012

My 2012 Winning Report

Friday, December 28th, 2012

After bringing you all kinds of fail yesterday – I promised you a balancing of the force, so today I leave you with a few bright spots of 2012.  And before I lay them out – I’d like you to take a moment and reflect upon your own 2012.

What did you win at during this crazy year?  If it’s huge, rock on!  Even if it is small – you still in my book should give yourself a pat on the back and celebrate the fact that you’re still here, fighting the power.  We had Sandy, tornadoes, Tsunamis, Snowmageddon, and all kinds of other insanity occur this year.  If you still have a roof over your head and/or you’re still breathing, I’m here to tell you that you’re doing a good job, and I hope for all of us we have an even BETTER 2013!  Remember, to the Mayans, 2013+ is all just gravy anyway!

What I rocked in 2012:

1.  I finished law school – beat the dead horse on this one too – or at least it feels that way, since I’ve got a book coming out on the topic. Right now, I won’t bore you with the details.

2.  I took on extra work at work – I took pharmacy law on a little earlier than I had planned, and I think did a decent job with it (that content is NOT easy to teach), and I also took on a job share with another that was completely unexpected.  In 2013, I’ll have a different role moving forward.  While “rocked it” isn’t the right term here, a good one is “survived,” as there was a lot on my plate here, but I tried my best, and that’s really all any of us can do, especially with unexpected situations.

3.  I helped some college students become first-time authors – nothing is cooler in my book as a teacher than watching the students become teachers themselves, especially in project-based learning.  One way to do this is through writing and publishing.  This interdisciplinary project was one of the coolest of my teaching career thus far, and it was a blast to work with a great cadre of younger authors.

4.  I went to 4 countries in 10 days in the EU – Belgium, France, Germany and Luxembourg – I toured a big chunk of Europe this summer after the bar exam, and I still dream of some of the food and wine I experienced in the Alsace region.  I’m still not sure what some of the French put in their sauces, but every time I want to lick the plate clean.

As for Germany, I had meat with a side of meat there (they love their meat), and Luxembourg had the oddest bathroom of a B&B that I’ve ever witnessed (I’ll spare you the details – it would take a book to describe that odd little space.)  They have good mushroom soup, though.

Those really are the hi-lights.  I’m not going to push my luck for 2012.  Really.  Survival was a good thing this year, if nothing else.

Here’s to a far, far better 2013 for all of us.  I think after getting through 2012, we deserve it!!!!

My 2012 Failure Report

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

I was doing my usual review of the internet last evening when I stumbled upon the following, in a much prettier script than shall appear here:

“Life is like photography.  We develop from the negatives.”*

I thought this was a swell opening to the review of my blunders for 2012.  Gee, there are so many, I’m not sure where to start with this post, and don’t worry–I’ll balance out this negative with a positive list of things I managed to get done after.  Here are the big kahunas:

My Biggest Blunders of 2012:

1.  I didn’t publish a book – while I helped some students at Butler launch their own first book into the publishing world (Pharmacy and Me), I can’t say I got this done for myself in 2012.  Too much–too much, I suppose.  Other things got in the way–some expected, some totally unexpected that I did my best to manage, and clearly what fell off the table was publishing.  Boo.  This is one of my favorite things to do – write and share stories with the universe on how other people can change their lives for the better, and shame on me for not making this a priority in 2012.

2.  I didn’t pass the bar – I think I’ve officially beaten this one to death.  Meh. The lesson here is that I probably said “yes” to too many other things. I’m working on that…but the more I think about it, I’m not really sure beyond one or two practice items for the bar I’d really change if I had to do it over again. The good news here is that I’m sharing this big blooper in my next book on law school in 2013 so maybe others can learn from one of the giant poppy seeds stuck between my two front teeth for 2012. Stay tuned.

3.  I didn’t meet about half of my goals for the year –  I just looked over my 2012 Goal Sheet for the year. Half of the goals? Totally not met. Too many goals? I don’t know. A 50% pass rate on my goal sheet in the classroom setting would be considered a big fat F. But in the school of hard knocks…50% isn’t terrible either. I’m still trying to figure out if I really want to do a goal sheet for 2013, and this week I’ll figure that out one way or another.

4.  I didn’t get to teach my entrepreneurship elective – This was due to a combination of failing the bar exam and having some other unexpected stuff pop on my plate at work this year. However, the only person here to blame for my lack of ability to take this on top of the other classes I am teaching and other stuff I’m juggling?  Moi.

Why am I sharing these? Well, first off all–they happened. It’s reality. But second, I’m trying to still understand what lessons are to be learned from my big 2012 blunders, so I can learn from them–and better yet, learn from them so history doesn’t repeat itself in 2013. After all, we develop from the negatives. Successful people like Warren Buffet always start with the failures too. They don’t walk away from them or just focus on their brilliance (i.e. “luck” + “hard work”).

Last, I think it’s important to share that all of us fail.  We can’t run shrieking from it.  It is an inevitability of life–and honestly, the more successful people have exponentially more failure too, because they try more things.  (Insert the Edison, 40,000 ways to fail at making a light bulb story here…which I’m sure you’ve already heard several times.)  The important thing is how we learn from it, move on and make the universe a better place.

Here’s to personal development…


*(I couldn’t figure out who was the original author of this quote either – I did look online, but couldn’t find it.)


Best Blog Post of 2012: 40 x 40, Continued

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

So, analytics I don’t usually look at that often when it comes to blogging, simply because this blog is first and foremost a place to plant my ideas and just watch what grows and what doesn’t.  But this time of year, near the end, I like to stop and take a look at what content resonated with you, my 13 fans – and by far and away, my number #1 post this year was: 40 Things Every Woman Should Know By Age 40.

I’ve been experimenting with slideshare this year a bit (like pretty much all of social media – I have no idea what I’m doing with any of it)  and trying to share content that I built for talks with others in follow up, so I thought I’d throw down a few of the best hits from the post above into a slide set for a slide share.  It’s also embedded below.  I hope that some of you find the post and slides helpful – particularly for those of you who set goals for the new year.

As for me, I’m still on the fence about setting goals for 2013.  Since it’s all gravy anyway to the Mayans, I’m thinking that it is all extra anyway, and why not just enjoy a year without killing myself by writing stretch goals?  On the other hand, the left brained gunner in me may just take over and force me to pen some top line goals anyway.  We’ll see who wins the battle in my head in a few days…in the meantime, enjoy and celebrate 2012 being almost over.  It’s been a crazy year – and can’t wait to see what 2013 brings all of us!


40 thingswomenshouldknowbyage40 from Erin Albert

Law School: A Few Short and Plain Statements

Saturday, December 22nd, 2012

I just approved the final galley for my next book, with aforementioned title–just now.  This moment.  Nothing better than getting another huge galley off the desk–collective sigh of exhausted relief! Apparently, it’s just in time for a few people who have contacted me of late who are “thinking about law school.”

If I rewind to 2006 and 2007 (something my friends know is not my favorite thing–dwelling in the past–), I loved learning about the process of applying to and considering law school.  The people I met through my second book, The Life Science Lawyer, had great insights, particularly for the life science geek in me to consider law school.  And, some of the folks I interviewed for that project have become long term mentors to me, which has been one of the best parts.

Ironic, considering that one of my favorite parts about law school was not the process itself, but the people I met, through a project, which had nothing to do with law school per se.  The wisdom of the people who shared their stories with me prepared me mentally for the challenge of learning the law, before I even stepped into a classroom.  Interesting.

This past week, someone randomly emailed me (another life scientist) who has been thinking about law school and business school and wanted to pick my brain.  Of course I said the book was coming…standby for a few weeks.  But the reason why I wrote this new book on law school was to KEEP IT REAL for everyone else who is pondering the thought of it.  It’s kind of my karmic obligation to pay forward the wisdom that 30 other life science lawyers shared with me when I started my journey, and sharing a few things I picked up on my own during the law school roller coaster too.  Now that I’m ending my own, it’s payback time!

(p.s. – if you want to follow the magic of the new book, there’s a Facebook Fanpage just set up…and keep your eyes on the  website, which should have links to the book in early 2013.)

Living So Far Into the Future

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

First off, my apologies–one for not writing much, (although, to some that may be a good thing) and two, for the blog being down due to “host” issues.  (Thanks, GoDaddy.) BUT – they fixed it after a brief Twitter interlude, so I’m back!

Also, this last quarter of 2012, I’ve noticed that I’ve been focusing even more than I normally do on the future of late.  For example, I’ve been cranking on my mission to flip one of the classes I teach, and have been recording lectures.  I’m to the midterm of that class and about half the material for it is now recorded.

This is for pharmacy law – which is a course with so much law in it that I’m struggling to get in what I need to in one semester, 3-credit hour class.  (For example: healthcare reform (PPACA) alone is over 1000 pages, and I barely touch the tip of it in this class).  But – the class will officially roll out in just a few short weeks, when the spring semester rolls back in.  To my students, I try to apologize – but I didn’t write the federal and state laws that surround one of the most regulated professions out there.

Meanwhile, while recording lectures for 1Q13, I’m also still planning on an interesting fall semester of 2013 as well during some time away from Butler via sabbatical.  As to where I’ll go and what I’ll do – that’s all at the mercy of someone else right now to decide; we shall see what happens there.

Today, before the “studio time” (it’s my home office – it’s not that cool, but it is quiet), I worked on a class I’d like to offer in the spring of…get this, 2014.  It’s planning ahead, and as the futurist I am, I dig…but…am I missing anything in the present?  Is there anything I should be reflecting on in the past instead of focusing on 2014 already?  With the Mayans not thinking there will be a 2013, I often wonder…

Regardless, I hope you are taking a pause soon to enjoy the holidays with your friends and family, which I hope to do soon myself.  Right after I edit my 9+ hours of recorded lectures for next spring…

My 2012 Holiday Card To You

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

Greetings of…2012.  While I can’t say it has been my best year (nor Earth’s), it has definitely lived up to being a crazy one–on several fronts.

Nonetheless, I failed at mailing out any greetings this year, so I thought I’d post mine instead.

Here’s to hoping that 2013 is full of good things–like peace, love, happiness and healing for the entire universe!


2012 Holiday Card from Erin Albert

More on Giving the Haters….

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

…the middle finger.  In a nice way, of course.

I’ve always said that the very best revenge is success.  When handed lemons–you know the drill–make lemonade.  Yesterday was no exception.  I received some really bad news on something I was really looking forward to trying in 2013, but no dice.  Nada.  Not going to happen, and honestly, probably never going to happen now.

I felt the usual bits of the 12 stages, then I got stuck on angry.  Then, I did what I always do–I tried the success route.  Friends–last night I turned in my new book manuscript to the publisher.  Yay!  Also, scored an AMAZING speaker for one of my classes and another CE event we’re throwing at work this summer.

So, my friends, when the power of the negative Nellies in the universe flip you the bird, flip it right back.  How?  By working even harder, putting more of yourself out there, not being afraid to fail, and garnering even more success.  Make sure you do it with a smile on your face too.

The haters HATE that!

5 Simple Rules to Get Unstuck

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

First off – thanks to all for the love on yesterday’s haters post.  Sounds like it struck a chord with others – LOVE !

Someone asked me today in the middle of one of the thank you emails about how to get out of being “stuck” in a career.  It’s a great question.  Here are my thoughts (as someone who has previously been there, done that myself…now that I’m er…older…)

How to get unstuck in a career:

1. Recognize you need help – in one of my previous jobs (I won’t say which one) there wasn’t a bright line moment for me on admitting I was stuck.  It instead began as a hint, which then grew into a daily dread of going to work every day.  It took about 6 months to a year for me to finally admit that it was time to move on.  If you’re a little fuzzy on whether or not you’re stuck, bounce your thoughts off of a friend whom you trust, and a friend that also will keep it real with you.  (Not one of those frenemy types, or superficial friends.  Ask the person who lets you know you have a poppy seed stuck between your middle teeth.)

2.  Take inventory – Once you admit there’s a problem–go on an inventory of you.  Inventory your strengths, talents, passions, and what someone will actually pay you to do.  If you don’t know what these are – there are plenty of tools out there to help you assess you.  Strengthsfinder is a good one.  I like the Holland code too (although, it can give some strange results – which may or may not be helpful.  If nothing else, when I last took it, I considered some careers I never would have even thought fit my skills before taking it.)

3.  Bring in the A-Team – Once you’ve got a good handle on who you are, next step is to get around people who are doing stuff you dig.  Get A-Teamers – those who are rocking what they do.  Ask them questions–like what they love about their work, and what they don’t love about it.  Take inventory of the area(s) or career(s) you’re interested in, or might be interested in.  Also, get around A-Team level networkers too.  While they may not be doing what you want to do (one of the best networkers on the planet is Harvey Mackay, an envelope company owner), they may be able to connect you to others who share your passions.

4.  Spread it like a plague – Also, if you can ID 3 things you want to know more about in a career – tell EVERYONE YOU MEET about what it is you want to learn more about.  I’ve got a lot of great, semi-creepy stories around this one.  If you share with the universe what it is that you want, it’s creepy how fast it will come back to you.  Really.  None of us are part of the psychic friends’ network, so spill it on what you want and stand back, because it might just come at you faster than a speeding bullet.

5.  Thank everyone – This may seem like a no-brainer, but one more time–make SURE you THANK everyone who takes their time to meet with you, and ensure you are grateful for picking their brains.  I say go old school and thank them with a hand-written note if and when you can too.  Think about it–there’s a lot of potentially infinite resources in this universe – but the one thing none of us ever gets back is time.  If someone took their time to help you get unstuck, I can think of no higher honor.  Be sure to thank them for their help!  They didn’t have to help you–stuck or unstuck!

That’s 5 simple rules to get your career moving forward again, should you feel a little stymied.  And look at it this way – now is the BEST time to get started on this – because we’ve got a brand new year coming up.  (Besides, nothing like the extra added pressure of the world potentially ending in a few days either, right?)  If you take these 5 simple steps, your stickiness is as good as goo-goned.

The Haters & Critics: Your Next New Brilliant Marketing Campaign

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Three stories, one point, I promise.

First story: I was checking my usual social media outlets before going home this afternoon from work.  I popped by Instagram.  I saw as well that my friend, Chef Neal Brown (chef and owner of Pizzology here in Indianapolis – and one of my favorites) posted a picture of a T-shirt.  Here’s what the T-shirt said, “”The ingredients were overly stuffy and trying to hard too be trendy and cool.”  -A Yelp Review of Pizzology.”  (Yes, I re-typed the ‘too’ and ‘to’ uses to mirror the shirt exactly.)

One of his friends posted that this was the best new marketing campaign EVER.

Second story: I received feedback (60 minutes of it) from a very well-intended lawyer today on my bar essay results and answers from last July’s bar exam.  While this person was truly trying to help, it was brutal – I won’t lie.  One of the comments this person repeated over and over that very long 60 minutes was, “Get to the point in your writing–you’re using too many words.”  Uhm, for the writer in me, that really didn’t compute–isn’t the point of writers–to be a little wordy?

Along with my word over-embellishment, I did disclaim at a talk I gave recently that I was NOT a lawyer – just someone who went to law school.  What did I receive for that comment?  APPLAUSE.

Third story:  Butler University has been heavily criticized recently from a student posting a piece in a college website about dropping a class that he didn’t feel comfortable taking because of inclusive language in the syllabus. While I don’t personally know the professor in question, my understanding is that the professor was truly trying to challenge students by attempting to take off the lenses of preconceived notions about the world in the classroom and be open to different points of view – i.e. inclusiveness.  Instead, the student dropped the class after being offended.*

The bottom line here?  There’s vitriol in the professor trying to get the students to see DIFFERENT points of view and BE INCLUSIVE OF ALL VIEWPOINTS.  Really?  Isn’t that what college is about–checking everything you know and challenging what you previously thought about the world by discussing different points of view–and above all, agreeing to disagree?

Here’s my point:  I’m starting to think the haters and critics are one’s BEST cheerleaders for how we each stand out–and should be our next marketing campaigns.  Chef Neal thinks so.  I got applauded for my fail–and criticized for writing too much! (Something any writer with writer’s block would warmly welcome!)  And Butler should be TELLING THE UNIVERSE that in fact – YES – WE LOVE inclusive thinking and totally different viewpoints in the classroom!  Instead of hiding our critics’ and haters’ snarky comments underground, why not just put them on a T-shirt and OWN them?  I think it might actually be BRILLIANT as a marketing campaign!

So, T-shirts for all! Neal has his.  Mine should read: “Not a lawyer, due in part to overly descriptive, flowery writing,” and Butler’s new T-shirt should read, “BU: Accused of being inclusive: GUILTY!* (*Even if you disagree with us!)”  Welcome the haters and the critics – they just might give you your next most-brilliant marketing campaign–ever!

(*Disclaimer: This is my opinion only on the BU story.  While I do work for BU, I’m also an alum of the university – so my opinion here is mine and mine alone as an alum here – not necessarily my employer’s or as an employee.)

Career Pies and Stables

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

I am doing my usual Sunday morning watching of TV – CBS Sunday Morning – and a couple of stories along with a trade of posts I did on Twitter last week inspired this post.

First, on CBS, they interviewed Ben Affleck first.  Not for his acting, but for his work in the Congo to create positive chocolate commerce and economic development in an unstable, war-torn region.  Hmm…not the first thing that comes to mind for Ben.

Next, also on the same show, they interviewed another actor, Alan Cumming, on his body of work.  He’s also got a perfume line, and he’s technically an actor/producer/writer/director and author too.

OK – back to the Twitter post.  It was an article sent to me by a friend on the 70-20-10 Model of a career, here.  While I thought the article was a decent start on explaining career development, I don’t think it’s right, and I tweeted as such.  The author asked why.  Let me try to explain it now, based upon my other two stories I shared with you previously.

New career stability is NOT to have one career pie, as is shown in the 70-20-10 Model anymore.  It instead is to have a STABLE of career pies.  Just like the actors/writers/directors/authors/philanthropists I mention above – ONE individual now has multiple careers.  Furthermore, each of those careers in that stable of careers for the individual are in different stages of development.

For example, I’ll take my own life right now.  I am a pharmacist, entrepreneur, author, professor and adding on law, hopefully, one of these days.  My first profession of all of these was pharmacy.  If I think about a pie chart for my career in pharmacy, 70/20/10 isn’t quite right.  When I first started in pharmacy right out of school, the pie chart was more like 95/2.5/2.5.

That was (way too many) years ago, but now when it comes to pharmacy almost 20 years now, I’m probably closer to the 40/35/25 area.  I still pay attention to core pharmacy operational stuff, but I’m at a point in my pharmacy career where I’m looking at the bigger picture, trying to develop and advocate for the profession at a broader level, and work with people outside of my profession rather than just inside of it to show the universe what pharmacists can bring to the table.

That’s the pie for pharmacy.  Now, the pie for the entrepreneur in me is different.  I’ve been doing that for awhile, but not as long as pharmacy, technically.  I think my pie chart in that domain is around 85/7.5/7.5.  I’m still trying to understand the core competency of entrepreneurship by learning through and networking with other entrepreneurs.

If I do this for writing and publishing, that pie chart is so messed up right now, I don’t know if I could even attempt to chart it.  The publishing industry itself is changing so quickly, I’m having a hard time catching up – so the core is around 100% right now. I’ll spare you from trying to create pies on the other parts of me and my career stable.  Suffice it to say that different careers I have right now are in different stages and have different pie charts.

Here’s my point: one pie anymore isn’t going to cut it.  We SHOULD have a stable of multiple career pies with different pie charts changing as we move through our careers.  When you’re first still new to a profession, your core focus should be higher, then over time will shrink, and you’ll spend less time with those inside the profession and more time with outsiders.  I don’t think the 70/20/10 model above is just that simple when it comes to the new career model anymore.  This may have worked 30 years ago, but not now.

Second, if you’re smart, you’ll be adding new pies to your career stable over time.  I tell my students in pharmacy this all the time: if you’re just putting all your energy into ONE profession for the course of your entire career, that’s like putting all your eggs in one basket–really dangerous to do.  If you’d like to check me on that, look at the industries that have crashed and burned in the recent economic crisis.  If you’d like to go back even further, try the buggy whip industry.  You can create more pies by following aspects of your first career that you love–like writing about it, or going back to school to add on to it, or even do both in a totally different direction, like I sometimes do currently.

And there’s probably a generalist vs. specialist argument here…but I always go back to the buggy whip counterargument on that.  Who cares if you’re the best d*mn buggy whip maker ever?!?

May you have a lot of pies in your stable, allocated differently during the course of your career.