Do days seem to be more draining now than before remote work and distance learning became commonplace? If you feel this way, you’re not alone. In fact, the vast majority of people working remotely would agree that their energy levels are dropping by the day. The problem is that this sluggishness is creeping up on everyone despite the absence of rush-hour commutes, in-person meetings, and random drop-ins by colleagues to discuss another small project to put on your plate. So why is everyone so tired now, and what can we do to prevent it?

Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile from Pexels

Much of what makes us tired can be attributed to the unedited sound of digitally transferred voices during video calls. A standard microphone (whether a laptop’s built-in mic or one attached to a set of headphones) transforms voices, which is why you can spend hours upon hours listening to music and podcasts but feel exhausted after a single video call. Raw sound transferred over the internet is taxing on our ears, and unless everyone starts using professional-grade equipment it will remain an issue we just have to deal with.

Additionally, much more focus is required during video calls in order to absorb information. Physical gestures, posture, and even a sense of ritualism are all lost when in-person meetings disappear. Without the ability to read body language and non-verbal clues, all attention shifts to the words themselves, making sure you hear and understand everything the second it’s said, and maintaining constant eye contact for the duration of the call. That, combined with the physical strain of listening to unedited audio, is why remote learning and remote working days seem so much more exhausting than a traditional work day.

Now the question is how to combat Zoom fatigue.

Step Away

One of the best ways to prevent digital exhaustion is by simply stepping away from your computer for a few minutes. Short breaks are a normal part of work and school days, so why should virtual days be any different? Walk around your house or get outside (safely) for 10 minutes every few hours. A quick reprieve from your screen will do wonders for your energy levels.

Focus on the Call

For the reasons outlined above, it’s important that you give as much of your attention as possible to the video call while you’re on it. It’s tempting to multitask while on a video call, especially if you don’t need to speak at any point. However, this is often counter-productive. The amount of focus required for video calls means that sharing your attention with another task will harm both the quality of that secondary task and reduce the amount of information you retain from the call. It’s a mistake to think of it as “splitting” energy between activities, as that implies you’d be using the same amount of focus whether you’re only on a call or multitasking; instead, you’d actually be multiplying you energy output, depleting what little reserves you may have left at an exponential rate. If it’s not something that needs to be done immediately, wait until after your call to send that email or continue work on your memo.

Limit the Number and Duration of Calls

Also be sure to limit the number of virtual meetings per day, if possible, and try to go no longer than 50 minutes at any one time. This will ensure that you have adequate time between calls to take care of other tasks or get up to address other issues at home. Going through a full day of back to back video calls is a quick way to ensure you’ll be exhausted for remainder of the week, and even just a few hours of nonstop calls will drain your energy for rest of the day.

Sometimes it’s unavoidable to spend all day on calls, but if you follow these tips you’ll be able to reduce the impact Zoom fatigue has on your days. And with remote working and distance learning looking like permanent fixtures at some level for the foreseeable future, every little bit will help.

We want to take a moment to offer our support to our community and all those reeling in pain as a result the systemic and historical racial injustices that have brought us to this point. We honor and acknowledge the lives lost as a result.

We at the CDO are here to support you and to stand in solidarity with the Black community and our students and alumni of color. We stand with those rising up against injustice and join those demanding profound and permanent reform.

If you are suffering, please know that you are not alone. We are with you. We hope that we can lean on each other and feel inspired to produce the just and equal society of which we all dream, and for which, as lawyers, we strive to create.

 

To those that we’ve lost, and their families, we acknowledge you, we honor you, and we mourn for and with you. Our world is worse because you were taken from us.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Please remember that McGeorge Counseling and Psychological Services continue to be available to all students. You can call 209-946-2315, ext. 2 to speak with someone.

Stay strong. Stay safe.

#BlackLivesMatter #JusticeForAll #EducationEmpowers #StandTogether #Allies #McGeorgeTogether #McGeorgeProud

Losing your summer associate job may feel like the world is crashing down around you, but it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Alternatives to summer associate positions are out there, it’s up to you to take advantage of them. Future employers will want to see that you used your time wisely after losing a summer associate position, and there are many ways for you to show them that your work ethic and enthusiasm for the law didn’t dry up with the job market.

McGeorgeCareersOnline

If your summer associate job offer has been rescinded, one of the first places you should look to replace it is right under your nose: McGeorge. Not only are many alumni asking us to post open positions in their offices on McGeorgeCareersOnline (MCO), but professors at McGeorge are now hiring more Research Assistants than in previous years in an effort to aid our students. The increase in these positions means there are many opportunities available for those looking to get some practical experience on their resume. Not only are RA positions paid jobs, but they typically involve working just a few hours each night, allowing them to be combined with other full- or part-time positions if you’re able to line up something else, as well. Additionally, the CDO will continue to send out our “Hot Jobs” emails throughout the summer, which highlights various open positions found on MCO.

Pro Bono Opportunities

Although unpaid internships and pro bono opportunities won’t provide the income you may have been expecting, they’re nevertheless great sources of practical experience. Pro bono service is a fantastic resume builder, and with the current economic impact of COVID-19 there’s a surge in demand for lawyers and law students who are capable of offering their time and knowledge. Interested students can fill out this form to receive more information from the ABA about their ongoing pro bono project designed specifically for law school students.

Networking

Instead of working for an agency or firm for the summer, you can also use this time to create connections through McGeorge’s Alumni Advisor Network. Now, more than ever, building a strong professional network will be one of your most valuable tools when searching for a future job. With much of the country remaining under stay-at-home orders and unease about spending too much time in public settings, connecting with our alumni via Zoom or over the phone can be done quickly and from the comfort of your own home. The connections you develop and nurture this summer will play a major role in your career path. Be sure to also keep an eye on your email for invitations to join the CDO for our Alumni Q&A sessions every other Friday on Zoom starting June 5, which are great ways to connect with various McGeorge alumni in a casual setting over the lunch hour.

Non-Legal Opportunities

In an ideal world, everyone seeking a legal position for the summer would find one, but that’s not the world we live in. You need to pay rent and buy groceries, so it’s OK to take a non-legal summer job if that’s what it takes to make ends meet. Go ahead and take that retail job, bag some groceries, or temp in an office if you can. Try combining your non-law-related job with any of the other alternatives mentioned to make the most of an imperfect situation.

Take a Break

If all else fails, or if the stress of the pandemic is too much for you to bear, it’s alright take a break this summer. There’s no reason to feel bad about taking a couple months off for yourself, and there’s only so much you can do if the jobs and opportunities you’re looking for simply aren’t there. Take some time to reset mentally and prepare for the coming fall semester. It’s a time of uncertainty for everyone right now, and sometimes the best course of action is to simply relax and prepare yourself for whatever tomorrow may bring.

Looking into the finer details surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be surprised to find that the legal job market actually remains fairly strong, especially in comparison to the overall job market. While no industry has proven immune to the rise in national unemployment, legal occupations have the lowest unemployment rate as tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Check out TaxProf’s recent article to read more about the status of the current legal job market and the positive outlook for prospective lawyers.

At this time last year, most people could only dream of spending their days at home, “going” to class or working from the comfort of their couch. Today, that’s the reality the vast majority of us find ourselves in, and it’s not the cushy and care-free life we had envisioned. We’re not being “allowed” to attend class and work remotely – we have to do those things remotely because state and federal orders are prohibiting most people from leaving there house for anything but essential activities. With virtual classes and remote working presenting an unknown challenge to both students and experienced lawyers, now is the time to forge a new path yourself.

Above The Law recently published an article detailing a handful of tips for students and lawyers facing feelings of unease and uncertainty after the legal profession has seemingly been turned on its head overnight. For anyone stressing about how they’re going to find a job in today’s climate, or anyone who’s trying to progress their career goals, the tips here may prove invaluable.

You can read the article in full at the following link: “4 Steps To Growing A Legal Career In Sweatpants”.

In times like these we have to get creative and adapt our routines to maintain physical and mental health. The Sacramento County Bar Association has shared various resources for law students and legal professionals to maintain a healthy lifestyle while staying at home.

You already have everything you need at home to maintain a healthy body: yourself. The SCBA is partnering with Alexa Garcia Fitness to offer free live at-home workouts every Monday – Friday from 11:00am – 12:00pm. Exercising on a regular basis helps to maintain mental health and, obviously, makes you physically healthier – allowing you to be more productive and focused while you work. Perhaps best of all, you can participate from the comfort of your living room.

Addressing mental health more specifically, the mental resiliency needed to stay home all day, every day can’t be underestimated. Coping with the stress, anxiety, and challenges of stay-at-home orders is essential to maintain overall well-being. Attorney Dennis Warren, a former Clinical Professor at UC Davis School of Medicine and Medical Center, is offering free meditation sessions every Monday from 12:00pm – 12:30pm. Interested law students and SCBA Members can sign up by emailing Dennis at COVID19Meditation@gmail.com.

Additionally, lawyers and law students are invited to attend a free Zoom event this Thursday, April 2 from 12:00pm – 1:30pm with Cami McLaren of McLaren Coaching to express, hear and overcome challenges presented by remote working. Thousands of lawyers are experiencing extended remote work for the first time, and many are feeling unproductive due to suboptimal work environments and a plethora of distractions. If you’re finding that working from home is a challenge, you can find comfort in the fact that there are hundreds of other individuals facing the same challenges. If you’re interested in learning how to improve your remote working habits and hear from others in similar situations, you can RSVP to Cami at cami@mclarencoaching.com.

As always, the McGeorge CDO is also here to provide remote support for students and alumni seeking career-related assistance. Email us at lawcareers@pacific.edu with all of your career-related needs and concerns.

With the anticipated end of social distancing and statewide stay-at-home up in the air, it’s time to expand our professional networking strategies. Phone, email, and videoconferences have all been available for years, but how can they be leveraged differently in today’s world of mandated virtual-learning and WFHing? What other tools and resources can be used to maintain a growing network when you’re directed to stay away from other people?

One of the biggest changes that law students can take advantage of is the surge in activity of online forums and discussion boards. With so many people stuck at home behind their keyboards, many online communities have exploded with renewed activity. Doing a quick search for discussion boards in fields you’re interested in can yield dozens of communities with a wide range of experts, some of whom may be willing to offer their personal insights if you reach out to them. Take this opportunity to connect with individuals from around the world whom you wouldn’t normally have access to.

Using the expertise you’ve gained from attending virtual classes this week, put that knowledge to further use and attend online conferences. Many conferences, lectures, and symposiums around the world are now being hosted online to avoid outright cancellation. Whether they’re hosted on Zoom, Webex, On24, or another virtual meeting platform, law students can seek out these opportunities and take advantage of the lack of travel time and expenses typically associated with attending these events. If you do attend a virtual conference, be sure to browse the participant list (if visible) and reach out to anyone that grabs your attention. Most video conferencing platforms allow you to chat with specific participants, and you can always try to find their contact information online if chat features are disabled.

Luckily, it’s not necessary to change all of your networking strategies. Some things that you can be doing on a regular basis include updating your LinkedIn profile and staying in contact with your current connections. The time normally spent commuting to work and school can now be used to maintain your online presence and re-connecting with professional contacts. Doing a little bit each day (even just 5-10 minutes) can make all the difference once the world returns to normalcy, and will also help to keep you on employers’ radars. Tune into the ABA’s webinar on April 17 to learn more about creating your personal brand and making your online presence work for you.

Just as you should consistently maintain your online presence and stay in contact with current connections, reaching out to mentors in McGeorge’s Alumni Advisor Network should be on your to-do list. Now that we have all been forced to slow down a bit, it’s the perfect time to finally get in touch with our experienced and insightful mentors. Exchange emails, have a phone call, or FaceTime them; you can do everything you normally would when seeking mentorship except physically meet.

For assistance with any of these tips or further advice on how to put them into action, the CDO is here to support you however we can, and is available at lawcareers@pacific.edu.

Are you tired of sitting on your couch and wondering what you can do to stay busy? Worry no more! The ABA is hosting several free webinars over the next several months exploring how COVID-19 is affecting law students and legal professionals, and how making the transition to a virtual workplace is not just a result of the current health crisis. A few upcoming webinars are detailed below, with many more scheduled and archived sessions available on the ABA site here.

 

Thursday, March 26 | 1-2 PM ET

Key Strategies for Managing Your Life and Work During Coronavirus: “With things changing on a minute-by-minute basis with the coronavirus, are you stressed and anxious about how it will affect your life and career? The ABA Career Center is here to support you by providing key strategies you can implement right away to manage your life and career during shelter in place, social distancing, remote work, and possible recession.”

 

Friday, April 17 | 1-2 PM ET

LinkedIn, Social Media, and Personal Branding: “In this workshop, you will get specific tools and strategies to use your online presence to define your personal brand and develop relationships. Professionals today have the opportunity to take your networking and business development virtual and global in an authentic and strategic way.  Tomea Mersmann has over 20 years as a career coach, law school professor, and branding expert helping lawyers and law schools craft messages that resonate.  Tomea will guide you through simple steps to quickly take your professional presence to the next level.”

 

Friday, May 1 | 1-1:30 PM ET

Building a Virtual Law Practice for the Modern-Day Client: The Coronavirus pandemic has shaken us to our core and left us searching for ways to serve our clients through virtual resources. In this webinar, you’ll learn how Rukayatu Tijani combined her Silicon Valley big law skills with modern-day virtual technology to open her own virtual law practice to provide streamlined trademark services for the modern-day entrepreneur. You’ll learn about her favorite tech and ways you can streamline the legal process and your own legal practice to best serve your clients, whether your practice is in IP or elsewhere.”

 

For those who are seeking CLE credit, the ABA has many Coronavirus-related webinars available here.

Don’t miss these career-building opportunities, and keep an eye on McGeorge @ Work for more webinars and career development tips during these uncertain times.

As schools and employers move to telecommuting in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, students and employees across the country are testing the limits of their mental focus. Work from home (WFH) policies are not new, but the situation we now find ourselves in is ­­– one in which multiple people may be WFHing in the same household for a number of weeks. Students are finding that remote learning comes with new challenges on top of the standard rigors of law school.

Before the Bar’s recent article outlines several focus-maintaining tips to help law students make the most of their time in isolation, and most of the insights are applicable regardless of the current global pandemic. One thing that we at the CDO would like to add is to maintain perspective and know that “this too shall pass.” We are all in this together.

So be sure to take a few minutes out of your day to read Before the Bar’s article above, stay inside, stay focused, and stay healthy. If you have any career-related questions or concerns during this time, the McGeorge CDO remains available via email at lawcareers@pacific.edu.

As McGeorge staff and faculty transition to working remotely, we want to assure you that the Career Development Office will continue to be available to our students, alumni, and employers. You can make an appointment during normal business hours to speak with a CDO team member through email, phone, or video chat via Zoom (please specify your preferred method when making the appointment). Schedule your appointment through McGeorgeCareersOnline or by emailing lawcareers@pacific.edu or calling 916.739.7011.

 

Though we are transitioning to working remotely, we will continue to post new jobs on McGeorgeCareersOnline, review application materials, conduct mock interviews, strategize about your job-search, and provide other career-related support. Additionally, we intend to maintain our standards of reviewing application materials within two business days, and responding to schedule requests within one business day. As always, if you have a time-sensitive matter, please be sure to include that in the subject line of your email.

 

We look forward to navigating new territory with you, and seeing you when we return to campus.

-Your CDO Team

 

Leah Adams: ladams@pacific.edu

Isabella Hannon: ihannon@pacific.edu

Rydder Kramer: rkramer@pacific.edu

Erin O’Neal Muilenburg: emuilenburg@pacific.edu

Molly Stafford: mstafford@pacific.edu