Shared Values for Law Firms: The Skunk Lesson

   The lowly skunk taught me lessons well used in law firm employee mentoring.  Dad was an Ohio State Highway Patrolman. To move from one post to another would require a group of patrolman to show up to the house, help load up the household goods, dogs, cats, etc. onto a rental truck. Dad would then drive the truck with family following to the new house. At that house would be the troopers from the new post who would cheerfully unload everything.

   We arrived at a new post with the entire family and animal collection and Dad sent us three girls down to the basement with all the animals and told to stay out of trouble. After some slow boring hours, we suddenly saw two big strong troopers start down the basement steps with the washing machine. Trooper # 1 was coming backwards supporting the weight of the machine and Trooper # 2 was coming forward to help guide and hold up the other end.

   At that moment in time, when they were at the point of no return, for some strange reason our pet skunk, Pepi Le’ Peu, got away from us and sauntered over to the stairs. Trooper # 1 screamed and yelled skunk and started pushing forward to get out of the basement. Trooper # 2 thought he was yelling stuck’ and pushed downward to get the machine down the steps. For a few glorious minutes we three sisters hysterically watched while our big burly troopers pushed and shoved trying to move an inanimate object out of fear.

   My dad taught me many things but one of my favorite lessons was the skunk lesson. Sooner or later when there is no solution someone has to simply let go and let the other have their way and let the chips fall where they may. The lesson:  It is better to be skunked than stuck in life.