In honor of Halloween, I'm going to answer a question often asked of general counsel - what keeps you up at night? Here are my top 3:
1. An intense negotiation or high stakes deal will almost always result in the lack of sleep - even though it also results in me being extremely exhausted by the long hours and emotional roller coaster every one of these seems to bring. When I do finally fall asleep I'll dream of the provision we're fighting over or the wording of that illusive clause. It's infuriating when even sleep one give you a break.
2. Compliance. Just that one word is enough to keep me up in to the wee hours. The fact is that no matter how vigilant we are, there will always be some little thing that we didn't do. I'm okay with that. We do our best and we know what risk we take. What keeps me awake is the thought of what we don't know. What authoritative body is going to claim jurisdiction next? What is my IT team doing (or not doing) that I don't know about? What are my sales people out there saying? And to whom? Everything that's on my radar is fully assessed and managed within the best ability of my team. But what about what's flying under my radar? That's the stuff of nightmares.
3. Office politics suck even when you love the people and the work. But I've yet to work at any type of company in any capacity where office politics aren't important for your career and success at that employer. Which means that sometimes who said what to whom will stick with you long after the work day ends. And sometimes those concerns seep into your subconscious and your dreams, like the one time where my HR Director was chasing me around the office trying to give me the ax - literally. Glad we sorted that one out.
Ok, now the top 3 (work related) things that keep me up at night. What's seeped into your nightmares?