"I walked into the office amid a haze of early morning grogginess and lack of caffeine. I was quickly brought to attention by the sight of the Cerberus-like triumvirate of my work superiors. A surprise performance evaluation was the occasion for this meeting of the powers that be and I would be the first to stand before them. Two senior and superior coworkers sat on either side of my boss who, while small in stature, could pack quite the verbal punch. As I took my seat they went over the procedural talk about every member getting the same evaluation and this was not to single anyone out and so on and so forth. While I hadn't felt that I had been under-performing, it is next to impossible to not feel nervous in a situation like this. As they began to get to the crux of this evaluation I held my breath. One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand. I began to exhale as their words penetrated my ears and their meaning deciphered. They said that I had been doing……ok. Better than just ok, I had been doing very good. Relief overwhelmed me as I left the meeting but I had a nagging thought crawling from the back of my brain.
"Why should I settle?" I pondered this in various moments of reflection after the evaluation. What was the point of doing this job if you were just going to be good enough. It was then I decided to make a push past good enough and towards great. I worked at an insurance investigation company which dealt primarily with workers compensation and auto liability claims. Specifically my department looked into social media sites for clients on their claimants. Our clients were not always to most apt at evaluating the merits of a Facebook comment, tweet, or Foursquare check-in, which made the quality of my work that much more important. My problem was that I didn't have enough free time during my work day to be able figure out what I could improve on and then subsequently work on it. The only option left was to take it upon myself to work on my own time to be able to make the changes I needed and wanted to make.
Going beyond what was expected was not something new to me by this point in my life. In my previous job I routinely helped out in other departments and stayed late even when I was off the clock. While in college I remember helping my roommate on a finance project for fifteen hours despite having not taken that class in years. And while these efforts had tangible benefits like more hours to work or a raise and a free dinner courtesy of my roommate, they were not the primary reason for this effort. No I put in the extra hours because that’s how I want to be viewed. I want someone to know that they can count on me to get the work done or help them out in a crunch. It was these types of moments that I could look back on and I know that steps I was going to take at work were the right ones.
I figured the best way reach my desired goal was to look at the ideal for which I was striving. I asked my boss which people were best in certain areas of our department. I got finished reports from investigators who were the most through in their report, fastest in completion time, and best at locating difficult to find social media profiles. I asked each investigator ask many questions as they could stand to get a sense of their thought process. I was like a watch maker; deconstructing a finished product in order to analyze the pieces that made it tick. After compiling all resources at work that I could manage, I set out to begin my real work. Each night after I came home after a long day at work I would begin a whole new process. I reviewed files that I had recently completely looking for any small mistakes or typos and made note of them so I could notice any trends or patterns. Additionally I would research another investigators report to make sure I could find everything they did. I also kept myself on the clock since time is a very important commodity when we bill clients by the hour. All of this was on top of my normal eight hours of work, overtime work I was billing out from home, and studying for the LSAT. Needless to say it was a highly stressful time for me, but slowly I began to see the fruits of my labor.
Initially I was the only one to notice the difference in my work. Maybe it would just be that I could finish a file fifteen minutes quicker than normal or just catching myself before I made a typo in a report. However, eventually the differences were more noticeable in that I was finishing forty-five minutes sooner and able to locate more difficult and nuanced social profiles that before might have only been picked up after the file was reviewed. These changes led to less time being spent in review on my files which allowed me to more fully concentrate on my current report and kept the reviewers turning over files more rapidly. This combination of things allowed me and the department become more profitable and efficient.
My satisfaction was only heightened when my efforts were notice by my boss in emails to the department and in face to face conversation. The vice president of the company even bought the whole department lunch a few times and closed the office early on some Fridays as a show of his appreciation. The trickle down continued when I noticed more and more difficult assignment landing on my desk which showed a confidence in the quality of my work. Most importantly however, I felt a strong sense of pride in the product that I was turning in. I felt and knew that the extra time I put in to working on my craft had paid off on both a physical and emotional level for me. Knowing that other people could now count on me and expect a certain level of quality was a main reason I had set out to meet this goal. The gratification I got from knowing that the hard work and extra effort I put in had a tangible and immediate effect was well worth the stress and difficulties of reaching that goal."
Closing thought: Should I include a final "why law" paragraph or connect it to being a lawyer in some way. I have gotten mixed results on if it should be why law or just something personal. thoughts?
(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Hi! I edit much better when I can mark up a page, so I'll PM you my notes.
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wait are you able to PM since i posted as anon??
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