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Suing your Employer or Ex-Employer(s)

Have you ever wanted to sue the company you work for or your boss? Perhaps many of you have had those thoughts but would you actually go through with it? Jerry Kowal is the guy that actually did go through with it (see article here: http://www.deadline.com/2014/04/netflix-amazon-sued-defamation-conspiracy-wrongful-termination/). Kowal was an employee of Netflix and then left to go to Amazon. Chaos ensued as a result of his departure and now he has filed a wrongful termination suit against both companies, along with naming two executives from Netflix. Quick synopsis in case you don’t feel like reading the article is that Amazon let him go and Kowal alleges that Netflix was the reason why.

I had a phone call interview once with Netflix and I remember the HR person telling me to carefully review the materials on their website that talked about company culture. I recalled thinking that it seemed like a great place to work as the focus was on autonomy rather than keeping people chained to their desks with specific hours (I am a fan of letting people either do their job or fire them — rather than tracking hours in some mindless kind of way).  Through the grapevine though, I heard that despite having what seemed like flexible work policies, the company works their employees so much that it didn’t really matter they didn’t have a strict vacation policy as employees never were really able to take a vacation due to workload. 

Mr. Kowal’s story is an interesting one as it is always a sticky situation when you leave one company to go to a competitor. The question is what happens when the company you are leaving takes a vested interest in this new job you are taking? How often does that really even happen? There is sort of a general understanding from my perspective that people leave companies all the time to go to other companies – including their competitors and it is really on the employee to handle themselves appropriately. What happens though if the company is the one going after the employee simply for taking a new job? 

I know this case will settle even though Netflix and Amazon are huge companies. There are so many specific allegations and as an employee, you have to think long and hard before filing a lawsuit as it could certainly effect your ability to get a job later, regardless if that is a fair or not. No one wants to work with the guy who always files a lawsuit after leaving a company. I think the likelihood of Kowal’s claims have some truth to them and it is good to shed some light on these kinds of company tactics. 

Have you ever left a job to go to a competitor and then been harassed by your former employer? Write in and let me know! You can also write in if you just want to sue your company or boss in general. Venting is OK sometimes :)

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It’s Insane

The first time I did yoga, I hated it. I didn’t understand the point of breathing, posing, more breathing, more posing and finally ending up on the ground as if you were going to sleep. Over time, and I mean a LOT of time, I have learned the yoga is one of the most crucial practices for me to incorporate into my life to stay balanced. The times that I do not want to go to yoga are the times I have found that I need it the most. Kind of a funny concept.

How does yoga become important to the balance of life? I think it is the recognition (and this may sound familiar as most teachers repeat this sentiment quite often during class) that the breathing is the most important part of yoga, even more important than the physical practice. Until you can really appreciate the concept, those words sort of go in one ear and out the other. To be able to stay focused or even want to stay focused for an entire practice on the breath is really the game changer in one’s yoga practice, or at least it was for me. I should clarify that I can’t quite focus on my breath for an entire practice but I do try! I used to go to yoga and think about what I was going to wear to work the next day (deep thoughts I know) or the errands I needed to run after class so I would say there has been much progress. When I started to really focus on the meaning of what “breath” is and taking what I learned in yoga into my general life, that was the moment yoga started to become more than a physical practice.

How do you take yoga into your general life? I think if you can figure out how to focus on your breath in a yoga class, it gives you the ability to focus on your breath during stressful moments in life. It has the ability to center your mind. This practice finally gave me a way to take a break from my racing mind. Of course, I am not always a calm buddha sitting on a mountain top but I am definitely more centered than I used to be.

I have to give credit where credit is due as it was Vytas Baskauskas’ class at Power Yoga in Santa Monica that really changed my practice. I have been taking his class for a few years now and while I still go to other classes, his is still the best. The class is very challenging, the music is amazing and while he doesn’t talk a lot, it is very clear that you are supposed to focus on your breath….and he has a way of simplifying the way to think about yoga/your life. We will be holding a pose and people will be breathing super hard, making it seem so difficult and he will say — the truth is, all we are doing is holding our arms up. Very true.

I was in class one time and there was this guy next to me who really needed to blow his nose (something extremely noticeable when the whole class is quiet and we are supposed to be breathing!). I tried to get in the yoga zone, tune it out and it just wasn’t working. I could not get my mind off the gross sounds I was hearing. I started looking all around, thinking that there MUST be another place in the room where I could go. As everyone was in down dog and there was no Kleenex in sight for the guy next to me, I literally stood up to look around to see if there was another space in the class where I could move. Immediately Vytas saw me looking around and came over to ask what was wrong. Without me even saying much, he figured out I wanted to move my mat to another spot in the room….his response to me was that “today, this is your yoga practice…there isn’t anywhere else for you to move in the room”. Sounds kind of like an obvious statement but if I had tried hard enough, I could have made room in a different spot in the class but that wasn’t really the point. The point was that I needed to just stay in the moment, tune out my mind and Mr. Needs Some Kleenex and just do yoga. Again, being reminded that when situations in life that come up that are annoying, disappointing, anxiety producing or any other challenging emotion, focusing on the breath can always get you through it.

Cut to this past year where even up to the day before I went into labor, I was going to yoga. Yoga took some interesting turns during my pregnancy. I tried pre-natal yoga and hated it so I just decided to go to the same classes I would usually do and modify the poses. That plan worked out until my stomach was too big and the last month or so I did some easier classes. I had to learn to think of yoga in a different way as my body changed its shape as I was often surprised by my stomach greeting me in every pose we would be instructed to do.

Once SCB was born and after getting clearance from my doctor (who asked me “what’s restorative yoga?”), I started going back to yoga. As in, I started going to class where there was no flow, no music, no sweating and certainly no physical intensity. The intensity was in my mind as I realized that I had not been on my back in practically ten months! Poses that I used to be able to easily do now felt unfamiliar and even sometimes painful. I found myself getting frustrated and irritated. I wanted to be back to my regular classes with my regular body but what better time to remember to be grateful for my body that was able to actually produce a baby!

This past week, I went to a more “flow” type of class and told the teacher I had a c-section so when she saw me in child’s pose potentially more often than not that she would know why. The teacher ended up telling me she had a c-section as well and told me to take it super slow. Toward the end of class, as I was telling her it was really crazy getting back to yoga, her response was “It’s insane” and she is right in the perfect kind of way. Everything I am doing in yoga feels like the first time but rather than thinking that I can’t wait to be back to where I was, I want to just keep going forward and accept these new changes in my practice. I just went back to Vytas’ class yesterday (with my sister who was in town!! I had a hard time staying focused b/c we like to laugh so much) and I was once again reminded how important the breath is. If you have never done yoga, I highly recommend it! If you have had to return back to yoga after anything — an injury, a pregnancy, just stopping in general, write in and let me know what your experience has been! Happy Friday to all!

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It’s been awhile but life is starting to resume to it’s new normal after the birth of our sweet baby girl who will be otherwise known as SCB on this blog! She was 8 pounds and 13 ounces! I ended up having an unplanned c-section after 27 hours of labor but I think at her size, I am ok that she didn’t come out through the bottom half of my body. 

Life as a mom has been exciting, peaceful, beautiful, sometimes scary (when your baby screams, you just want to fix everything for her!!) and most of all, has given me a sense of profound gratitude that I will carry with me forever. She is six weeks and one day old today — and already 10 pounds and seven ounces!

I am on maternity leave and will probably head back to work in a month and a half or so…and I am wondering how the transition will be. We are interviewing nannies now and the process is pretty strange. I have a feeling that I really don’t want anyone taking care of SCB but me/my husband but I know that I will most likely be a better mom continuing on my career path. Not that I would be a “bad” mom if I just decided to stay home but I think my choice at the moment is to return to work. How does one decide who should watch their kid? I have been going through the interviews, asking all the diligent questions but most of all I am going with my gut as I want someone as nurturing and caring to SCB as we are toward her. I have been interviewing all types and it is interesting to see the ones that are more straightforward or more bossy. Some have walked in and immediately I have felt like I am the one being interviewed! I don’t really mind it but I just want to feel comfortable…not quizzed on my parenting skills but some woman I hardly know. Those types have definitely have not made the cut. Hired a nanny lately or in the process? I am sure you can relate. 

More on this topic later and my recent return to yoga…happy Wednesday to all! 

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40 weeks plus two days…

Happy Sunday night to all…very excited for the Grammys. Baby girl was supposed to arrive yesterday but I think she wants to take her time to make a grand entrance. My prediction is tonight or tomorrow but we will see as I was kind of predicting yesterday as well. As a lover of all things hip hop and music, it seemed only fair to throw out my Grammy picks…let me know yours! (if you already have been checking out the winners, know that I have avoided all of that news so I can actually watch them! I think my thoughts would change if I watched the awards since usually the person performing before the announcement of the winner ends up winning.)

Album of the Year: Kendrick Lamar (probably Macklemore will win)

Record of the Year: Robin Thicke, possibly Lorde

Song of the Year: Pink

Best New Artist: Kendrick Lamar

Best Pop Solo Performance: Bruno Mars

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: Robin Thicke (maybe Rihanna)

Best Pop Vocal Album: Bruno Mars

Best Rap Performance: DRAKE

Best Rap Song: A$AP ROCKY

Best Rap Album: DRAKE

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: Jay z feat. Beyonce – Part II (On the Run)

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Happy Motivational Monday!

Happy Monday and MLK Day to all! I usually try to keep the Monday posts light and easy so I will start by saying I saw the new Kevin Hart movie “Ride Along”…loved it! Write in and let me know if you have seen it too! Some may think it was slow, too long, not funny but I really liked it. SPOILER ALERT****but I thought it was so funny when Kevin’s character pretended he was Omar!!! I like Ice Cube and the way he played his character…and it was the first time I felt Kevin Hart wasn’t playing just a character actor. [I usually only see funny movies as why bother seeing two hours of a gut wrenching drama).

As far as the motivational part of motivational Monday…I think it is important to play with the theme of gratitude for this week. No matter what is going on with your life, can you check in with being grateful for whatever circumstances that you are being given? It is hard sometimes when you are dealing with a stressful work environment, drama at home or with friends or just all around situations that may leave you feeling less than thrilled with life. I think as difficult as it is to deal with struggles in life, these struggles can also build your strength as a person. It is in these times that I think gratitude is important as sometimes it is just little things that are causing stress and if you can focus on what you are grateful for, sometimes the little things don’t seem as stressful! I really try to focus on gratitude when I am feeling stressed as sometimes it is just what I need to give some perspective on whatever situation is happening.

All good thoughts on this Monday…have a positive and gratitude filled week!


Mommy track

I went to a dinner last night where one of the women made a comment how she would rather hire people that are single than are on the mommy track. Of course, she qualified it by saying “no offense to you, Stephanie”. Ummmm, no offense taken? I think?

At first, I really didn’t take offense. Probably because we were in a loud italian restaurant and I was too tired to really think about it. Now, I am not necessarily offended but I definitely started thinking about the concept of “mommy track”. Are you on the mommy track simply because you have a career and you decide to have children? Or are you on the mommy track if you decide to have children AND decide you don’t want to work anymore? Thoughts on this anyone?

My plan is to go back to work after my maternity leave as I think you can lead a balanced life with a career, husband and children. Of course, you have to be committed to how that balance works out but I do think it is possible. I grew up with a working mom who has her own company. I learned by watching her and I think it gives me comfort to think that I don’t hold a grudge against her for working…so I can only hope our child feels the same way.

For some reading this, it may be perceived that “I have no idea” how hard it will be once we have a child and the time comes for me to return to work. Maybe I don’t have any idea but I am thinking positively about the whole adventure. (Still trying to understand breastfeeding and working that into the positive mantra..hasn’t exactly happened just yet).

I would love to hear from working moms out there, especially in the legal field or otherwise who have made the choice to work. Do you classify yourself as on the “mommy track”? Would you have been offended by this woman’s statement?

Happy Wednesday evening to all!

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Happy 2014!

It has been awhile but The Not So Legal Show is back for 2014! The good news is that in the time I have not been blogging, I have been growing a baby (who feels really big right now!) inside of me. At almost 37 weeks, it is hard to believe that our baby girl will soon be here!

Random pregnancy notes:

1. People still think it is normal to ask you what the name of the baby is — as if you will really tell them or better yet, should tell them. Isn’t it known information that you don’t really tell the baby’s name until the baby comes?

2. Just when I thought my biggest t-shirt would fit, it didn’t. I was kind of like Chris Farley when he puts the little coat on.

3. Working out while pregnant is a lot easier when you wear the weight training belt made for pregnant women. Nothing like something to hold up your stomach while doing lunges. 

4. I have really enjoyed the alien-like movements from my stomach as a sweet reminder the baby girl is still moving around in there. 

5. I need to pack my hospital bag. I may or may have not asked the lady at the hospital if I could bring my own sheets. (I have resorted to just bringing my own pillow cases)

6. I have been working during my entire pregnancy and people keep asking me when I am going to go on maternity leave. When the baby comes. 

7. Luckily I have not had many emotional crying pregnant lady moments. Some, but not many. 

8. Yoga during pregnancy is a great idea. I took a few pre-natal classes but mostly I just modified the movements in the regular classes. More on this when I start the “Yoga” section for this blog!

9. My husband has been wonderful during this entire process. I definitely give him the credit for ensuring we had the nursery ready in time. 

10. I am hopeful and excited for the arrival of our new baby girl. More on what happens next later!

Lots of love and light to all for 2014!! 




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