Name: Kamilah Perry
Job Title: Partner, The Perry Law Group, LLC
City: Tampa, Florida
Number of Children/Other Dependents: None
Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated? Why?
Not at all. I think the concept of having “it all” is relative, depending on the woman. One woman’s “all” can be that her family is happy and healthy and she is happy going to work each day, irrespective of the position she holds. Another woman’s “all” may be that she is a major shareholder in her business and in a successful marriage that doesn’t include children. As such, I don’t think it is unrealistic or overrated to have it all, and every woman should strive to have it “all” as she defines it.
What does having “it all” mean to you?
Having it “all” to me means waking up each morning and being happy with every aspect of my life, and those aspects of life being defined by me, as opposed to being defined by society.
What is the best advice you have ever received on balancing your personal and professional lives?
“During those days when work is slow, don’t stay at work trying to catch up or create more work; instead, take the rest of the day off, enjoy the down time, because down time is rare, and the busy days are always right around the corner.”
If you had an extra hour in your day, how would you spend it?
I would get an extra hour of sleep to maximize energy.
Looking back at when you started in the profession, and knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your younger self?
I would advise myself to read as much as possible and have lunch with a different person in my profession at least twice a month.
Do you deal with guilt in trying to balance your personal and professional lives?
Yes. At times it is very difficult to ask your friends and family to be understanding when you can’t attend an event that is important to them due to work or other professional obligations, particularly when it becomes a common practice.
What single change do you believe would have the biggest impact on work life balance or quality of life?
I know for certain that opening up my law practice has had the biggest impact on my work/life balance because it has given me the freedom to prioritize what is important to me while still being able to make decisions that positively impact my business and career. Having worked for large legal machines for over 14 years – with little control over my time and therefore, work/life balance – I know that I have never had a better quality of life than I do now as a business owner.
What part of “balance” do you struggle with?
I struggle with remembering that tomorrow is never promised, and it’s important to work to achieve balance daily, as opposed to trying to find balance when you are burnt out and desperately in need of it.
What part of “balance” are you improving at?
I have become better at committing to not worrying about work matters when I am taking a break from work. After all, what is the point of taking a break from work if you continue to think about the work that you are not doing.
How important is civic and/or professional involvement to you and why?
Civic work is extremely important to me because it allows opportunities for personal (not just professional) development that would not otherwise be available in a work-only setting. I also think it is imperative to stay in touch with the community and find ways to contribute because I think personal successes are worthless unless they are used to benefit others.
What’s the advice you would give a young lawyer seeking to strike a “balance” between family, self, and the practice of law or achieve better quality of life?
Figure out what makes you happiest and commit to devoting 25 percent of your time to it, no matter what.
Any other parting words of advice?
Do not let society or your profession dictate what should make you happy and what you should be aspiring for. Always figure out what is best for you, based on you!