Name: Leslie M. Kroeger
Job Title: Partner, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll
City: Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
Number of Children or Other Dependents: 2 children; ages 9 and 12
Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated? Why?
Having “it all” depends on how you define “it all.” If you allow yourself to give in to societal expectations of “it all” then I think you’ll be extremely disappointed, guilt-ridden, angry, never satisfied….
What does having “it all” mean to you?
I’ve learned perhaps the hard way, that my expectations of having “it all” have to vary from day to day, week to week, year to year; and that allowing myself the freedom to change those expectations is “okay.” Some days, making sure I don’t miss a school program or ball game means I have “it all.” Some days simply making sure I can call my kids in the morning to wish them a good day, and at night to wish them sweet dreams, while I’m out of town for work, means I’ve successfully had “it all.”
What is the best advice you have ever received on balancing your personal and professional lives?
I had a doctor tell me once that I could either change jobs or start taking medication for stress. I changed jobs….
If you had an extra hour in your day, how would you spend it?
I would try to make sure I exercised every day.
Looking back at when you started in the profession, and knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your younger self?
I think the most important advice is to not be so hard on yourself and do NOT compare yourself to anyone else. The person who you think “has it all together,” has their own struggles, their own guilt, and their own expectations. Don’t lose sight of where you’ve been, where you want to go, and what key moments and experiences you’ve had. It’s easy to get hung up on the events you’ve missed. Put those away and concentrate on the wonderful things that you’ve shared. And if you truly seem to be missing everything, then consider a change. From time to time, work will consume you. But it can’t be all day and every day. That’s not healthy for you or your clients.
Do you deal with guilt in trying to balance your personal and professional lives?
What single change do you believe would have the biggest impact on work life balance or quality of life?
Working amongst other working parents.
How important is civic and/or professional involvement to you and why?
I believe it’s extremely important. As an attorney, I believe we owe a duty and responsibility to our community. Find an organization or group that you share an interest with and that you can help.
Any other parting words of advice?
Make sure you are the one defining your “balance.” And allow yourself to shift that balance when needed. Ultimately, make sure that you are happy. That seems simplistic, but more often than not, it really has to do with your attitude and how you react to your surroundings. Don’t let others define your happiness. Life is short.