Name: Melanie Griffin
Job Title: Managing Shareholder, Tampa Office, Dean, Mead, Egerton, Bloodworth, Capuano & Bozarth, P.A.
City: Offices in Tampa & Orlando, FL
Number of Children or Other Dependents: Married to Mike Griffin for more than 7 years
Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated? Why?
“Having it all” is seemingly difficult, as it is nearly impossible for one person to simultaneously excel at home, in the workplace, civically, and as a friend, while also maintaining personal health and well-being. While it is realistic to thrive in one or two categories at once, women feel defeated when they are not overachieving in all categories at the same time. Such pressure, both self-imposed and by society, is unrealistic and damaging.
What does having “it all” mean to you?
“Having it all” means celebrating what you can achieve and releasing the guilt associated with the rest.
What is the best advice you have ever received on balancing your personal and professional lives?
Your “personal life” and “professional life” are not two separate things; you have one life, and all parts of it ebb and flow together. Viewing your life holistically can help you see the “big picture” and determine how you best want to spend your time overall.
If you had an extra hour in your day, how would you spend it?
An extra hour each day would hopefully be dedicated to my personal health and well-being, such as playing with my dog, a quality conversation with my husband, cooking dinner, or something else relaxing!
Looking back at when you started in the profession, and knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your younger self?
Stress less about time – everything will work out and get accomplished in its own due course. And, HAVE FUN! You only get one ride in life, so enjoy the practice of law to its fullest and remember how many people would love to be in your shoes.
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?
Viewing every day as a blessing and living with an attitude of gratitude helps balance work life and quality of life. You realize that while your responsibilities may be great, it is a true honor to be engaged in so many facets of life.
What part of “balance” do you struggle with?
Making time for myself is a struggle – the majority of my life is spent serving and taking care of others; other than rushed trips to the gym, rarely is time spent on activities to nurture and grow my soul.
What part of “balance” are you improving at?
Time management, including: (1) prioritizing and focusing on what is most important and not obligating myself to less meaningful tasks; and (2) taking the time necessary for personal matters, as work will always be there.
How important is civic and/or professional involvement to you and why?
Civic and professional involvement is important, as the most fulfilling days are those when a positive impact is made on my community and profession. Each of us has a responsibility to pay it forward to repay those who paved the way for us. In private practice, it is also necessary to engage in civic and professional activities to maintain and grow a law practice. All facets of life are enriched through engagement with 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?
Consider quality over quantity – what do you most enjoy, where can you make the most meaningful impact, what is best for your practice, in what activities are your friends and family also involved, etc. Choose to participate in a few quality activities that meet several criteria. The more you harmonize your personal and professional life, the more time you will enjoy overall, striking balance.
Any other parting words of advice?
Engage as many mentors in your life as possible and surround yourself with strong, inspiring, courageous, selfless women who warm your heart and lift you up.