Susan Smith Blakely

Lawyers of the Sandwich Generation

I know a little bit about the Sandwich Generation.  

I was 30 years younger than my mom, and, at the same time that she was becoming aged, my own two children were teenagers.  It seemed like everyone needed help --- or tending --- and I knew that I had to find a way to be there for my mom.

So it goes.  If you ever have found yourself in that situation, you know that you are caught between two devotions just like a big ole piece of bologna is caught between two delicious pieces of bread with no way out.  Not enough time to do right by anyone --- or it seems --- and, to boot, you have a job.  A responsible and serious job that you need to pay the bills and provide what you want for your kids, but you still want to care for mom, who cared for you so long ago.

The Sandwich Generation, which is more a feeling than a single generation identity, affects more women than men.  This is not surprising because women have proven themselves to be such grand caretakers.  We are naturals, and we are not always very forgiving of those who do things differently than we do.  Especially when it comes to caring for loved our ones.

This is an important subject because the challenges are a function of time --- time that we often feel we do not have.  And now that the elderly are living longer, many young lawyers can expect to care for their elders a lot longer.  Welcome to the Sandwich Generation.

As pointed out to me recently, we talk a lot today about Millennials and Baby Boomers.  But when do we start paying attention to the needs of the Sandwich Generation?

Here's a link to a slide show you need to see.  Watch it and pass it on to your colleagues, your partners, and your employers.  At some time or another, you all will need help figuring out the challenges of the Sandwich Generation.

And, in case you are wondering, law school did not cover this!

Susan Smith Blakely is the Founder of LegalPerspectives LLC and an award-winning, nationally-recognized author, speaker and consultant on issues related to young women lawyers, young women law students and young women interested in careers in the law.  She is author of Best Friends at the Bar:  What Women Need to Know about a Career in the Law (Wolters Kluwer/Aspen Publishers 2009), and Best Friends at the Bar:  The New Balance for Today's Woman Lawyer (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business 2012), which addresses the work-life struggle for women lawyers and includes twelve profiles of women who have successfully transitioned from one practice setting to another.  Her third book in the series, Best Friends at the Bar:  Top-Down Leadership for Women Lawyers, focuses on the responsibilities of law firm leaders and was released by Wolters Kluwer Law & Business in 2015.

 Ms. Blakely’s new book for ALL young lawyers, What Millennial Lawyers Want:  A Bridge from the Past to the Future of Law Practice, will be released by Wolters Kluwer/Aspen Publishers in the summer of 2018.

 Ms. Blakely frequently speaks at colleges and universities, law schools, law firms and law organizations, and she has been featured in media including Corporate Counsel Magazine, the ABA Journal, the LA Daily Journal, National Jurist, Washington Examiner Newspaper, Forbes Woman, Women Lawyers Journal (NAWL), DC Spotlight, Lawyerist.com, Daily Muse, Lawyer and Statesman, Law.com, Georgetown Law Magazine, Legal Toolkit Podcast, and Huffington Post Business.  Ms. Blakely also is a frequent guest speaker and panelist at conferences on women's issues in business and the law profession, and she has been a featured speaker at the US Department of Justice, Civil Division.  She is the recipient of the Ms. JD 2015 "Sharing Her Passion Award" and the Lawyer Monthly “Women in Law Award 2016”for her work on behalf of women in the law. 

 Ms. Blakely graduated from the University of Wisconsin with distinction and from Georgetown University Law Center where she was a teaching fellow. She is a member of the CoachSource global network of leadership coaches and is certified as a career coach for the Indiana University Marshall Goldsmith Leadership Development and Executive Coaching Academy.   For more information, please visit www.bestfriendsatthebar.com. 

 

2 Comments

lawyergirl

Wonderful. I do not believe however there is a specific cohort of sandwich generation.. my mom was equally squeezed in the sandwich as she worked and took care of her mom and raised children as did I when she was facing her terminal illness from cancer. I believe the sandwich is a time in our lives that it is difficult to digest with relish but is very important test of whom we are and the people we want our children to become as we pass values to them by example Keep up the great writing love ilise still in Switzerland

Susan Smith Blakely

Hi, Ilise.  And, yes, our moms were equally sandwiched in!  We learned from them. Thanks for your interest in Best Friends at the Bar and keep up the good work in Switzerland. 

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