I love Thanksgiving. I mean I really love Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday. Unlike many other commercialized holidays, Thanksgiving is not about giving or getting, nor drinking and partying to you drop. Thanksgiving is about family and eating. This year, I am particularly thankful. Here are my top 10 things I am thankful for this year:
- Family. In our recent trial, a big theme during jury selection and then into trial was the importance of family and our role in our families. When asked, everyone acknowledges how important family is. Don’t wait to understand how critical family is until you are asked. For many, like my, our family becomes whole again when my eldest daughter comes home from college. For all of us, it is a chance to slow life for a couple days, block out some of the noise, and just be with those you are closest to. Personally, I’m blessed to have a wonderful relationship with my kids, who are so impressive with everything they do and who I could listen to them tell me about every aspect of their lives for hours at a time. And as for my wife, I have the most perfect partner in life then I could have ever imagined. She is as brilliant, loving, and beautiful as they come.
- The People That I Work With. From top to bottom, at Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, we have good people – not just the best lawyers and top case managers (and other incredible people) – but people with good hearts, who care about the people that we help. This starts with our staff that happily answers every call to Paula, who coordinates getting clients paid at the end of the case. And my appreciation is especially profound for my partners; my executive assistant, Tracy (who everyone knows keeps me on track); and the people doing the work that clients will never see (Tim, Tanisha, and Johnny). The people that I get to work with everyday care about each other, have fun doing their job, and are there to pick each other as needed. When your job is to sue employers for hostile work environments, it is truly a joy to come into work and be surrounded by incredible and talented people.
- Our Mission. Most students entering law school idealistically believe that they are doing so with the intent to change the world for the better. In reality, very few end up making that kind of difference. We do. Every single day. We get the opportunity to help individual workers who have been discriminated against, harassed, and marginalized. We have the opportunity to give them back their dignity and confidence. We have the ability to change workplaces moving forward to make it safer and more equitable for future employees. We’ve had the opportunity to work with legislatures (and even the President of the United States) to change employment laws to further protect employees’ rights.
- The People We Encounter That Make Our Mission Possible. Judges, jurors, court reporters, witnesses, investigators at the EEOC/OCRC, and even opposing counsel. We have business partners that help keep the ship moving forward and always answer our calls (Thank you Lauren and John in particular). We don’t do our jobs in a vacuum. Everyone plays their part.
- Health. Without health, nothing above is possible. This year, I had a few medical scares and finally got tagged with COVID. Getting through those issues makes you appreciate just being healthy.
- Close Friends. Whether near or far, there are always those handful of people that are always there for you; don’t judge you; and make you smile when you need it.
- The People Who Came Before Us. Holidays always bring memories of those we’ve lost along the way. Every year my amazing wife makes my grandmother’s stuffing recipe (although she upgraded to making the bread from scratch). Every year I miss my grandparents and my father-in-law, who left us way too soon. But I’m very thankful for the time I had with them and the lessons that each taught me, including, most importantly, to understand that we have limited time to pass those lessons along and be the type of person we want to be. Don’t wait.
- The Sun Rises. No matter what happened yesterday, the sun rose this morning and my feet hit the floor. Every single day, God gives me another opportunity to learn, grow, and spend time with those I choose.
- Thanksgiving Dinner. This is my favorite meal of the year. Unfortunately, I can no longer eat the same number of plates of food as when I was a younger man. Fortunately, this means more leftovers. I will likely be having Thanksgiving dinner for breakfast on Friday (and then again for lunch and dinner).
- Dress Tennis Shoes. I’m getting older and my feet hurt more often. Being able to wear comfortable shoes makes a big difference. Along these lines, it is the little things in life that can bring happiness into our world. Take time to actively look for those little things.
If you made it to this point, I’m also thankful for you. Happy Thanksgiving to all!