There was one empty seat.

I sat down confidently while the girls twittered about homework, parties, and a sweater that would soon be on sale. They stopped and stared at me in disbelief.

“Hi,” I said to the girl next to me.

“That seat’s taken,” she answered, waving her fork in the air.

I looked at my chair on the left side, then to the right. “Yep, seems you’re right.”

Another joined in. “It’s just we don’t like to be crowded, that’s all. It’s nothing personal.”

The girls giggled under their breath.

I felt as if all my senses had…


Golden Tans During COVID

My old boss once told me, “We’re born naked, wet, and hungry. Then things get worse.”

Truer words . . .

I stood awkwardly naked in my ex-husband fiancé’s guest bedroom, getting a complimentary spray tan from a properly masked beauty named Jordan.

“How dark would you like to be?”

“Less than a sweet potato and more than a cauliflower,” I replied, which seemed safe, but also brave.

Jordan. Legs up to my chest, large green eyes framed by thick dark lashes, long golden hair swirling around her, and permanently sun-kissed skin (because she owns a spray tan business and…


We All Must Choose

Unless we do something, giant international corporations may be the only survivors in the post-pandemic economy.

But I’m an optimist. My husband calls me “Pollyanna,” even though my kids have no idea who that is. It’s true. Eventually, the overall economy will recover. People will need to buy things and pay for services. And, — here’s the kicker — I believe people will do the right thing if given the choice.

Despite my optimism, I know this pandemic will reshape communities, accelerating changes long in the making — chain stores will replace even more mom-and-pop businesses, some storefronts will remain…


Every Monday morning, the suits in our law firm crowded in the rosewood-paneled conference room the associates affectionately named, “The One Where They Fire People.” It was our time to discuss upcoming projects and boast about the companies we represented.

As usual, the associates were the first in the room, each of us eager to avoid the one chair that couldn’t maintain its height setting for over five minutes. Claude and Richard joined me around the table with notepads and carefully-labeled manila folders.

“Isn’t today your birthday?” Claude asked.

I took a sip of my coffee. “Yes,” I replied.

Richard…


Photo Credit: James Besser

This morning, a young lawyer seeking mentorship, asked me about working with some of the world’s largest companies and brands. I happily answered Amanda’s questions, sometimes throwing in a few pithy proverbs.

Then she asked, “Who are the best leaders you’ve worked with, and why?”

My pause was so long; she’d thought the line died.

Not that I couldn’t list the best leaders. I hesitated because I see a common theme with all those leaders, whether a CEO, department head, project lead, or manager — and often, I haven’t shown those same qualities.

The best leaders never surrounded themselves with…


Fortune Cookie Answers

I spent many of my undergrad evenings hunkered down in the cushy green armchair at the coffee shop “College Drip.”

Sure, it sounds like something you cure with a shot of penicillin, but it served exceptional espresso and was a refuge for the uber-geeky and 90’s alternative scene. It’s where I’d pretend to study when I was obsessing over life after graduation.

“Don’t worry,” Eve said. “Seventy percent of college students change their major at some point during college.”

Eve was a whippet-thin barista with a cascade of skull tattoos lacing her arms. She’d worked there since the mid-80s when…

Amy Osteen

Amy is an attorney with OutsideCLO.com and founder of CleanCreed.com. She prepares early-stage companies and small businesses for their next steps.

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