Tuesday, February 21, 2023

The Most Stressful Job In America - Lawyers

Lawyers have the most stressful job in America, at least they think they do, as reported in a recent survey.  People who work in agriculture, logging and forestry are the happiest. I get outdoor work would lead to happiness, especially for the type of people who would naturally gravitate to that type of work, but why would the legal profession be particularly stressful? We are not talking emergency room doctors, fighter pilots or even the type of technology career I had which was an "always on"  job. 

The most stressful sectors are the industry including finance and insurance, followed by education and the broad grouping of professional and technical industries, a sector that includes the single most stressful occupation: lawyers. Together, they paint a simple picture: A white collar appears to comes with significantly more stress than a blue one.

I can think of three reasons why lawyers view they jobs as so stressful:

  1. Many people become lawyers for the money. They aren't really interested n the law at all. Working in an area you are not naturally interested in is never fun. 
  2. Bad lawyers who knowingly commit crimes or break their own profession's rules of conduct, at least on some level know they are doing wrong. Other than for those who are true sociopaths, this has to cause some stress.  
  3. Good lawyers not only see the actions of the bad lawyers but often have to litigate against against them. Not only does this put the ethical lawyers at a disadvantage, but if the good lawyer does not report the bad lawyer, they are in violation of the professional rules themselves because the rules state they have an obligation to report lawyer malfeasance. Very few lawyers will report on even egregious actions of fellow lawyers. This and just the knowledge of working in a profession where criminal and unethical behavior is tolerated would, I think, be highly stressful to anyone with a conscience.  

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