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Survey Shocker: Lawyers Hate Stress

Casablanca Just as Captain Renault in the 1942 film "Casablanca" was "shocked, shocked" to learn of gambling in Rick's cafe (as the croupier handed him his winnings), the findings of a new survey are so "shocking" that one wonders why they even bothered to announce them. I suppose it was just that, having gone through all the effort of conducting the survey, what else were they going to do with it?

So hold on to your seats as I reveal the survey's most significant finding: Lawyers do not like stress. That's right. Staffing company Robert Half Legal surveyed 300 lawyers at large firms and corporations, asking them the question, "If you could change one aspect of your job as a lawyer, which one of the following would it be?" The number-one choice, selected by 31 percent of respondents, was "decreased job stress." Second choice: "Less hours at work or more personal time." Here's the full breakdown:

  • Decreased job stress, 31%
  • Less hours at work or more personal time, 30%
  • Accelerated career growth, 14%
  • Greater professional autonomy, 5%
  • Increased on-the-job training, 3%
  • Higher salaries/compensation, 2%
  • Other, 5%
  • Nothing, 8%
  • Don't know, 2%

Those numbers are followed by this analysis by Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal: "Job-related stress and work/life balance issues can lead to employee dissatisfaction and staff turnover, which may decrease a firm's productivity and directly impact its ability to remain competitive." OK, tell us something we didn't know.

For starters, at least tell us the levels of the attorneys surveyed, because if there is news here, it may be hidden in the lower numbers. Knowing the levels of the lawyers would help put them in perspective. Consider that only 2 percent were unhappy with their compensation, only 3 percent were unhappy with their training and only 5 percent craved greater autonomy. A full 15 percent percent chose "other," "nothing" or "don't know." These results indicate that either they wouldn't change a thing or they are unhappy about matters outside the traditional measurements of career satisfaction. This survey offers no insights. Rather, in the spirit of Captain Renault, it merely rounds up the usual suspects.

[See also: "Judges Want More Money, Associates Want Less Stress"]

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on October 10, 2008 at 11:49 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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