If you were to poll attorneys about their happiness, the majority would likely state they are somewhat unhappy. There is a popular misconception attorneys are ecstatic as they tend to earn more than other professionals, have considerable social prestige and aren’t restricted to a cubicle for the entirety of a 9 to 5. Indeed, plenty of attorneys are unhappy with their work even though they are successful and wealthy. The conventional definition of “success” does not bring happiness to most attorneys.
If Success Does not Lead to Happiness, What Does?
Though some attorneys are fulfilled with success in the legal arena, most are looking for something beyond winning the majority of their cases and obtaining lucrative settlements. The pressing question is why a considerable portion of attorneys are still unhappy even when they experience professional success. Though it would be naive to assume simply earning a law degree along with honors and credentials would lead to happiness, those who study human psychology are a bit surprised as to why such accomplishments do not make the majority of lawyers happy. In reality, an array of factors ranging from one’s personal life to the quality of professional relationships in the office play an important part in happiness.
The Ever-elusive Feeling of Happiness
A recent study of more than 6,000 attorneys and judges in four states has confirmed one’s personal life and relational aspects influence happiness just as much, if not more, than professional success. Everything from an attorney’s attitude to his or her integrity, purpose and relationships impact happiness. Attorneys have made it clear they are not content with an ivy league law school degree, prestige and money. This is quite shocking to some as mos assume money brings happiness.
The truth is attorneys, like most people, might be temporarily infatuated with money and prestige in their youth yet these interests fade over time. This is not to say attorneys should turn down high salaries and strictly serve the community. Rather, attorneys should attempt to attain a healthy work-life balance and focus on developing relationships outside of the office. Though such relationships cannot be quantified in the manner that money is quantified, they are essential to the happiness of attorneys as well as human beings.
So don’t be so quick to accept a job offer with a higher salary or more prestige. Learn from the mistakes of your fellow attorneys and focus on what makes you truly happy. Though putting your happiness above money and prestige might not lead to early retirement, it will help you feel fulfilled. In the end, fulfillment is what everyone desires.