Constitutional Daily

Founding Principles

The Tenure Paradox - Robot pimp

Slap on the Wrist for "Non-Consensual Sex" - Lampshade, Esq.

Intelligence: The Gathering - Graphic and Gratuitous

Grads are the New Illegals - Robot Pimp

Meet Entitlement Eric - Robot Pimp

Wherein I Solve World Peace - Lampshade, Esq.

A Necessary Delusion - Shadow Hand

Do you even need to shave overhead? - Lawyerlite

LSAT Jenga - Publius Picasso

http://www.constitutionaldaily.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1573:legal-reasoning-redux-5&catid=38:there-and-never-back-again&Itemid=65

Time, Place, and Manner

...Should have some links here or something.

Banner

The Money is Always Greener

E-mail Print PDF

You need not look far to find copious websites that either suggest or flat-out state that the profession of law is a miserable one: BL1Y.com, PhilaLawyer.Net, BitterLawyer.com, TuckerMax.com and GreedyAssociates.com are just a few. As someone not in the field, I don’t experience the tales of woe first-hand; rather, I hear grievances from these types of sites, friends who are/were lawyers and my clients. Whether it is the long hours, the contentious environment or, what my good friend and former lawyer called it, “a life where you help no one and want to stab out your eyes because you’re an obnoxious prick,” it seems there are myriad reasons why law doesn’t appeal to a large chunk of the people who undertake the profession.

So why do it? Many of my younger clients who are considering the field point to respect, power, “making a difference,” or simply a sheer love of the law. However, when queried enough, nearly all of them acknowledge that the potential to make good money is, in fact, a strong factor in their decision. And although student loans seem to offset this logic for a colossal number of years, it does appear that most lawyers who stick it out for the long haul make a significant income. So how can you use money to make you happy? Here’s the trick.

The literature on money as a function of happiness is mixed. Many studies point to an increase in happiness for the wealthy when compared to the poor, but the differences are not all that significant. Other research suggests that monetary success can indeed lead to happiness, but that most of these so-called happy people sabotage that feeling by making a crucial error: trying to have more than their peers.

This drive to sit at the top of the mountain may be tossed off as a character flaw, but it’s really more of psychological phenomenon. From an evolutionary standpoint, having the most resources can attract the best mate and provide for offspring. Working hard to have more than your peers also helps to offset satiety, as money can be just like any other drug that generates tolerance. But the problem is that this battle for supremacy is a race to nowhere, it’s a contest that can’t truly be won. Unless you live in a hermetically sealed dome where everyone’s income is fixed and there’s no chance you can be surpassed, you should assume that someone out there has more. Tom got lapped by Zuckerberg and Pujlos will soon make more than A-Rod. Assume, then, that your wandering eyes will notice when your neighbor gets a new Porsche, or that a colleague will have a more expensive laptop, or even a stranger on the street will be wearing a better suit. If you can’t be satisfied with your own car, computer and wardrobe, plan on the nest egg you are building up to start working against you.

This is easier said than done, but it’s imperative that you reflect on what you truly have, rather than what you don’t.* Otherwise, that competitive drive will ultimately hurt you in today’s society, and if you can’t fall back on your work and family for intrinsic reward, money will be your downfall. You’ll need more and more to simply sustain what you used to believe was a reasonable level of happiness, and ultimately you’ll get slapped with the label that no one wants: Greedy Bastard.

The next time you notice someone with ostensibly more than you, look more closely at other aspects of this person’s life. Think about his/her romantic relationships, friendships, kids, hobbies outside of work, happiness on the job, physical health, mental health, religion, reputation within his/her peer group, etc. Consider areas in which you might be more successful. More often than not, the mental scorecard we keep starts to even out. And, if not, then ask yourself: "Is making more money really what would make me as happy as So and So?" The answer is usually no. So find out what would, in fact, improve your life and chase that instead.

Besides, trying too hard to keep up with the Joneses will likely lead to expensive therapy (or an expensive drug habit, then expensive therapy); it's a counter-productive game.

* If you’re having trouble focusing on who may have less than you, just consider the editor of this site: unemployed, broke, living at home, drunk and stuck in Alabama. Alabama, for Christ’s sake!

[Read more from Dr. Rob]


blog comments powered by Disqus

Philadelphia Lawyer, Unfiltered

The finest blend of analysis, advice, and fury on the internet. Sour mash, oak barrel aged, published at cask strength.

 


Most Recent Article:

In Defense of Risk (Happy Fourth of July)


All Articles from The Philadelphia Lawyer

Author Profile

The Robot Pimp

An in depth look at the emerging intersection of law, behavioral economics, and robots.


Most Recent Article:

The Tenure Paradox


All Articles from The Robot Pimp

Author Profile

Practice Makes Putrid

Legal practice would be all rainbows and buttercups, if it weren't for the clients, and opposing counsel, and co-counsel, and judges, and the law.


Most Recent Article:

Eat Mor Fiv Freedums


All Articles from The Namby Pamby

Author Profile

Gin and Glannon's

As Shadow Hand suffers through law school, the rest of us get a little Schadenfreude.


Most Recent Article:

I Just Work Here


All Articles From Shadow Hand

Author Profile

Irresistible Impulse

Dr. Rob Dobrenski's daring expedition into the psychology of lawyers and the law. (Not a substitute for a life well lived.)


Most Recent Article:

You're Not a Failure, You're a Narcissist


All Articles from Dr. Rob

Author Profile

Graphic and Gratuitous

Sometimes cartoons are the highest form of communication. Those times are known as "most of the time."


Most Recent Cartoons:

Intelligence: The Gathering


All Cartoons

There And Never Back Again

Defunct Big Law attorney BL1Y shares his misadventures as a writer who accidentally went to law school.

 


Most Recent Article:

JD vs MFA


All Articles from BL1Y

Author Profile

Lampshade, Esquire

We're dealing with some technical difficulties here. Hold up a minute.


All Articles From Lampshade, Esq.

Staff Infections

News, humor, and other non-billables from our underpaid, uncredited, unsexy staff.

 


News Articles

Smaller News Bits

Large Numbers of Law

Mixed Bag of Lawesome

Reviews

Scofflaw Multistate Bar Review

Lawyerlite