Thursday, September 14, 2006

 

Job Satisfaction Blog for Lawyers

The headline caught my eye: "55% of Men Would Take Less Pay for a Satisfying Job." The article is one of many work/life articles on a terrific blog for attorneys called JD Bliss. I've been reading the blog for a while now and have been remiss in waiting so long to talk about it.

JD Bliss was started by former big-firm litigator Joshua Fruchter. The blog's goal is "simple and focused," it says. It aims to "help attorneys leverage their JD degrees into satisfying careers, personal growth, and individual happiness." Of particular interest to us here at PAR, it provides a very useful round up of work/life balance articles, resources for work/life balance, and articles about firms that are trying to provide more balance for their attorneys. One of the more interesting features is a "Work Life Balance Calculator" that helps you to calculate, depressingly, the number of hours per week you spend working. I highly recommend reading JD Bliss on a regular basis.

Back to the headline about men: It refers to an article that appeared in Men's Journal, and while it does not focus specifically on attorneys, it is consistent with what we know about male attorneys' attitudes from other studies and from anecdotal evidence. PAR was one of the first to discuss men's needs for work/life balance, which have remained largely under wraps because men feel they cannot openly discuss them. Men often face a double stigma if they try to break out of the 80-hour a week SuperBiller mold -- they may be viewed (as are many women) as less than committed to their jobs, and additionally they may be viewed as less manly because they are stepping outside of traditional sex-based stereotypes if the "life" side of the balance equation includes caregiving. Happily, we are seeing the stigma lessen slightly for men in firms as more men reduce their hours and openly talk about their desires to have more family time or their responsibilities to care for aging parents.

Firms need to listen to these men, and to read between the lines when men leave the firm because "they've always wanted to teach" or "can't pass up this great opportunity to go in-house" -- work/life balance isn't just a women's issue.

--Cynthia

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