The Intersection of Work and Life: Shrink Talk Interviews PhilaLawyer

Dr. Rob of Shrink Talk talks with the PhilaLawyer on the intersection of work and life. The topic for this part of the discussion is boredom and job satisfaction. Here are a few choice cuts:

PL: I don’t think anyone is wired to sit in front of a computer in the same office, every day, doing the same task work for forty years. I think that’s demeaning, inherently inhuman, the sort of thing that makes people snap. I’d love to hear your input on that.
Dr. Rob: […] I hear a lot of complaints about the inherent emptiness of the work. Rarely do lawyers talk of justice, intellectual debate or creating a better world. Rather, I hear more about damage control, paper work, finding loopholes in the system and trying to make as much money as possible, for either themselves or their clients.

Dr. Rob: Research suggests that the use of one’s skills and abilities is one of the biggest predictors of job satisfaction. Lawyers often tell me that spend most of the day pushing papers, filing motions, calming clients and freaking out about their “billable hours.” Would any lawyers consider that a use of their skills?
PL: Billable hours stand at the heart of everything wrong in the modern legal industry. Putting aside the lack of creativity and dehumanizing aspect of the structure, billable hours encourage fraud and compel needless busywork. […] If we eliminated billable hours and paid lawyers on a result or unit value basis, you’d see a lot of cases settle a lot more quickly. And a lot more happy, productive and engaged lawyers.

PL:You want a cure for routine? Reinvent yourself every couple years. It’s hell on the innards, but you won’t run out of shit to talk about at parties.

After reading this, I think the Philadelphia Lawyer’s upcoming book, Happy Hour is for Amateurs: A Lost Decade in the World’s Worst Profession, should be an amusing and interesting read.