First, a happy (and belated) Thanksgiving to all my U.S. readers! I hope you had the opportunity to relax and reconnect with your friends and family, whether over turkey and cranberry sauce, watching “The Game” or The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, or all those other small traditions that make Thanksgiving one of a kind for you and yours.
Having said that, I wanted to take a moment and talk about something that doesn’t get mentioned often here at Legal Narratives outside of a few tangents: Wellness.
Wellness has become something of a buzzword, a catch-all that at its broadest contours could be described as “taking measures to ensure you continue to do well and prosper in every area of your life .” It’s also, unfortunately, something lawyers are famously horrible at all.
How horrible? Well, recently, a lengthy, 100+ page report on wellness entitled Causes and Consequences of Work-Related Psychosocial Risk Exposure: A Comparative Investigation of Organisational Context, Employee Attitudes, Job Performance and Wellbeing in Lawyers and Non-Lawyer Professionals was released. As reported on in a couple places- with Above the Law being one of the easiest to find- the report’s findings for lawyers can be summarized as “Not Good,” with substance abuse issues at twice the level of other professionals, to say nothing about issues of bullying and harassment.
I don’t have much to say about this. I mean, I’m not surprised at the results given the reputation of lawyers have, but it still stuns to see how deep the harm goes. And I don’t have easy answers partly because it’s so easy to claim there is one: even the quickest of Google searches will show you the sheer number of books or practices that have been suggested to lawyers to counter this, as if there’s a single “fix-it” that will work for all time, when really wellness is a process you engage in for your entire life.
But I guess the point of this brief note is, well, please do so? Please, readers, please engage with yourselves. Try to stop yourself from becoming one of those statistics. And if you ever needed any proof you could be or that wellness issues exist, just read the study above. It’s clear that they do, and I’d hate for any of you to be suffering because you thought you couldn’t or shouldn’t be.
Get help if you need it. Please. And if you don’t? Try to help someone who might. Because if the people in the Legal World don’t help each other out, who will?