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peter vajda

You say, "I am curious to know how depression - and satisfaction - statistics are gathered; self-reporting can be misleading."

True, especially misleading when perhaps one is not able or willing to tell one's self the truth, never mind reporting out to the survey folks.

Depression is defined as "anger turned within." So, maybe it might be well for folks to begin to ask themselves, "What am I angry about?" really, really, and see what one comes up with.

As a coach, another place I might suggest the exploration begin is by looking at the degree to which one is/is not in harmony with one's self.

How? By looking at the alignment, congruence and connection, or misalignment, incongruity and disconnection between what one (1) thinks, (2) feels, (3)says and (4) does with respect to who one is, and how one is, in one's life and one's life at work.

With dis-harmony, comes unhappiness and a lack of balance, a mind-body-emotion-spirit dis-equilibrium that leads to an inability to make wise choices about what one wants, how one wants to be, what values are really important, how one chooses to live (or not) one's values, and what's meaningful at work, etc., and in one's life. The result of disharmonmy and imbalance is a low-grade-fever-type of malaise, agitation, frustration and unhappiness that is often described as "depression."

For me, just me, in my work which includes coaching lawyers, the deal is to explore why one is unhappy, and, then, unhappy in one's work as a lawyer, not the other way aroud. What core values, core needs are going unmet and why are they unmet at work?

And, then, why then do I choose to allow this mis-alignment betwen what I think, feel, say and do? What's right about being incongruent, and out of alignment? The answer cannot be "nothing is right" because one is choosing to be out of alignment. So...

Tough questions, but powerful questions that can initially support one to gain clarity...and in the process discover what's underneath own one's feelings of unhappiness. Then, it's about choices.

So, some honest and sincere self-reflection can point to root causes of unhappiness, perhaps depression, and lead to some deeper self-reflection on what's really important in my life (at work) and how can I best achieve harmony and balance, or at least, be aware of, and own, why I consciously choose to be out of balance and "off.".

Simple BUT, not easy.

Cheryl Stephens

One of the studies behind all this suggests that when lawyers say they are satisfied with their jobs, they are happy. This is a faulty conclusion.

How many people say their job is okay but their life stinks?

How many lawyers want to continue to be lawyers, but can't figure out how to be a lawyer but have a life?

lori herz

Over the years, we've discussed the topic of lawyer happiness and unhappiness from many different angles at legal sanity. If you want to conduct a study on satisfied lawyers, you'll find enough of them to gather data on. If you want to study lawyer discontent, you'll find plenty of empirical fodder for your consideration. What would be more useful and timely for practitioners (especially newly-minted ones), law firm leaders, law students and their educators would be a new study delineating the specific factors and forces (such as meaning, money, employee engagement initiatives, leadership, client interaction, and flex-time work options) that make or break lawyer happiness today.

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