I love my job! I truly do! My dear friend, Bob, has called me a workaholic since we met in 1980. I am a person who really likes to work! Being bored is not for me. I decided to think about the top 10 things I like about my job as a jury/trial consultant, which I have been performing since 1989. Here they are, in no particular order:
1. I like to help people. When Magnus’ clients contact us, they always have a problem they cannot solve without our help. It is rewarding to me to be trusted to help our clients on their important cases by providing them with my unique insights into human behavior and decision making. 2. I like intellectual challenges. The more complicated the case, the better! I have worked on cases worth billions of dollars, involving concepts such as patents, securities, aviation (I had to learn how to fly a jumbo jet to consult on one case!), complex medical issues, construction, and more. I have learned many amazing things and I am always ready to learn more. 3. I like working with people who have a different perspective than I have. I have spent my entire career with clients and other people who are not my social psychology colleagues. I enjoy being able to provide a different view about the world than attorneys. (I do not enjoy arguing with them, however, preferring instead to rely on my expertise to prove my points.) 4. I like meeting and interacting with all kinds of people. In my line of work, I interact with everyone from hotel employees, to research participants, to high powered attorneys. For the most part, I have had positive experiences with people I encounter in the course of performing my job. I have met some super cool people and I am always excited about the possibility of meeting someone who will, one day, be my friend. 5. I enjoy learning new things. As a result of my job, I know a little about a lot of things. For example, I know more about traffic laws and other Florida statutes than most people! I have learned how skyscrapers are built, how chemical compounds become brand name medications, and in general, a lot about life. I am looking forward to continuing the learning process with every cases on which I consult. 6. I like designing surveys, collecting and analyzing data, and writing reports that summarize research findings. I know this sounds nerdy, but I am truly a science nerd. I was the person in the psychology department where I taught for several years who always wanted to teach research methods. Science, and its application to the legal system, is fun! 7. I like traveling. Although it is not always possible for me to sightsee when I travel for my job, the experience of working in, for example, Manhattan, is an incredible one to me. I have traveled far and wide, from Alaska to the Virgin Islands, to work as a trial consultant and I have immensely enjoyed seeing new places and returning to old favorites. 8. I enjoy working as part of a team. Since the beginning of my career as a jury consultant, I have worked with people who form a cohesive team. I have made life long friendships with some of my colleagues, as well as some of Magnus’ employees (both current and former). The team approach of many aspects of my job has been rewarding to me in ways I never imagined when I worked in more traditional workplaces. 9. I enjoy working in a fast paced environment with things that are in constant change. I never know exactly where I am going to be from one week to the next. I am packed and ready to go, including ready to change plans on short notice. I cannot imagine working in the same location, during the same hours of the day, for an entire career. (Corporate environments are no place for people like me!) 10. I like making a difference in the world. Although I am not at liberty to discuss most of the cases on which I have consulted in the past 30 + years, I have been involved in ground breaking litigation that has resulted in large scale societal change. It’s pretty cool to have played a small role in promoting positive changes in the world!
In summary, there are lots of benefits in my job that are not actual job duties. These aspects of my job have provided me with enrichment well beyond what I derive from earning a living.
All non volunteer or pro bono jobs have extrinsic rewards – a paycheck. Melissa and I are fortunate that our jobs also have intrinsic rewards. That is, the personal rewards Melissa mentions of helping people – individuals and those collectively or in groups/companies – who are impacted by the lawsuits in which we are involved. We have the personal satisfaction of doing a job well such that clients have commented they know, when they call us, that we’ll do what we say we will do and this confidence eases their stress, at least a little. Variety is the spice of life, as someone once said, and variety is one of the constants in our world. It is what makes our work fun – we never know what the subject matter of the next case will be when the phone rings. After 30 or so years doing this type of work, we sometimes think we have heard it all. Until the next case presents a twist – it may be a major twist – something new to us or new to the world of litigation, or it may be a smaller twist on an older theme. Either way, the variety keeps life interesting. I don’t know that I could create a 10 point list as Melissa has done, but I agree on her points, though some do not apply to me. I would add, for me, that educating new clients without experience using trial consultants is enjoyable to me. It can be frustrating, but helping people who are usually very confident and in control, i.e., attorneys, learn about social science research and how it should be done, if properly done, is rewarding. Their “aha” moment is that reward. Of course, getting their retainer check is rewarding, extrinsically, but intrinsically, it makes me happy to start the process on which many others rely including our employees, contractors, vendors, etc. Jimmy Buffet has a song “It’s My Job” in which he wondered why a street sweeper could be so happy in his job that he “came whistling by…” The street sweeper’s answer is that it was his job (to clean things). I think about that with other jobs – we just had our pool remodeled. The smile on the face of the hard working pool company owner when he saw our delight in his work was his reward. What is it that keeps you motivated about work?