Service job lawyers are happier than money job lawyers despite their lower income

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Service job lawyers are happier than money job lawyers despite their lower income

Giving too much emphasis to extrinsic values and too little emphasis to intrinsic values is known to depress well-being. But is simply working in an extrinsic job also risky even if that job delivers the money? We compared 1414 ‘Money’ (extrinsic) lawyers 1145 ‘Service’ (intrinsic) lawyers and 3415 ‘Other’ lawyers as to their income values well-being and drinking behavior. Although service lawyers had much lower incomes they also experienced more well-being and less negative affect compared to money lawyers and drank less and less often. ANCOVAs showed that the intrinsic vs. extrinsic job-type effects were independent of rated intrinsic vs. extrinsic values current income years of work experience and class rank at graduation suggesting that the job-contexts themselves were operative. We discuss the difficult choice that pre-professional students face between two versions of the American dream: one emphasizing wealth and
status and the other service and personal development.

Citation: 
The Journal of Positive Psychology , 2014 Vol. 9, No. 3, 219 – 226

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