American Bar Association
General Practice, Solo, and Small Firm Division

Fall 2002 vol. 9 Number 1

Success on Your Terms

By Ellen Ostrow

This survey-"Satisfaction with Your Work/Life Inventory"-is adapted from the website, created by psychologist Ellen Ostrow, who specializes in coaching women lawyers. It is designed to help clients gauge their level of career satisfaction:
Answer "true" or "false" to each statement based on how you have felt most of the time during the past few weeks.

1. My work is as intellectually challenging as I'd expected/hoped it would be.
2. I have enough time to spend with family.
3. My work is financially rewarding.
4. My work provides sufficient opportunities for professional development.
5. I have enough time to devote to my personal needs, e.g., relationships, health-related behavior.
6. I am satisfied with the control I have in selecting cases and other projects.
7. The stress level of my work is manageable.
8. The atmosphere at work is personable and supportive.
9. I am satisfied with the collegial relationships among my peers at work.
10. I feel sufficiently in control of my career.
11. I am able to enjoy the money I earn.
12. My work is recognized and valued.
13. I am familiar with the full range of employment opportunities for lawyers.
14. The work I do is consistent with my values.
15. I feel like I'm helping people as much as I expected/wanted to when I chose law as my profession.
16. I am satisfied with the amount of client exposure in my work.
17. I approach my work with enthusiasm.
18. I feel proud of my work accomplishments.
19. I am free of guilt about time spent away from my family.
20. I am free of damaging habits, e.g., excessive alcohol use, overeating.
21. I am angry or irritable less than twice a month.
22. I rarely have unexplained health problems, e.g. headaches or stomach aches.
23. I have felt excited, proud, or pleased at some point during the past few weeks.
24. In most ways my life is close to my ideal.
25. So far I have gotten the important things I want in life.

If you answered "true" to most of these statements, you're probably pretty satisfied with your current work situation. If the percentage of times you answered "false" is relatively high, you may want to go back and examine your specific areas of dissatisfaction.
Are you unhappy with your current work environment?
Is your life feeling unbalanced and out of control?
Do you need to learn more effective ways to manage stress?
Are you disappointed with your legal career?
Do you need more information about career alternatives?

Note: The psychometric properties of this inventory have not been assessed and no claims are made for its validity or reliability. It is intended as a self-assessment instrument to facilitate self-examination and problem solving.

Ellen Ostrow is a psychologist in Silver Spring, Maryland. She can be reached
at or visit
her website at index.html.



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