Choosing a career in justice or law can be one of the most rewarding jobs any person can have. Helping others, bringing those who commit crimes to justice, and making their communities safer are just some of the positive results from these jobs. However, for those who plan to work in this type of career, there are also many aspects to consider before beginning work on a law Master’s degree, or Criminal Justice degree.
Potential for Physical Harm
While working in criminal justice sounds very exciting, the reality of the job is that the possibility exists for physical harm, or even death. Before embarking on this career, make sure you and your family are able to deal with this possibility on a daily basis. Many police officers have spouses who eventually cannot deal with the pressure, giving the profession one of the highest divorce rates of any career field. So before starting on this career path, make sure everyone is on board with your decision.
Long Hours and High Stress
Whether working in law enforcement or as a lawyer, be prepared for very long workdays that always contain high levels of stress. Lawyers often find themselves in court arguing cases during the day, then doing research or meeting with clients well up into the evening, or on weekends. Police officers often work 12-hour shifts and deal with everything from jaywalkers to murderers on their shifts. While many say the variety is what keeps the job interesting, others have difficulty dealing with the stress, and may turn to other ways to relieve the pressure.
The Good Guys Don’t Always Win
Both in courtrooms and on the streets, the good guys don’t always win. Every day, people who commit crimes are able to beat the system and walk away with their freedom intact. Police officers often find themselves arresting the same people over and over for drug crimes or other offenses, only to see them get bailed out of jail and be back on the street a few hours later. Lawyers may prepare an excellent defense for their clients and argue the case masterfully, only to have a jury find their client guilty. These instances can be very discouraging, often leading those involved to question if the hard work they put in is worth it. However, for most lawyers and other criminal justice professionals, it is the many other cases that go in their favor that make the job worth doing each day.
While careers in justice and law contain much stress, long hours, the threat of physical harm and sometimes low pay, those who do these jobs have other reasons for wanting to protect and serve their communities. Standing up for people’s rights, helping bring resolution to difficult situations, and saving the lives of others are just a few of many reasons they sacrifice so much of themselves to pursue these careers. Not only do they perform a vital service to others, but also help restore people’s faith in their fellow man.
This article is from Brooke Chaplan, a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.