Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

Working for Free Is Money in the Bank

moneyWant to lay the foundation for a prosperous law career – and boost your happiness while doing so?

Give some of your time away free. It‘s like putting money in the bank – literally. 

A new study shows that volunteering once a week will give you a happiness boost equivalent to quadrupling your salary.

And it gets even better, because the more you do it, the happier you become.

“When researchers at the London School of Economics examined the relationship between volunteering and measures of happiness in a large group of American adults, they found the more people volunteered, the happier they were,” according to this study. “Compared with people who never volunteered, the odds of being ‘very happy’ rose 7 percent among those who volunteer monthly and 12 percent for people who volunteer every two to four weeks. Among weekly volunteers, 16 percent felt very happy—a hike in happiness comparable to having an income of $75,000–$100,000 versus $20,000.”

Good For Mind and Body

Here are some other career benefits of volunteering:

  • It enhances self-confidence. Volunteering has been shown to increase self-esteem and life satisfaction. “You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment,” says this source. “Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity. And the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals.”
  • It gives you a positive outlook. You make new friends. You add new layers of social support to your life. You become more resilient and persistent. It doesn’t matter what you do or where you do it – any volunteer activity that puts you in healthy contact with others enhances positivity.
  • It combats depression. Social isolation is a risk factor for depression. Volunteering gets you out of the house and into the world.
  • It can be great exercise. Researchers have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not. It reduces symptoms of chronic pain and heart disease.

Anyone Can Do It

Don’t have a car? No problem. Lots of volunteer activities – like writing, graphic design and email – can be done at home, on the phone or by computer.

Limited time? Most organizations will happily take whatever amount of time you can give.

Are you a law student or recent graduate looking for volunteer work? Send us a comment with contact information.

Or perhaps you know of a group in need of volunteers? Tell us about it.

Volunteer your time and talents. It’s like giving yourself a big, fat pay hike.


 Jay Reeves a/k/a The Risk Man is an attorney who has practiced North Carolina and South Carolina. Formerly he was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. Contact him at


About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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