Wednesday, May 18, 2005


It is interesting how the most respected professions in different parts of the world usually are not well paid, or even glamorous in any way. The only exception is being a medical doctor. Nursing profession often gets the top honors, followed by teachers. In many European countries (as well as in Japan) being a taxi driver gets high marks, but I doubt it would make the list here. Musicians are curiously absent from most polls.

Even more interesting are the professions that get the least respect. In many British Commonwealth countries politicians are on the bottom, especially Members of the Parliament. In New Zealand the news about prostitutes falling below MPs for the first time made the headlines. The fact that used car dealers are near the bottom shouldn’t surprise anyone. However, there are many high-paying professions that are rated very low, such as CEOs and lawyers. With a few exceptions one could almost say that the more money a person makes, the less honored field he is in. In our society we seem to respect the money itself, but not the way it is earned.

Having a 17-year-old daughter, entering her junior year in college this fall, who has expressed real interest in law, I’m concerned about her choice. Judges usually fare better in the respect issue, but in this system of ours they most often are former attorneys. I wish we had a system, like in many other civilized countries, where judges are trained to be just that from early on, and are not chosen in an election.

Too many people hear ‘lawyer’ sounding like ‘liar’, and often they are not so wrong. How many members of this profession actively try to see that justice is done? I think that personal financial gain comes much before in most cases.

That said, I must admit that the attorney, who has represented me during the last year, has been a wonderful exception. He has been a real Mensch and tried to put up with my eccentricities to his best ability. It is as if he entered the field by accident. Although he knew practically nothing of the world of classical music, he learned fast. In spite of my painful legal bills, I’m glad our paths crossed.

Back to my daughter: I hope she can use her education in law in a way that makes a difference in this world. I wouldn’t want her to end up in the bottom of the list but somewhere near the top. I think she will, as she is very likable, bright and doesn’t have an ounce of a leech or a pit bull in her personality.

Well, she could always become a professional musician, as she is able to play the cello beautifully. I’m just kidding; that would happen only over my dead body.