WorkCompCentral’s Work Comp World featured an article this week about our co-managing partner, Jeff Adelson, titled Why I Ended Up in Workers’ Compensation. The full article is a great read. We’ve included an excerpt below.
My dad had shoe stores. I started going to work with him on Sundays when I was eight years-old and, for a few years, it was just a fun thing to do. Watch people and hang out with my dad. By the time I was fourteen I was selling shoes. Shoes and a few other money-making opportunities paid my way through college and law school. Learning the shoe business was fun and entertaining, and it was an opportunity to understand how business was conducted.
In college, I came across a book that took me in a new direction: Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day And How They Feel About What They Do by Studs Terkel. Reading Working helped me realize how much I loved watching people work, and asking them how they did things (and why). This fascination with work, and various types of jobs, stayed with me through college and law school. In law school, I took classes in which situations in the workplace arose. Work cuts a common path through many subject areas.
Then, one day, I heard about workers’ compensation. This was magic to me! I remember thinking: “This is everything I love: people, jobs, and how it fits together. What could be better?” With law school and the bar behind me, I knew Workers’ Compensation was going to be my future.
During my time working in insurance, and as a new attorney, my copy of Working stayed on a handy shelf. I was living the book in this new job of mine. I was Studs Terkel, asking people about work during depositions and trials! I was asking my clients how they ran their businesses and querying doctors about their medical findings. A clear pattern emerged for me: no two jobs or employers did things the same way. No two applicants described their job the same way. I learned that each job was approached by an individual with real feelings and understanding about what they did.
In short, I learned Workers’ Compensation is a reflection of our society and how we look at life. Work Comp runs through every aspect of American life, from the professional to the entry-level worker. From individuals who were born in the US, to an immigrant’s first job in our country. From an established international employer to the guy like my dad, who had a shoe store. It’s about the dreams of making a business work, and about feeding a family.
Those early years taught me that people have different reasons for working and choosing the jobs they do. I learned the common thread that we all want. It is respect. We wish to be treated with respect – at work, during the recuperation period from an industrial injury, and through the subsequent litigation.
When you view a workers’ compensation case as a life, with all the nuances inherent from both personal and workplace issues, it is hard to be bored or to see it as “just another case.”
For more information on Jeff Adelson, click here.