Today, I’m not at work. I have jury duty. I have to admit, I’m pretty excited about it, but I’m also pretty sure no one wants me on their jury. Why? Well, I’m a lawyer who has worked in criminal litigation, medical malpractice, and products liability. My parents also own a small business. That covers a number of the big cases. But I still get to go and sit in the jury room and wait to see what happens.
I’m one of the lucky ones. As a federal employee, I get court leave to go on jury duty. That means that as long as I have an official summons from a court, I get paid leave that doesn’t count against my accumulated vacation or sick leave. I’m one of the lucky ones. Sure, my boss isn’t exactly happy that I am going to be out of the office for an undetermined amount of time this week, but there’s no chance that I will lose my job or struggle to pay my bills due to my jury service.
I know most people would do anything to get out of jury service, and if you’re at risk of losing your job or not being able to pay your bills, I completely understand that urge. But for someone like me, it’s a pretty exciting prospect. Maybe it’s because I spent three years in law school, but I consider it a privilege. If you’re an American citizen, if you get charged with a crime, you have the right to a jury of your peers. And that means that you need people to serve on your jury. All in all, it’s a pretty cool thing.
But I’m still betting I’ll be back in the office by Tuesday.