I’ve always wanted to do Jury Duty not only because it’s a civic duty but also because I think it would be fascinating to follow a trial. Unfortunately, every time I’m called to report, it’s been an inconvenient time.
So far, I’ve never been chosen to be on a trial. Usually, I sit in the jury waiting room all day and then get dismissed to go home. Once, I was called into the courtroom and the judge asked me if I would be objective in a trial for a domestic abuser. I took one look at his creepy face and knew he was guilty. I told the judge I didn’t think I could be objective and was dismissed. The judge wasn’t happy with me but I was being honest.
It’s difficult when you’re self-employed
I’ve always worked for myself and never had an employer who would pay for me to be there. Jury duty in California pays $15 a day. That barely covers lunch.
When I was younger, I was able to use the excuse that I was breastfeeding, which I was. Now, I hear women can’t use it as an excuse anymore. A man must have changed that rule.
I took my three opportunities to postpone my service and that’s all that was allowed. The main reason I rescheduled was that I was taking care of someone at home who had cancer and he’s had several emergencies that required hospitalization, transfusions, and endless doctor appointments. He couldn’t be left alone and there was one else who could stand in for me.
And that wasn’t the only reason I had to postpone my jury duty
- Besides my caregiving duties, I had a dog with diabetes who needed insulin shots twice a day, and I was the only one who could do it.
- My car was in the shop and I would have had to take a bus or Lyft to get to the courthouse
- And then there’s that self-employed thing. I couldn’t pay myself to do Jury Duty.
It’s a civic duty that needs to be taken seriously – I get it
Serving on a jury is important and we all should do it if we can but sometimes it’s damned difficult. If I led a life of leisure and didn’t have to worry about living expenses, it would be fun. I’m into a good courtroom drama just like anyone else.
People with full-time jobs, whose employers pay them for jury duty, or retirees who live on a pension and Social Security may have an easier time scheduling it in. But, when you work for yourself and earn an unpredictable income, it’s a sacrifice.
It turned out I didn’t have to do it that time. I didn’t realize that I had scheduled it during one of the Jewish holidays and everyone was taking off. If you find it hard to do your service, try that? It worked for me.
How do you feel about doing jury duty? Have you done it? Has taking the time off been challenging? Please leave a comment below.