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July 26, 2004

Ain't Big Firm Life Grand

Anonymous Lawyer, (whom I once thought was faking it, but may be the real deal) writes about the big firm rat race and answers the question posed by one of his partners, "Why do my kids hate me?"

They hate us because we're never home. They hate us because we're pulling out our Blackberries all weekend while we pretend (and they can tell when we're pretending) to enjoy being around them. They hate us because work is #1, and they're #2 -- or #3, or #4. It's sad. Because it's not like years from now we're going to regret not checking the Blackberry more often. It's sad because time passes really quickly and it starts to feel like "too late" very quickly. That's what keeps people here. By the time, maybe eight months into your first year, maybe a year a half -- but not much longer than that in most cases -- by the time you realize what this job is doing to you it feels like you're stuck. "It's too late." And so you hope it gets better. And you hope, and you hope, and you work, and you work -- and then it's no better, and even more so, "it's too late." And then you may as well stick around and try and make partner, and then if you're lucky enough and skilled enough and effective enough at what you do, and the right people know it, you make partner, and you think it's all going to change. And a lot does change. But the hours are still long, and there's still a hierarchy so you're never really at the top of the totem pole, and the money jumps but the pressure doesn't really slow down, and the people you compare yourself to change, and you aren't really relaxed about it... and it really is "too late" now, because this has gone from a job to a career, and you're stuck. And you never see your kids. And they hate you. And then you don't even want to go home, and so you stay at the office, and the spiral continues...
Read the full post and the comments too.

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» When People Ask Me Why I Left the Practice of Law... from LAWTECH GURU BLOG by Jeff Beard
...I just point them to things like this, the judge's order, and especially this. Regarding the order, it sounds like all involved need to go on sabbatical with a good dose of self-examination, including the federal judge. On a related note, I'm with E... [Read More]

» When People Ask Me Why I Left the Practice of Law... from LAWTECH GURU BLOG by Jeff Beard
...I just point them to things like this, the judge's order, and especially this. Regarding the order, it sounds like all involved need to go on sabbatical with a good dose of self-examination, including the federal judge. On a related note, I'm with E... [Read More]

Comments

Great post! This is also true in the accounting profession, where the billable time and "become a partner" culture lead many people to lead miserable lives. I think it's time to say adios to the whole partner-staff-billable hour culture. We're all on the same team, right? Anyway, you can't blame it all on the profession or the culture, it's also a self-awareness thing. If you've got young children (mine are two and four years old right now) then this time, right now, is irreplaceable. Try your best to live in the moment, be with them as much as possible and forget about work. It's not easy, but many wise philosophers say that living in the moment is the key to a happy life.

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