Post # 1
I am an attorney and in desperate need of career advice. I graduated law school in 2012 and went right to work at a medium sized firm. I was taking cases and dealing with clients right away, which I loved! The job was 8-5 and I occassionally had to be on call at night. I was paid 53k with 21 PTO days. I had a great work/life balance. Fast forward to December 2013, I got laid off! I was devasted because I really loved my job. Right now I have two job offers and I need help deciding which to pick (SO has said to choose whichever will make me happiest).
The first job is a regular 40 hour work week and I would occassionally be on call at night or on a weekend (maybe once a month). The pay is 60k with 20 PTO days and unlimited sick days. So far, so good…here is the problem. The work is not actually something I pictured myself doing. It is a non-litigation attorney position. No court, which I used to love, but a lot less stress.
The second job is a litigation attorney position at a big firm. The hours would be a huge change for me. I would need to bill 2,000 hours per year, which likely works out to a 60-70 hour work week. I would be back in court which would be great, but my work/life balance would be shot! The pay however is amazing (for my area), 95k…but only 10 days PTO.
I should also mentioned that I have a lot of student loans from law school.
I am so torn! On one hand, I could make more money now while I am young (26) and have no children. On the other hand, I CHERISH my time with SO, our cute little dog, and our house.
I can’t help but think of the old saying “work to live, don’t live to work”
What do you guys think?
Post # 2
ok..so coming from someone who was the workaholic, in retrospect, i would sooooo take the 40 hr job. I know for me, I did what I loved but it was at the expense of so many things. I scaled back after kids and found a new, higher ranking, better paying job where I am appreciated more and it’s less hours.
Even though it may not be what you truly love to do, it will give you more time to do the things you do love. Especially if you are looking to have kids in the near future. Who knows, once you do it you may come to love it. It is still good pay, great PTO, you are still so young and will have PLENTY of time for advancement in the future. It may take time but I truly believe do what will make you happiest in ALL aspects of your life, not just your job. It will pay off in the long run.
Post # 3
- Wedding: April 2013 - Rhode Island
Personally, I would take the job that pays more. You can still cherish the time that you have with your SO. If you’re unmarried and childless, now is the time to take a job that pays a lot but requires 60-70 hours/week. It also sounds like you’ll enjoy the work better, and that will make time fly. Plus you said it’s at a big firm, so I would imagine that’ll look great on your resume and provide invaluable work experience.
I used to have a job that only paid $10/hour, and I worked 12-16 hours/day. But I LOVED what I was doing! I would work 10 hours in the blink of an eye. Now I have a job I hate, regular 9-5 (40 hours/week), and get paid about $40/hour. I can barely stand 3 hours in the office. 8 hours/day is torture. If I could afford to do the job I loved, I would. But I was literally starving to death because I didn’t make enough money to eat, pay rent, pay off school debt, etc.
So, I say pick the job that will make you happiest too. In this case, that just turns out to be the job that happens to pay the most as well. Lucky you!
Post # 4
My Fiance works the 2nd type of job you describe, and honestly, be prepared for working WAY MORE HOURS. if you have a trial or a brief due, you are in the office late nights and weekends. I would take the first job. It’s still more money than you were making before, plus more time off. You could love that type of work, but you just don’t know it.
Post # 5
Is job offer one at a larger firm? Where there is an opportunity for a vertical or lateral move that would allow you to do more litigation? Or would taking on more litigation in the future require you to leave that company/firm?
Post # 6
beeintraining: Both offers are with large firms. There is room for advancement at both!
Post # 7
HoneyBee827: Then I’d most definitely go with the one with more PTO. Firms that value work-life balance (particularly so early in your career) are a BLESSING. At my old job I got 10 days/year and they got completely eaten up by the holidays because the office was only closed on the federal holiday itself. I didn’t take a vacation that wasn’t tied to a holiday in three years and I completely burnt myself out.
Take the job where they appreciate the fact that if you work hard, you should get to play hard with your SO and your puppy. Work hard for a year or two to test out whether you like this new position, and if not, look for an internal move that would get you back towards what you love doing. You have plenty of time to feel it out.
And Congratulations on two firms thinking you’re awesome!
Post # 8
Krises: Thanks for your response! Does your Fiance love what he does? Or does he often wish he had more free time?
Post # 9
I’m not in the law field, but I work in Advertising, and I wish someone would have told me money isn’t the most important thing. I work literally 9-5 at my first job, 6-11 at my other job, and 12-2 at my third job, with the occasional Sunday off, and with all 3 of those jobs combined, I’m making half of what that first job pays you haha.
I think it all depends on if you could see yourself enjoying the work that the first job offers. You know you’d like the second, but as someone who works 60-70 hours a week right now, I’m exhausted all the time. <br /><br />Besides, if there is room for advancement in that company, you might get to where you want to be anyway!
Post # 10
I have been a lawyer for a long time now (17 years…I am 41). Early in my career I worked at a big law firm working long hours and basically had no life. It didn’t matter that you only got 10 days off because you didn’t have the time to take them. It was stressful and frustrating for both me and my family. I was never able to plan ahead to do anything because I was always subject to cancelling things for work. At the time it was worth it to me. I was ambitious and knew that firm would open the right doors for me in my career. And it certainly did, but I hated every minute of it.
After 6 years I went in-house. My pay is good, but not what it would be as a partner at my old firm. While my hours are certainly not 9-5 and it is probably even more stressful because of the additional responsibilities I have now, I absolutely would not go back to a large firm. I value my personal time so much more than the extra money. And I actually really love my job (when it isn’t driving me crazy).
And as for being in the courtroom, do you know that you would have the opportunity to go to court at the second job? Very few litigators that I know at large law firms actually ever go to court…much less the associates.
Best of luck to you and congratulations on the multiple offers! I know it is a difficult market for young lawyers so that is really great!
Post # 11
namarie: Well, they said I would have a chance to go for routine motions and things of that nature. I am leaning towards the first job. My SO and I live comfortably now and I definitely value free time, meeting up with family & friends, and travel more than extra money. Thank you so much for your response!
Post # 12
HoneyBee827: He definitely wishes he had more free time. I mean, no matter how much you love your job, working 80 hour weeks is draining. Plus, we barely see each other when he is that busy. He missed his birthday, and I’ve done all the venue shopping for the wedding without him. Sure, the money is nice, but spending time together means more. The type of law he does, though, is mostly rooted in big firms that require these hours so until he can go in-house, this is what he has signed up for. If he did a different type of law, he would happily take a lower paying job for more free time.
Post # 13
HoneyBee827: I’m a legal assistant and I’d rather have the less pay & more time off than more pay & more time at work. The attorneys that handle litigation at our office are here 24/7 prepping for upcoming trials and hearings, and find it tough to bill that many hours sometimes during slow weeks (totally wrong but one even cooks her time to make it look like she’s working when she’s not). The attorneys that do the paper pushing seem to really love being able to leave work at work at the end of the day & enjoy the rest of their non-work lives….
Post # 14
Oooh that is tough!! If you aren’t planning to have kids in the next say 2 years, I would take the second job. The pay is better and you love being in court, so it’s not like you’re just choosing it for the money. Out of curiousity, where do you live? Also, negotiate that salary!!!