To ditch my job because life is too fucking short?

(120 Posts)
ReallyOverThis Thu 28-Nov-13 14:46:44

Regular poster, have NC for this. In a very small nutshell - I have a pretty fancy job which pays exceptionally well. Got a major promotion earlier this year (yes, boo hoo for me. Feel free to ditch thread now).

I really enjoyed about 50% of the job pre-promotion. I now only enjoy about 30% of it. I have never been cut out for certain aspects of the job, but I was in the past able to balance my failings in those sides of it by excelling in other areas. Now the expectations in all areas are about 200% higher and I have been told I really need to "up my game" if I am to achieve what's expected. It's not that they've misrepresented the promoted job to me - I knew in theory what it involved - but the practice is way harder than I anticipated. I could probably do the game upping but it would be seriously hard work and time consuming (e.g. having a week's holiday without full attention to Blackberry every day is just Not On, required to do weekly evening dinners with clients). Pressure is relentless. I am starting to think that I simply can't be arsed.

To give some context my Mum died a few months ago. Dad had died several years previously. Both died young. Neither is here to be disappointed in me if I ditch it (or proud of me if I succeed). I just turned 40. I am financially fine because I inherited a property and a small lump sum, plus I have my own savings. I don't have expensive tastes. In the last 3 years I've gained a fab fiance who is my rock. He's always known me as a high-flyer and is proud of me for that. He earns plenty money of his own and we have no children.

I feel my identity is very tied up in my job. When I do well in it I feel very validated and glad to have a good brain. Ditching it now would mean wasting many many years of study and slog and obviously mean giving up a lot of potential earnings.

This is not so much an AIBU because the answer is obviously "Do what's right for you" but more of a "Did you do it and do you regret it?"

Thanks for reading.

ReallyOverThis Thu 28-Nov-13 14:48:20

PS. The nature of the job is that it's not possible to go back down to the pre-promoted level, at least not in the same organisiation and probably not the same industry.

Timetoask Thu 28-Nov-13 14:51:09

What would you do instead?

whois Thu 28-Nov-13 14:51:55

Um, tricky one! If you had a kid it would be easier to say 'oh I need more flexibility/reduced hours' and use that as an excuse to move to an easier role.

What would you do of you quit? I think that is an important thing to figure out first.

Roshbegosh Thu 28-Nov-13 14:52:18

Could you take some time out, a career break or something?

It also depends on what your options are. Would you be in a shit job but earning a lot less if you left? Are there jobs out there that would suit?

I would not jump ship without somewhere to jump to.

DameDeepRedBetty Thu 28-Nov-13 14:52:52

Crikey!

Well, I didn't so much ditch the Career type job as decide not to return to it after my SAHM break - mainly as the company went bust once I wasn't there to look after things grin

I'm much happier with my self-employed role now, but how I'll feel when dtds move on to university etc in a few years is another matter.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 28-Nov-13 14:52:59

Hello OP.

Yes I did similar when we had ds1, from being pg I knew I wanted to be a sahm and dh also wanted a parent at home. We discussed it and I couldn't imagine him being in childcare and there wasn't a lot about at that time neither.
The similarity is I had a business and had a huge salary from this, but it involved 16+ hours a day to manage. The phone would always be ringing and I'd had enough. My dhs profession doesn't pay much and we lived on min wage for many years.
neither of us regret the decision, it was right for us.
I think if you are determined to do something, or make huge changes, once you have thought it through you have to go with it, or you could regret it.

PuppyMonkey Thu 28-Nov-13 14:55:19

Could you go freelance in your line of work? Choose your own hours?

nitrox Thu 28-Nov-13 14:55:23

Life's too short in my opinion... Do something that will make you happy.

But, try to think of a direction you could move into that would make you happier.. otherwise, you might make yourself unhappy by ditching something that is challenging. It sounds like you like a challenge, so to be left with nothing would be torture.

You need to say what you would do instead for people to give better opinions.

ReallyOverThis Thu 28-Nov-13 15:06:25

Thanks. Was a bit wary of outing myself but sod it. I'm a Partner in a law firm.

DidoTheDodo Thu 28-Nov-13 15:08:32

if I was in your position I would chuck it all in now and go for a peaceful and rewarding life. I'm working towards this but don't have the money to do it yet (and I'm 55) so I say follow your heart on this.

Timetoask Thu 28-Nov-13 15:10:25

Make a plan, what would you like to do? Once the plan is in place, go for it, but don't ditch your amazing job just like that.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 28-Nov-13 15:11:10

I'm in the same position but have no idea what to do instead.

Toying with the idea of living on a beach in the carribean for the rest of my life. grin

MothershipG Thu 28-Nov-13 15:19:04

If your identity is tied up in your job how would you feel about yourself if you ditch it? I had a pretty mundane IT job that I did to pay the mortgage yet I was surprised at how much of my identity had been tied up in it when I was made redundant.

So I think you need to make plans, take some time out if you can, but get something else lined up. You are in the enviable position of being able to indulge yourself. Do you want to move into a less pressurised area of the law? Retrain for a different career? Go back to studying?

Wasting your life on a job you don't enjoy is plain silly if you don't have to but it sounds to me like you need to do something so start dreaming and planning!

I figure you cannot regret trying. However it goes.

Having lived in 4 houses in two counties in 12mths I feel confident in that advice. We couldn't see our present life 12mths ago. But it's turning out great. Hard road in between sometimes but if we hadn't tried we wouldn't be here now.

Everyone whose anyone has studied law. Question is more what can't you do, not what can.

Good luck

VerySmallSqueak Thu 28-Nov-13 15:25:51

You work to live,not live to work imho.

Well done! If you are financially able to do this,there's a world of opportunity out there and very little time to do it all in.

I cannot see how you can be wrong!

Mumsyblouse Thu 28-Nov-13 15:28:39

I'm not in law but I've heard this tale before, that you spend years and years trying to make partner, but the pressure is often worse after partner than before, and the long hour culture just continues.

Can you move sideways, set up on you own, move to a legal position in the public sector, consult?

Or get out of law altogether and do something else? (most of the lawyers I know do say it is boring to be honest).

mummymeister Thu 28-Nov-13 15:32:22

I did it around 8 years ago. never looked back. wish I had started my own business up years ago. don't earn anywhere near as much as I did, work longer more unsociable hours but much much happier.

Noideaatall Thu 28-Nov-13 15:35:39

don't know if this would be at all suitable but Timewise jobs have often got part time jobs for legal types. might be worth a look?

TheQuietCricket Thu 28-Nov-13 15:37:02

Do you and your Fiance want to have kids ?

If yes, get on with it (you're 40 after all) and decide after maternity leave.

If no, you could look for alternative sector legal work jobs and when/if you find a role you'd rather do, just do it. People who know you well enough to know your circumstances, (early death of both parents) will understand the need to not be all consumed by a high powered job. People who don't know you well, who cares what they think !

eofa1 Thu 28-Nov-13 15:41:30

I had a really well paid job when I came out of university, but one that involved extremely long hours and the kind of pressure you describe. I moved to something that paid quite a lot less, still with quite a bit of pressure, but not as unremitting. There are jobs out there that can make you feel like you're using your brain, doing something useful etc. without eating up every minute of every day! Good luck.

ReallyOverThis Thu 28-Nov-13 15:43:01

We're both on the fence re kids. Something I've been wrestling with. Am scared my motivation for a baby will be to get a break from my job. That can't be right!

You read The Undomestic Goddess OP? wink

I think Sophie Kinsella should have the floor with this one but couldn't you just do it for a few more years, work towards a goal, like a lump sum of money you can use to rest on your laurels a bit and figure out what you want to do next? Do you have to make the decision and leave at the same time?

oscarwilde Thu 28-Nov-13 15:49:55

You've had a material life change so you are reassessing your priorities. All completely normal.

I've done something similar post mat leave and it's fair to say, that my priorities are now my kids, and not the office. Not so easy in a law firm. I'm not a lawyer but I'm familiar with the environment.

Do you feel that you'll get your mojo / enthusiasm for the job back?
It's unusual to have this sort of promotion if there were concerns about your abilities. What support is available to you from business development, HR partners etc etc.
Uping your game? Is it mostly revenue related?

Do you intend to have children ? Where do you want to be in 10 yrs time? Retiring?

If you became seriously ill in 10 yrs time, would you regret not stepping off the treadmill now?

Some partners job share / work 4 days - few and far between but it does happen even in the major firms. Anyone out there with complementary strengths? Even a senior associate who might be ripe for promotion but can't commit to the lifestyle?

Can you make a sideways move (even as a % of your time) into internal Risk Management/general counsel etc? Not client focused primarily? Or do you work in a sector that's not possible in?

Is it really not possible to step down? Would you have lost your job if you had not been promoted? Can you renegotiate the financial terms of your partnership or is it one size fits all?

oscarwilde Thu 28-Nov-13 15:57:23

Oh - and start taking holidays in places with no mobile signal grin

ReallyOverThis Thu 28-Nov-13 16:01:53

IIRC the Undomestic Goddess got fired from her firm for fucking up massivelygrin

I already have the money due to my inheritance , and DH to be earns more than enough to keep us. I suppose my problem is that I love how it feels to say that I do what I do, but actually doing it is too much of my life. For me, anyway. But don't want to give ammunition to those who say women can't cut it.

brunette123 Thu 28-Nov-13 16:04:02

I have lost both my parents and used to be an in-house lawyer - one of the best decisions I made to pack it in and on reflection wish I had done something different with my career as although I enjoyed the law degree I never enjoyed being a lawyer either in private practice or in-house. It got to the point that I was terribly unhappy and it is such long hours not a 9-5 job - majority of my waking life was at work and life was too short for me. I am oksih for money but definitely do not have disposable income the way I used to but I have freedom. Even when I went part-time it was like doing a full time role in fewer days.
I look back on my career with some sadness and no one I know who is still in law seems happy - not one - they are just stuck doing it for the money because they have to in order to keep the house going and pay for children etc.
Good luck to you xx

ReallyOverThis Thu 28-Nov-13 16:06:39

Brunette, thanks and sorry about your Mum and Dad. When you say you look back with sadness, do you mean sad that you miss it a bit or sad you ever chose it as a career?

Mollydoggerson Thu 28-Nov-13 16:07:27

I did something similar, I was working in general practice and moved into industry and it has been pretty good for me.

If you dislike what you are doing now, and if it is stressful and you simply don't need the money, then you can always think about taking a step sideways.

You are correct, life is too short.

ReallyOverThis Thu 28-Nov-13 16:09:01

Oscarwilde that's really helpful, thanks. Will try to reply in proper detail when more time. Though re going places with no mobile signal, I was basically told that is seen as insufficient commitment.

It's not that women can't, it's that some daft sod in the past decided everyone in certain jobs should work insane hours. It's just Not Necessary.

Why don't you go freelance, set up your own company with a less stupid attitude to work life balance? Start a new trend.grin

Disclaimer: I've not been in your position, but I am child of a workaholic. I wish he took more time for himself.

Mollydoggerson Thu 28-Nov-13 16:10:22

ReallyOverThis, you need to assess how much of your decision is based on your ego.

When you are on your death bed will you give a damn if you thought you impressed random people by your job title?

brunette123 Thu 28-Nov-13 16:10:50

It did not bother me to no longer be able to say I am a lawyer - I was a lawyer and I chose not to be any longer. That was quite empowering. I don't think that said anything negative about me quite the opposite - I could have carried on just didn't. I qualified and was successful and it does not bother me to tell people that I used to be a lawyer.

oscarwilde Thu 28-Nov-13 16:13:41

But don't want to give ammunition to those who say women can't cut it
Life's definitely too short for that. No point in smashing the through the glass ceiling if it turns into your prison.

Advertise on the partners intranet for a male or female job sharing partner and see who bites grin 3 days a week each with a day overlapping/ sharing an office. I'll bet you'll have a few takers if you work in a reasonable sized firm. More to the point, most firms are trying to up their female headcount - they may be able to attract some seriously good candidates who only want to/can work part-time.

So it demonstrates a lack of commitment. Boo hoo. There are lawyers keeling over all over the world from overwork. Someone has to make the first move to break the culture, it might as well be you. By the sound of it, you have a bigger safety net than most. What's the worst that can happen, word gets out and you are approached by a smaller firm who'll take you on any terms....

Talk to DH to be. Make sure he's not too invested in you being the super high flyer on his arm too.

ReallyOverThis Thu 28-Nov-13 16:14:46

So what did you mean about the sadness Brunette 123?

harticus Thu 28-Nov-13 16:14:48

One of my closest friends won scholarship to posh school, then Oxford then cherry picked for top city law firm.
Made insane amounts of money.

Got to 35 and suddenly threw in the towel, moved to the back of beyond, grows veggies, keeps chickens, works in a café and plays crap guitar in a local band.
He is the happiest and most contented person I know.
Occasionally his old city chums visit and think he has lost the plot.
But he knows that he has got it right and they have got it very wrong.

Our culture is wrapped up in the bullshit of achievement and financial gain and all that.
But it isn't what life is all about and more often than not it stops you from being really genuinely happy.

brunette123 Thu 28-Nov-13 16:15:41

Regret choosing to be a lawyer in the first place - so dry, quite boring, having to be quiet most of the time, work long hours with little work/life balance, sarky comments if I left on time about whether I had gone part-time, people seemed obsessed with what time you leave even if you come in early. Hated it from when I was a trainee and did it for 15 years. The partners I liked were the mavericks and tended not to be popular with the other partners. I am a lively person and it was hard as a lawyer as that doesn't usually work too well and I should have chosen a career where my personality was the important thing not just the ability to get my head down and grind out contracts. Thankfully I got out of private practice within a year of qualification otherwise I never would have lasted as long.

HairyPorter Thu 28-Nov-13 16:19:20

But what would you do instead??
I've been between jobs previously and while I looked forward to it, it got pretty boring fairly quick! (I.e within a few days!). If you can find things you love to fill your time and give you a sense of purpose then by all means to so. But otherwise you'll be walking into a void...

flatmum Thu 28-Nov-13 16:19:40

i know someone who was a partner in a law firm and left to work in-house law and is now a company secretary. Could you do something similar? No idea if the money is comparable but they seem ok.

theoriginalandbestrookie Thu 28-Nov-13 16:22:12

Can you move to another company ? Go back to your previous position? It sounds like it was okayish and now the promotion has tipped you over the edge.

I went down a grade a couple of years ago, it was wrapped around having time for my DS and cutting my hours, but even before I had him I hated the travelling and picking up work in the evening. Some people thrive on the thrill of working long hours - doesn't sound like you do, so you are right to question it. In a way it's easier when you have DCs as people aren't surprised when you curtail your ambitions, but harder to justify if you don't have them to pin the blame on !

I'm generally pretty happy now - Im sure I could be happier if only I could figure out what I was meant to be doing, but atm this is a great compromise, keeps fairly decent money coming in but means I have enough energy to do stuff outside of work.

Could you find a careers counsellor or someone to talk to like that? I had a few sessions with someone who did this for a living and it exposed a few really important things - like there was little point in me applying for a similar job in another company as it was the work itself that was the problem.

ineedanexcuse Thu 28-Nov-13 16:22:34

I read somewhere that if you have a really big decision to make it is better to simply toss a coin rather than spend long hours agonising over it. This is because when you toss the coin you will know how you want it to land while it is still in midair.

So do the lawyery type thing and write down all the pros and cons so that everything is covered and then toss that coin.

Enjoy your new life grin

amicissimma Thu 28-Nov-13 16:22:58

OK, a view from the other side.

(I appreciate that many people are not lucky enough to have the choice. This post is by and for those who do, and is just a POV.)

I've been a SAHM for many years; my youngest is at secondary school. I originally gave up work because it was clear that my job was becoming more demanding of time and energy, just as DH's was, too and I could see the situation arising where the DCs went for days without seeing either parent if we were both involved in working early and late.

I'm well educated and had worked hard to get where I was at work.

I do not regret it at all. I involved myself in my local community. At first that meant toddler groups, then nursery, then school, as well as church and various sports and local classes. As I got to know more people, more opportunities arose. When we moved area I knew what sort of things to look out for so built up the same life again. Now wherever I go I run into someone I know, and if we have time, often stop for a chat or a coffee, etc. I know which of my neighbours need an eye kept out for them and, TBH, I am aware that some of the local cafes would not survive if they were not patronised during the working days by people like me.

My identity is me, not just a job title, but the amalgam of all the parts of my life. I feel very fulfilled and stimulated and have friends and acquaintances from all walks of life, not just the one field I would work in. I am using my skills and education in a variety of ways. I have control over my time, and can add activities or slow down and just enjoy being as suits me at the time.

From the home point of view, life is more relaxed than it would be if DH and I were fighting over who got out of the house for an early meeting if the nanny should cancel, who will cook dinner, pick up the DCs, leave work if a child is sick, or who is the most tired or contributes the most, etc. I have taken on the domestic stuff, and DH is responsible for bringing in the money. We have decided together to split things this way, so we don't feel resentment. We each appreciate the contribution of the other. We have made sure that the finances are arranged so that if anything happens to one of us, the other is not stuck, and I have checked my name and percentage in writing on his pension. I like it that when the DC or DH come into the house there is someone there who cares about how their day was (usually!).

Although DH has been free to rush off abroad at the drop of a hat, which has done his promotion prospects no harm, the fact that we are less well off than we would be if I worked is far outweighed by the quality of life for the whole family.

So, that's my perspective. It's how it can be. But you are not me. Hopefully you can see how you react to what I've written and use that to help your decision-making.

brunette123 Thu 28-Nov-13 16:24:12

I do not work and I am in my 40s. I am always busy with exercise or my dog walking or seeing friends and my boyfriend. I am not bored. It has been 2 years now. The problem with law is it is a 60plus hour week or you leave law and it is nigh on impossible to get something part-time - I managed to get a four day week but only because I became a contractor and the company were desperate. Even returning mums who were initially able to work part-time were later put under pressure to go full time or ended up working massively over their hours and being late for childminders and nurseries. I felt I needed a house husband to take care of everything for me to continue as a lawyer.

Timeforabiscuit Thu 28-Nov-13 16:24:37

Which 30% do you actually enjoy now - are they transferable to other areas? Do you have any hobbies, interests you'd like to pursue?

I don't think you need to set yourself to a standard that no one can possibly achieve - it sound like within this job role you can cut, have cut it, and now you find it lacking not you.

ReallyOverThis Thu 28-Nov-13 16:26:21

Thanks, that makes sense. FWIW I haven't been pushing doggedly and with tunnel vision towards getting where I am, I have always had one eye on the alternative - got out of the City at one year after qualification, I've changed specialism twice and also had a stint in house but was persuaded to go back to pp by my current firm (I was their client). They flattered me into it, said I was wasting my potential.

3.5 years ago I was 37 and single and despairing of ever meeting anyone. I met DP and am happier in my personal life than ever (despite losing my Mum) . But weirdly if it wasn't for him I think I'd have ditched the job on the basis that nobody else would be affected by my decision. I don't mean that he'd want me to stay- he has already said he'd support me leaving- but I feel that the rest of my life is someone else's concern now too so I had better get it right.

brunette123 Thu 28-Nov-13 16:27:32

If you are currently a partner, I cannot see how you can go back to being a solicitor within the same firm without losing face/credibility and even to move firms to be a solicitor carries risk - I know someone who did it and was just sidelined and never made partner again. Terribly difficult for you but you only get one life, be happy

Pusspuss1 Thu 28-Nov-13 16:28:38

Lol - I knew you were a fellow lawyer just from reading the OP! It is a soul-destroying business on a lot of days. That said, I'm a SAHM just now and I miss it. Who knew... :-/

flatmum Thu 28-Nov-13 16:31:18

If you're not in the City and hence not giving up Millions (I assume) and haven't got kids in private school and a massive mortgage which you have said you haven't - I don't really see whay you shouldn't be able to move sideways/do something else. Or have a baby and take maternity leave to think about it? (I know what you mean about it being the wrong reason but obvioulsy it wouldn't be the only reason)

bunnymother Thu 28-Nov-13 16:37:15

Another former lawyer who read your OP and thought "bet you've just made partner in a law firm". I don't think you should stay, as you obv don't want to. Does the website moretolaw.com have any examples of life after law that appeal to you? Maybe speak to a recruiter about what in-house roles they have? It sounds like they vary greatly, with something for almost everyone.

ReallyOverThis Thu 28-Nov-13 16:42:17

My Mum was so proud. Neither she nor my Dad went to University and she was a SAHM who regretted being one. She was diagnosed with cancer about 2 weeks after my promotion. I think a large part is that it seems wrong to give up what they never had the chance to achieve- in her case, what she sacrificed her own career to give me.

Pusspuss1 Thu 28-Nov-13 16:52:17

Actually, you know what? I don't think you should decide right now. You've just been through an awful lot with losing your parents, and they always say not to make big decisions immediately after major life events. I vote you give it 6 months, think some more about possible alternatives and then reassess. It's a really tough one and I sympathise.

oscarwilde Thu 28-Nov-13 16:54:25

I doubt very much that if your mum gave up a career to look after you that she, on her deathbed would advise you to be unhappy. She might advise you to wait a bit and give a new job a chance, but no decent parent would do that.

Terrortree Thu 28-Nov-13 16:55:32

Don't leave until you know what you're moving on to - as that will give you a goal if you need further training. You may end up in the middle of nowhere and feeling 16 again with no idea how you're going to fill the rest of your life.

I've given up my career, which was exciting and had status, but I hated the bureaucracy of the job, the petty politics, and the long hours culture. I just found myself aged 38 not wanting to spend the next 20 years or so climbing the ladder and sacrificing my sanity.

I'm working towards doing something radically different, I rely on my husband for funds (scary - never done that before) but I do not miss what I used to do. Making the adjustment financially is the easy bit to be honest.

youretoastmildred Thu 28-Nov-13 16:56:24

Do you know if you want children? Does this question have anything at all to do with the issue of having children?

I ask because a, this is mumsnet and a lot of nonparents here do have children somehow in the backs of their minds; b. you are 40 which doesn't give you all the time in the world; c. you have lost your parents, one recently (I am sorry) which can make these things difficult and emotional to think about but also brings them to the surface.

It sounds to me as if you are burnt out right now, but you like work per se. If you are a successful lawyer, you can work in some other way - all businesses, all ventures full stop need lawyers, so there are countless fields you could work in. If you don't care about the money you are absolutely free to put your talents to good use in any field at all, no matter what the salary, and you could do great things that you could be very proud of.

bunnymother Thu 28-Nov-13 16:56:37

But, really, it's your life. You have achieved something extraordinary. That can't be taken away. But it's a waste of your life to stay doing something you don't like. Leaving pp isn't necessarily the end of your stellar career, btw. Some people do even better in-house or something entirely different. Example - a friend is a COO, after starting as a lawyer, then going into banking. Another lady I know went from City lawyer to mgt consultant to CEO. Just examples. However, I expect you "know" this but are struggling w the emotions around accepting your choice. Sorry if jumbled post - young DCs are playing loudly next to me.

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Thu 28-Nov-13 16:56:37

My mum and my stepdad were both partners in law firms for many years. My stepfather still is. Mum developed severe depression (mainly down to the horrendously sexist culture within law) and was signed off sick and eventually paid off. She has recently returned to work after a 5 year break as in-house legal counsel.

Watching from the sidelines, I think it is no coincidence that she became ill shortly after my sister and I finished university and started supporting ourselves. She asked herself what she was doing it for, and the answer was fuck knows. She was unable to work for a long time - an attempt at going back to a quiet country firm failed after the first week, two or three years ago.

Law is not worth it. Money is not worth it. No one should have to work in that sort of environment. I think it is particularly hard on women because of the sexism and the macho work-all-hours culture. If you have kids, society is telling you you're a crap mother for going to work at all, while your boss and colleagues are telling you you're a shit worker for wanting to spend any time at home. Add to that constant things like trips to strip clubs, younger, less experienced male partners being taken on with a better deal than you got and being told to shut up and stop banging on when you complained, etc etc...If you're not enjoying it, then get out!

One element of this story is the fact that Mum went off sick and was ultimately paid off. She was very worried about how she could possibly return to work in the same small geographical area, when everyone would know her story. 5 years later (a few months ago), she was headhunted by someone who had worked for her as a trainee. So it is possible to leave (even in a way that potential employers could find very worrying, which you wouldn't be doing) and come back years later. She was about your age - is now 47.

Mumof3teens Thu 28-Nov-13 16:57:30

Agree - life is definitely too short to be unhappy at work if you can afford not to do it. Take some time out to decide what you want to do.

Earningsthread Thu 28-Nov-13 17:00:46

I think, old thing, that you are turning off your job because you are not cutting it. If you are quitting out of genuine disinterest, then that is fine and valid. If you are quitting out of fear of failure, then we should talk about that. Because any promotion in the environment that I imagine you to be in will require a change of behaviours. Are you adaptable enough? Flexible enough? Dynamic enough? Can you make that step-change? I think you can, but you are frightened of failure. Give it a shot. Your best shot. Say for 12 months. If you find you can do it but you still don't want to, then fine. If you find you can't do it, then also fine.

Good luck!

rocketupbum Thu 28-Nov-13 17:16:49

I think it is an interesting dilemma.
My SIL works in a very stressful and well paid job. She has hated it for as long as I have known her, about 16 years! I have no idea why she doesn't just jack it in and become a dog walker (she and her DH have no financial issues). I think she, like you, feels defined by her job and the kudos of the level she has reached. She also knows how proud her mum and dad would have been (they have both passed away too).
I think my ILs would have wanted her to be happy and life really is too short to work with people who you hate in a competitive and destructive environment.
No one else has the answers but if you have financial freedom then really you could do anything, wake up on Monday mornings with a smile and retire with the knowledge you have enjoyed the most productive years of your life.
Good luck deciding!

ReallyOverThis Thu 28-Nov-13 17:17:18

ha Ha earningsthread I like the way you put that. You may have a point- better to jump now and say I reject them, than have them reject me - maybe that's what's in my mind. Frankly I don't feel a bit dynamic, as my username suggests, just when I need to be at my most enthusiastic it's all boring me senselessness the thought or 10 more years of time sheets makes me want to slit my wrists.

I should clarify that I work in a mid tier firm in a very specialist field - it's most definitely not all presenteeism and strip clubs. And my fellow partners are for the most part nice, reasonable people whom I am loathe to disappoint.

maryannmarie Thu 28-Nov-13 18:01:56

Lots of people are doing soul-destroying jobs and continue to do them because they're trapped. From the sounds of it, you're not trapped so get out!

Give yourself time to figure out what it is you actually want to do and go for it. Life really is too short.

sisterelephant Thu 28-Nov-13 18:09:40

Life is too short but think about what you will do instead.

Travel? Start your own business? Write a novel?

I think you need to decide 'what next' before making the leap.

Good luck.

tumbletumble Thu 28-Nov-13 18:21:25

OP, you may be interested in this thread. Lots of ex-lawyers on it!

A friend of mine used to be a lawyer and is now a financial services ombudsman. Using his transferable skills without having to actually be a lawyer.

dontblameme Thu 28-Nov-13 18:38:16

My tuppenceworth - 4 years ago I chucked in a well-paid job with no idea of what to go to (I was probably enjoying 30% of it, like you). Some folk thought I was mad, my DP supported me. Found a part-time job in a completely different field and am still there now with a much better work-life balance.

Although I do dream of starting my own business soonish.

ReallyOverThis Thu 28-Nov-13 18:51:21

Thanks everyone. My Dad was a PR Consultant, so must have experienced much of what I do in terms of demanding clients.I remember him sitting up late at night surrounded by papers on the dining room table. I sit up working late at night too. I remember him worrying about pitches. I worry about how to gain clients. He was always behind on his expenses. I am always behind on my time sheets. Every now and again he'd say he wanted to run a deli or go to university as a mature student. He was still an unhappy PR Consultant when he dropped dead at 53. That's my lesson, isn't it?

mantlepiece Thu 28-Nov-13 19:39:44

my twopennorth??
You are in love, you want to make babies.... do it!!

tiredoldmum Thu 28-Nov-13 19:49:12

It sounds like because of your financial position you have some choices and can buy some time.

Do you want this particular job to work out?

I would spend some serious time on a day off thinking about your life and your career and what it is you want.

I spent 2 decades in fancy high pressure IT work until I was completely burnt out. I'm broke now and can't say I am any happier as there is the stress and pressure to pay the bills.

I've actually applied to go back to school for a graduate degree.

Enough of my lot. Just wanted to say others can relate to what you are going through.

Tailtwister Thu 28-Nov-13 19:50:06

I think very senior positions are a bit like a poisoned chalice. I was recently offered one but it would have involved going full-time and basically I would have been at their beck and call. Not for me I'm afraid. I've probably damaged my career permanently as a result, but I just know I wouldn't have been happy.

If you can manage financially OP I would ditch the job. Take 6 months out and see how you feel then. I took nearly 2yrs out recently (3 if you count mat leave) and had a job again within 2 weeks of looking. If you leave on good terms and keep some 'friends' in the industry you can always go back. Better to leave on a high than work yourself into a bad situation and damage your reputation.

paxtecum Thu 28-Nov-13 19:51:37

So what does DP think about it?
He has got together with a woman earning loads of money and you both must quite a life style together.
Is he going to be supportive of your joint income halving.

Do you have an extravagent life style now?
Weekends abroad, expensive meals out, wine that costs more than £10 per bottle, expensive hotels, all the latest gadgets?

I am not a lawyer but work in a law firm and in the past 12 months I had to deal with a colleague bullying me, my work taken away from, told I can't be promoted until someone in the team leaves, worked 60hrs plus for a year moved holidays etc and afterwards I got nothing for it just moved sideways into another role - forget a payrise I didn't even get my time back and I work in a junior position in Business Development.

Honestly, I have no confidence in my abilities, don't even know if I am good enough anymore - I am actively looking to leave but I don't even know what I want to do anymore.

So I feel for you OP and I say jack it in it isn't worth it.

Retroformica Thu 28-Nov-13 20:36:52

Is there any way you could work privately for yourself as a lawyer or if you could teach law? I wonder if your personality might suit it more?

Retroformica Thu 28-Nov-13 20:38:31

You must have lots if transferable skills.

duckyfuzz Thu 28-Nov-13 20:39:26

I did it and I don't regret it at all

Retroformica Thu 28-Nov-13 20:41:43

What about charitable law work?

sittinginthesun Thu 28-Nov-13 20:42:40

I'm a lawyer, but deliberately chose the other opposite end of the career ladder - part time job, great job satisfaction, great work life balance, but crap money, no glamour whatsoever!

I wouldn't swap places with you for the world, but I never really got the buzz from the high end stuff, even at uni or work experience.

In your position, I would take some time out away from work - a long weekend maybe - and climb a mountain. Seriously, get your head clear and away from it all, see how you feel. Make a few dreams, a five or ten year wish list, and then see how you feel.

I've got a couple of friends who have dipped in and out, so it is possible. One ended up moving country and is having a great time (still law related). Another tried something else, then ended setting up his own boutique firm, and is doing very well indeed.

You are in a fantastic position to take a chance. See it as an amazing opportunity.

Worriedkat Thu 28-Nov-13 21:08:21

When my mum died it made me re-evaluate everything. I needed at least a year, if not 18 months, without making big decisions. Not that I realised it at the time. I gave up an analyst role very easily, felt I wasn't good enough at it, life too short etc. it was a great job, great benefits and looking back it wasn't the most sensible financial decision long term.

It's surprising how quickly finances can dwindle if you're not working too. Even lump sums.

monkeysox Thu 28-Nov-13 21:11:19

Similar personal circumstances here but I'm a teacher. I leave in 3 weeks. I do have two kids under 5 though. Life definitely too short

Xmasbaby11 Thu 28-Nov-13 21:20:14

I wouldn't make any rash decisions until you have a pretty clear plan. I know friends who have left similarly high-flying jobs because they felt life was too short. They are happy now (a few years on) but struggled a lot with a massive reduction in income - in fact they still 'feel' poor even though by others' standards they are comfortable. In fact, they never found another career path, and after a few years spending money doing courses and retraining, they both returned to their previous industry at a lower level.

realblueprint Thu 28-Nov-13 21:21:00

"I suppose my problem is that I love how it feels to say that I do what I do, but actually doing it is too much of my life"

You don't need to let your ego dictate your life.

Isn't it a little embarassing that you'd live a life you hate just to impress people occasionally?

GrendelsMum Thu 28-Nov-13 21:56:11

A friend was a partner in a law firm, and gave it up at about 35. She now spends (roughly) 1 day / week doing freelance work, 2 days / week doing pro-bono work for a charity she values, 1 day / week volunteering in non-law related ways, 3 days / week doing stuff she enjoys.

She doesn't live an expensive lifestyle at all, doesn't have children, and finds that her 1 day / week of law work funds the rest of her life perfectly nicely, but she could take on more if she needed to. I find her really inspirational.

GrendelsMum Thu 28-Nov-13 21:57:51

Re. Xmasbaby's point - I think one of the reasons it worked for my friend is that she genuinely is not a very materialistic person, does not spend money on clothes or going out, so I don't think she struggled with the massive drop in income.

stopprocrastinating Thu 28-Nov-13 22:07:23

I jacked in a job I hated, that was well-paid. I struggled to get another job, due to gaps in CV. Find another job, before leaving the one you already have.

I do have a wonderful job now, but it took me four years after leaving my hated job... and cost me many thousands of pounds, if I consider what I would have earned, if I'd left with another job to go to.

EBearhug Thu 28-Nov-13 22:07:51

If your Mum only died a few months ago - well, that's no time at all. Don't rush into any big decisions. Grief comes and goes, and it plays on your mind and decisions without you realising it.

ChaffinchOfDoom Thu 28-Nov-13 22:21:04

you can do anything you want - literally the world is your oyster.

you could go into property management and be a landlord, that takes legal skills and would be very interesting

you could foster kids
rescue animals
write a blog about escaping the rat race
give legal advice to charities - give something back

even considering an escape can make you look very hard at your workplace, see if changes can be made that would make you happier before deciding
there are always other law jobs if you want to return

a big consideration would be your pension, strong financial planning before setting yourself free
good luck to you

Rhubarbgarden Thu 28-Nov-13 22:38:14

I did it. Similar situation to you - high flying, enviable job (but not law); lost my mojo after my mum died; met a bloke, realised my priority was making a life with him and not jetting off around the world on business travel. No longer wanted to work late or play the corporate game. Loved telling people what I did and hearing them go "oh wow".

Then one day, after a spell of feeling quite down about things, had a bit of a disagreement with my boss. Said to her "you know what, I think I might just fuck off and go and be a gardener instead" and flounced out of the office.

Didn't really mean it - and yet - never went back. Went to horticultural college, set up my own business. Never regretted it for a second.

Now I enjoy telling people that I used to do the high-flying ultra desirable job and then fucked off to be a gardener. I get better 'wows' for that now. grin

Only fly in the ointment has been my company grinding to a bit of a halt just as it was taking off, as we decided to start a family. I'd have liked to put that off for a few years, but time wasn't on our side. I wasn't entirely sure about babies either, I never felt much of a maternal urge but thought I better do it in case later I regretted not doing so. That's a bit of a crappy reason for having kids too, but I'm bloody glad I did and now I actually find it a bit scary how close I came to not having them.

Sorry that turned out to be a bit epic. Hope it helps. Good luck. Life is short indeed.

bellasuewow Thu 28-Nov-13 22:44:40

It is interesting that you say you would be throwing away years of study but what did you study for and what were you ambitious for as it doesn't sound like you did all that to have a job perhaps you consider crap but feel you should be aiming for. Progression is not just up a male hierarchy and ambition and career success is not defined so narrowly within that hierarchy anymore. You studied so hard to have a great life and this role does not sound like it is good enough for you.

fuzzle Thu 28-Nov-13 22:51:45

PSL. Partner in a smaller firm. GLS. Local authority. PLC/legal publishing. Consult. Cross over to the bar. Go Senior counsel in another firm. Start own firm. In-counsel general counsel. Teaching on LPC. Legal academia. Tbh I think there are loads of things you can do - obv depending on your practice area and how much of a salary hit you are willing to take. An LPC tutor I knew had previously been a magic circle partner in corporate, then went to a smaller firm still partner and then she was an lpc tutor (changes made to be able to spend more time at home with family). I also know a partner who went into a government job and the out again into a diff firm as senior counsel. I'd agree that life probably is too short. Maybe another firm would be better though some are less client wining and dining. The bb on holiday tho is prob non-negociable....

youretoastmildred Thu 28-Nov-13 23:03:52

I don't understand why people are telling you to find something else to do before you resign. It sounds to me as if one of the problems with your job is lack of headspace so actually you need to resign and then find out what you would prefer to do. If you aren't living month to month on your salary to pay the mortgage, that is terrible advice. It would be like advising someone who has fallen out of love with their husband to start a relationship with another man before separating. (not for moral reasons! but because rebound decisions are often terrible)

I have a feeling you will find yourself thinking very positively and creatively about what you want and need when you are not in that environment. but i imagine (others who know better may correct me) that even if you want to do something very similar, also high flying, competitive and corporate, it is no black mark against you to say "I resigned and took time out to consider my options for x months." I have always admired people who say they have been resting between jobs because I see it as a show of strength: financial strength, that they have the wherewithal to do this (ok this is a superficial thing to be impressed by but it does kind of impress me); also the confidence and the sense of self worth to take the next move seriously, not to rush into things that come your way but to value your own time and your life.

I think the sort of thing you are doing now is a hermetic world from within which it is hard to feel other value systems, it closes you off and makes its values absolute in your life, from lack of time as much as anything, as well as the confidence and influence of the others around you. If these values do not satisfy you it can't be an easy environment from which to construct a different life. And you don't have to. just get out. you are strong. You'll find you get back in if you want to. it could be you just need a break. But it doesn't sound like it to me.

If you have children it may be better to have some idea of some more satisfying work before you have them, rather than having them, then thinking "I am ready now to end Mat leave but I can't go back to that... oh fuck what do I do now". similarly the end of maternity leave is a terrible time to make decisions, because you have had no time to yourself for so long, and have been so absorbed in a hermetic world, that you need to get out of it before you consider your options. so you may find yourself going back to your old job, then hating it again, but once again feeling too stifled to understand clearly why, or what to do.

Having time to think is an incredible luxury. Don't let people keep you on the treadmill out of fear.

Hogwash Thu 28-Nov-13 23:04:27

I think you need a plan ... a plan to throw yourself into it, make sacrifices for a year, miss out on that relaxing holiday, absolutely nail it as a partner until your fellow partners can see you have made the grade ... then go. Would you always wonder 'what if' if you went now? Would you feel you hadn't really made partner if you think you aren't really cutting it?

I would go with your head held high and reputation in tact.

However, if you are 40 and considering children, then ignore all that and get on with ttc!

Hogwash Thu 28-Nov-13 23:29:45

Two other things - I doubt very much you would have made partner in a mid tier firm if you weren't capable of cutting it as I imagine partner assessment would have been rigorous.

Secondly, your mum has recently died - it's a difficult time to be making such a huge decision. I would imagine a sabatical would be out of the question so early after making partner, but what about compassionate leave to sort out your parents' estates, to give you some thinking time? Could you split your fee earning role with a non-client facing role?

Hogwash Thu 28-Nov-13 23:30:15

Sorry, also meant to ask which are the bits you don't enjoy (other than timesheets, obviously)?

MooncupGoddess Thu 28-Nov-13 23:41:07

I have been in a similar position (but different industry and much less well paid!). I gave myself six months to think it through... not just the obvious issues but ones like: do I need the structure of work life? can I psychologically live on my savings or accept the uncertainty of self-employment? how would I begin to look for something else?

It is hard, giving in your notice without something else to go to. Lots of people will think you're mad (or 'brave' as they will kindly put it). You will suddenly remember all the bits of your job you love, and be overcome with sorrow at losing the colleagues you have a laugh with every day.

It may very well still be the right decision for you! But don't rush it.

justmyview Fri 29-Nov-13 00:09:09

Since your Mum only died a few months ago, I think this isn't the time to make big decisions.

Could you move to a smaller firm, where there might be less pressure?

I don't think that deciding not to be a partner means that you don't have a future in law (if you want it)

In my old office, we had various directors / consultants who had previously been partners elsewhere. They tended to say that they'd proved themselves elsewhere, knew they could do it, got the Tshirt, but really enjoyed the client work more than the admin hassle of running a law firm. Staff accepted that at face value.

I think having spent so long training, it would be a pity to totally change direction unless you really want to, but you may be able to find other variations of law which do appeal to you - how about lecturing?

ReallyOverThis Fri 29-Nov-13 11:25:32

Thank you to everyone who has posted such insightful comments and fascinating life stories. Rhubarbgarden yours particularly strikes a chord, thank you.

Hogwash - one of my projects for this weekend is to write down exactly the bits that I do and don't enjoy and see if there is a way to manoeuvre more towards the bits that I do. If it's not possible within this job then I should find something where it is. Interestingly, one of the bits that I DO like may surprise people - it's the management side that many partners hate having to take on when they are promoted. I think I possibly would enjoy being a law firm COO (a role traditionally filled by managing partners, usually long serving equity partners, but increasingly by financially-qualified non-lawyers). Or possibly something like Head of Training in a law firm.

Pennyacrossthehall Fri 29-Nov-13 11:47:42

One question that I haven't seen anyone pose (although I haven't read every single post):

What if the positions were reversed, and it was your fiance who was deciding whether to ditch his (also high-flying?) career?

Think hard about this. I am sure that you would be happy to support him. But . . . . for how long? What would he do instead? If he sat at home and lived off you for ever, while you grafted six days a week, how would you feel in five years time? Would all of the answers to the above be different if he was looking after your children?

YoungGirlGrowingOld Fri 29-Nov-13 12:50:37

ReallyOverThis

No advice and have not had time to read the whole thread, but I am in almost the same position (except currently in the run-up to partnership) - v similar age to you, no kids. My OH/Fiance is a NHS Consultant with a busy private practice and we never see each other. I am struggling with the workload and with the weight of everyone's expectations. I suspect I will fail to make partner and I think part of me will be relieved, although I am also concerned about disappointing my family.

My plan (although it remains to be seen whether I will have the balls to do it!) is to spend 6 months looking for a house for me and OH, and volunteering at a hospice I have some connections with. Even trying to arrange viewings and bank appointments is impossible for us at the moment. After that I plan to do contract work, e.g. in-house maternity covers. Hopefully my skills will be marketable and I can work more reasonable hours. It has just got to the point where, even with no kids, one of our careers has to take a back seat and I really, really want it to be mine!

In response to your OP, my heart says do what makes you happy but I know it's far more complicated than that and lawyers tend to be risk-averse and over-analytical, which makes it more difficult to throw caution to the wind. Either way, good luck - and I am going to read everyone's helpful responses later when I have more time!!

Rhubarbgarden Fri 29-Nov-13 13:33:00

smile

Hogwash Fri 29-Nov-13 13:41:36

'possibly would enjoy being a law firm COO (a role traditionally filled by managing partners, usually long serving equity partners, but increasingly by financially-qualified non-lawyers). Or possibly something like Head of Training in a law firm.' That sounds perfect - no chargeable time pressure and a potentially easier worklife balance (? not sure about that bit - other partners would still put a lot of pressure on you). But, is there any way back into client work after that? Wouldn't that be the first role to change in cutbacks? Do you just need a lesser client role somewhere smaller?

MrsCliveStanden Fri 29-Nov-13 13:47:39

I did it! Was in a job that made me really unhappy, my mother had died about 6 months earlier, was mid 30's and just thought "there has to be more than this" handed in my notice then spent the next 6 months on a project/building own company type thing. Company was at launch stage when I found I was pregnant after ttc for many years. Fast forward to now, live overseas, unlikely to work anytime soon due to many factors. Never been happier.

My accountant gave up his very lucrative practice (if that's the correct phrase) to cultivate his orchard. Now supplies apples/apple crisps to major supermarkets. He too has never been happier. A the risk of sounding wankerish carpe diem!

Tenacity Fri 29-Nov-13 15:25:28

Life is meant to be enjoyed. If the enjoyment goes, then it's mere existence.

OP it sound like you are in a better financial shape than most, and not needing to worry about staying on the hamster wheel.
I would say go for it!

Pizdets Fri 29-Nov-13 16:02:54

Definitely go for it! I left my steady and successful career just over a year ago after we lost a pregnancy halfway through. My parents thought it was a knee-jerk and foolhardy decision but I think sometimes a loss can clarify what you want to get out of life and spur you to be brave in a way mundane life can't.

I took a few weeks to myself then did a bit of consulting and told myself I'd give it 6 months then see how I felt and maybe look for another permanent job - within a few months I was turning work down! I work the hours which suit me, walk the dog over lunch, meet with friends for lunches or coffee when I like and I earn as much as I did slogging my heart out and dealing with masses of internal politics and I am so much happier.

I'm on maternity leave now and it feels great to know I'll be able to work the hours which suit me once I decide to start again.

Based on what you said I can't see one good reason why you should stay, you're clearly clever and successful and have options open to you. If I were you I'd quit, take a long trip somewhere exciting then come back and do a little work to keep ticking over while you explore your options.

SugarMiceInTheRain Fri 29-Nov-13 17:00:16

Hmmm, I'm generally of the opinion that life is too short to spend doing a job you hate, and I know some jobs just become insanely pressurised and that is no way to live. However one of DH's best friends was very high up in a large bank. He was finding it all too much, looked increasingly stressed etc so volunteered for redundancy at the first mention of it. However, going suddenly from being a high flyer to not having anything to get up for in the morning has had a horrible impact on him, and he hasn't worked since. He is seriously depressed and can rarely bring himself to meet up with us socially. So I would say don't do it without something else lined up, whether that is a less pressurised job, studying, retraining etc...

hillyhilly Fri 29-Nov-13 17:05:52

I am another who did it when I had children but you don't need that 'excuse', I have never been happier or healthier. I have a wide circle of friends and hobbies which I simply couldn't even consider when I worked. I have never regretted it and if I'm honest, I have no desire whatsoever to work again.
The only thing I would say is that it is easier to justify not working and also to make friends with other similar people when you have children so make sure that you get out there and be sociable.

JohnnyUtah Fri 29-Nov-13 17:06:21

I am/was a lawyer. I gave up when our children were upper junior school. DH earns £250-350k and we needed less stress and more time for the kids. The first year was great. After three years I was climbing the walls and I now work part time (not as a lawyer) and am happier. Be careful!

raisah Fri 29-Nov-13 22:03:09

Could you become a Law lecturer instead? Lots of universities will start recruiting after Christmas for f/t positions. I would suggest that you apply to become a tutor taking a few tutorials a week to give you some breathing space. If you were interested in teaching & researching Law, pm me if you want more info.

With youe experience, you could use your knowledge in NGO's, government agencies, charities which would use your legal experience without burning you out.

paxtecum Sat 30-Nov-13 06:42:32

OP: You haven't mentioned your DPs opinion.

When my cousin (divorced) met his new DP, he admired her work ethic and independence.
12 months later she ditched her job without consulting him and found a very part time job that paid minimum wage, so no longer contributed to any household bills.

Another 12 months on and they have split up.

ReallyOverThis Sat 30-Nov-13 07:41:00

paxtecum it's a very important point. He certainly wouldn't want me to stay in a job that makes me unhappy, and he'd support me to leave with no job in place if I needed the headspace to decide what to do. However I would not expect him to support me and would still contribute exactly the same to our household, out of my savings. The crunch would come if he felt that meals out, holidays, activities etc were being limited because I was no longer willing to pay my half. I'd need to do some sums on that, but I wouldn't reach that point for a while as I have c 200k in savings of my own and my inheritance is enough to buy a house outright. So I'd basically treat the savings as income that was earned in advance.

Interestingly in his field he has potentially better opportunities for advancement if we move to another country, yet my job has been an obstacle to that. So it could be to his benefit, financially.

YoDiggity Sat 30-Nov-13 07:48:29

I'd leave. I agree, life's too short for crapola you don't need, when you can afford to walk away. It's easy enough to justify a long gap on your CV if you want to get back into the workplace later - you can just say you wanted to take a year or two's sabbatical and you were in a financial position to be able to do so, go travelling, concentrating on a big house refurb, whatever, just make something up. It will be much harder to explain away if you get sacked or demoted.

SuiGeneris Sat 30-Nov-13 08:00:35

OP: I can have a fairly good guess at what you do from the description and think DH and I were in the same industry some time ago.
Don't quit but think laterally about moves that would let you use your knowledge and skills differently, while potentially giving you more time to be you. Plan your way out and work at it just like any other project. Get a career coach, maybe, to help you explore different avenues. Give yourself a year or 18 months to plan and execute your exit strategy. But do NOT quit outright without a plan B. Your savings will not last (you are too young to retire), your self-image will take a battering and your relationship will suffer... I have seen it happen too often.
I have some more specific suggestions, incl coaches, but they would out your industry, if I am right, which you clearly don't want. Feel free to PM if you like.

paxtecum Sat 30-Nov-13 08:13:21

OP: YADNBU in your financial situation.

Is the other country somewhere you would like to live?
Hopefully it's not the M East.

Presuming your DP hasn't got a mean streak, then it is an attractive option.

Best wishes to you both.

SuiGeneris Sat 30-Nov-13 08:14:00

Ok, now have read more of the thread and I am right, you are a newly-made up partner in a law firm.

If you enjoy management (and clearly aren't too bad at law either) think v seriously about going in-house. In the right roles the work is much more interesting, the hours much better and the pay as good as or better than a salaried partner at a good firm. You also get to do a lot of management and commercial advice and outsource the boring bits. As an ex partner you would probably aim for a GC role, which would give you much more control over your life than now.

Also look at in-house non-legal Rolex where your skills and knowledge would be valued: Compliance, Audit, Public Policy, Government Relations. I know ex lawyers from Magic Circle or equivalent foreign firms who are successful in all of those roles.

Be v careful about training and PSLing: in many firms I know you would be everybody's dogsbody and job security and pay would be much worse than equivalent in-house roles.

ReallyOverThis Sat 30-Nov-13 08:33:20

Thanks SG. Funnily enough when I was unsure about going for partnership as I felt it was too much of a long term commitment, DP pointed out that the best in house jobs go to ex-partners. I actually did work in house for 3 years and I left because my now partners (whose client I was) told me I needed to be more ambitious....looking back now I was quite happy in that role but maybe did need to push myself a bit further for a few years.

Problem is that I'm not a corporate lawyer or a commercial generalist so wouldn't be suited to a lot of senior in house roles.

ReallyOverThis Sat 30-Nov-13 08:36:39

paxtecum no, not the Middle East - Singapore or Switzerland. Know both well and could happily live in either, though Switzerland harder for work as I have no interest in financial services and don't speak German.

DoctorTwo Sat 30-Nov-13 08:57:12
minionmadness Sat 30-Nov-13 09:16:45

I'm in the "life's too short" camp too.

7 years ago I was living for work, 70 hours plus a week and never really seeing DH. Sure we had a great lifestyle in regards to holidays etc but I was longing for children, but with 4 failed IVF's behind me never thought it would happen.

Facing a 5th IVF treatment, whilst trying to juggle the pressures of my career I just decided something had to give and it was the career.

I gave notice, we sold the big house and bought a smaller one outright. I concentrated on looking after myself and getting myself ready for the next IVF, which was successful and our twin sons were born a year after we moved into the our new home. They are 5 now BTW and I haven't worked since.

Our lives are very different now, but I am very happy with my lot and looking back I wasn't happy, I thought I was but not really.

Material things don't comfort you in old age, but memories can.

Apatite1 Sat 30-Nov-13 09:41:33

The only happy lawyers I know are the ones who work in an a combination of:

1. Supportive environment

2. Part time

3. Small regional firm

They don't earn a lot of money, but are much more satisfied in life. Those earning oodles are depressed, divorced, strangers to their family. Your sorry makes me sad. Please, please quit if you can financially manage it. My husband sees a lot of seriously depressed and burnt out lawyers as patients.

WinoHamster Sat 30-Nov-13 13:29:50

OP - I could have written your post. Newly made up, late 30s partner but hate the pressure, long hours. I'm sick of being the strong independent advisor, then getting home (eventually!) and crying to DH.

I'm not surprised you're going through a tough spell with your parents etc - I'm grateful I don't have that to deal with and I'm really sorry you do. Have you spoken to your firm about it? I think the biggest thing I'm missing at the minute is support - and my tactic has been to speak to my senior partner and stating, if you get me a paralegal and a good secretary, they can take a lot of the day to day pressure off, and my billing will increase (god forbid should this fall....!), and giving you more time to generate additional work for other team members. I don't know what practice area you are, but you could even look at working from home a day a fortnight or something?

It makes me wonder that we've had 10 plus years of intense pressure, working towards this 'partner' chalice and we feel like the pressure should drop, because 'we've made it'? When reality is, the pressure is worse (and in my case, fellow partners are now pushing for equity - I just can't be arsed).

My next tactic without a doubt will be to get pregnant and have a year off!!

Alanna1 Sat 30-Nov-13 14:51:49

Too many views to all read.

My advice is try and make the job what YOU want. If you are otherwise serious about leaving, you have nothing to lose really (& anyway its pretty tough to fire someone for working adequately and not checking blackberry in holiday and you'd probably settle out of tribunal anyway).

You could also set a very positive role for others in your firm.

I would set boundaries. Firm times that you are contactable outside of those and/or on holiday. Choose the clients you agree to dinner with. Choose the number of evenings. I've found clients quite like breakfast over dinner.... They have families etc. say no. Leave the blackberry in the office at the weekend - if someone needs to speak to you, they have to telephone.

raisah Sun 01-Dec-13 03:10:05

If you have 200k plus in savings, can you buy a small house to let & use the rent as monthly income while you take a years sabbatical. It will give you breathing space while being a long term investment for you.

thompson369 Sun 01-Dec-13 08:06:47

I think you should definitely make a change. I'm in a similar position and about to reduce my hours to part-time, primarily for more time with the kids but also, like you, after striving for years to reach a certain point I've realised I don't really want to do that role!

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