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Hate my flexible well paid job - law

(51 Posts)
Jojogabor Wed 25-Sep-19 12:36:43

I am a lawyer and have managed to secure a very flexible job where the money is decent in a private practice firm. Have worked there for 15 years in a non-fee earning role but I am not very good at it, feel like it is utterly meaningless and there is a huge amount of apathy for what I do. My peers have all left to do other things and so work is quite a depressing place. I would definitely like to continue working but not in this role and I am very nervous about losing flexibility and decent pay as have four school aged children. I am fortunate that I could afford not to work for a short time but very scared to make the jump. If I was to switch careers, I would have to invest some time in upskilling / getting to grips with new place which I just don’t have the energy for....wondering if I have mild depression and wish I had some coaching to sort myself out.

My husband is now a bit sick of me complaining. What would you do? Suck it up and get on with it? Take a career break? Fully appreciate it’s rare to get a flexible job in law and I should be grateful but it’s just not for me. Have stuck at it for a while now.

Happyspud Wed 25-Sep-19 12:38:36

Make the jump. Life is for living and experiencing. Not sitting rotting somewhere you hate till you die.

BrokenLogs Wed 25-Sep-19 12:44:40

I'm in a contract role that is soul destroying.

But it's close to home, pays ridiculously well and I get flexibility.

I'll stay as long as the contract goes for but when it's done I won't look back. It's just too hard to motivate myself day in day out for this role.

Jojogabor Wed 25-Sep-19 12:50:18

Thanks both. Yes I agree that life is for living but then wonder if I am being too selfish as need the income to support the family and my husband is very busy doing a job he doesn’t particularly love (he earns around 7x what I do though).
That’s great that you have an end in sight Broken. If I did, then think I would just grin and bear it. I am thinking about approaching someone internally about another role that would interest me - but a bit scared that I might lose flexibility and worried it might go wrong. Think my biggest obstacle is fear.

justasking111 Wed 25-Sep-19 12:52:59

You need the income to support the family when your OH earns 7x what you do. What on earth are you doing with this joint income?

KatharinaRosalie Wed 25-Sep-19 12:53:34

Try to figure out what you would want to do, what you hate about your job and what would you need to change. I'd try to do at least some of that before you jump ship - in my experience it's easier to find new jobs when you already have one.
You are scared it may go wrong - but it IS wrong at the moment. You hate what you do. That's soul destroyinig. How much worse can it get?

unlimiteddilutingjuice Wed 25-Sep-19 12:58:42

Would you consider a law based job in the voluntary sector?
I work in welfare rights. Its technically complex, interesting and undeniably useful.
Flexible and family friendly working is pretty much always an option. The pay may be less than your used to though!

Bartlet Wed 25-Sep-19 12:58:44

I think you’d be utterly crazy to jump from a flexible job where you are comfortable albeit bored when you have 4 young children. Are you really in a position to invest yourself emotionally and timewise into something new at this point in your life? How valuable really is the flexibility aspect - do you want to be able to attend assemblies/ sports days for example? Most new jobs want you to earn your stripes full time before they consider more flexible alternatives so you’d need to consider putting your career above family life for a indeterminate period of time.

Coaching would definitely be worthwhile doing before you do something as irreversible as quitting. Are there changes/ challenges you can build into your current role which would help. Any on job training that you could start that could kick off a new avenue. What can you do now to help your longer term plan for when kids need less hands on presence.

milliefiori Wed 25-Sep-19 13:09:37

WWID? I'd research very thoroughly indeed anything I wanted to do instead and think imaginatively and fully what life would actually be like if I left.

I know too many ex lawyers and accountants who leave to do something more fulfilling and are then horrified to discover that schools' bursar jobs pay £30k not their usual £130k. Or that nobody wants reiki massage/life coaching after all! Or that the £40ph made by personal trainers/tutors is halved once you add in unpaid hours of prep, admin, marketing, training and travelling to meet clients.

If you know you can live on a fraction of your current money or you know there's a strong, ready market for some service or goods you want to provide as a self-employed person, then go for it. But do carefully consider swapping one stress (boredom) for a set of others (low income, debts, childcare difficulties, spell of unemployment etc.

I'm not being negative. I set up my own business and it ticks along nicely. But I knew there was a steady market in my area for what I do. While you are thinking about what to do next, researching and planning, I'd keep that steady, good income flowing in. Once you have a strong plan that you are really excited by, you can leave with money in the bank and clear goals set up.

Jojogabor Wed 25-Sep-19 13:12:00

All great points thank you. Yes completely agree that I would be considered crazy to leave now - and the reason I am still here is the flexibility to meet kids demands whilst young. But I have days when it is utterly soul destroying, sometimes a bit demeaning when I have juniors having zero respect for what I do - I am not just bored but actively dislike what I do, feeling under appreciated and feel that I have so much more to give. I agree that I need a plan in place - but I think we are looking at around at least 3 to 4 more years before I can ramp things up a bit and look for another role. Which is why I was thinking about exploring internally first and seeing whether I could negotiate similar flex?

Jojogabor Wed 25-Sep-19 13:13:50

Thanks millie- makes perfect sense. I hear you - lots of lawyers have left and not necessarily regretted their decision but realised that grass is certainly not greener...

Jojogabor Wed 25-Sep-19 13:14:50

Perhaps I just need a thicker skin. But I definitely can’t do this role forever. Trouble is I am never very clear on what I want so perhaps would benefit from coaching.

justasking111 Wed 25-Sep-19 13:15:55

Quit the job, retrain, have a good look at what your spending habits are as a family and budget because if you were on 10k a year your OH is on 70k according to you so someone is frittering away the money.

Jojogabor Wed 25-Sep-19 13:23:06

Money goes on school fees and minimal childcare at the moment and we have other outgoings which are unavoidable so money (however little in comparison) is very useful and provides additional comfort. Probably works out to be 4x my income max - apologies.
I think I am probably going to have to suck it up but have some sort of plan in place (if only for self delusion or preservation!)

Ariela Wed 25-Sep-19 13:23:23

I am thinking about approaching someone internally about another role that would interest me - but a bit scared that I might lose flexibility and worried it might go wrong. list the advantages to the company of you working flexibly, and make them transferable to the new role, THEN approach and show you have thought through the benefits of keeping the same terms flexibly and how you can bring a big advantage on YOU having the role.
eg if you work from home some of the time, you are of course FAR more productive at home (there have been studies to show this), if you only work the key hours of 9.15 to 3 and are flexible on lunch/take early lunch that gives the department regular cover over lunchtime etc.

Might pay you to have a couple of sessions with a life coach to bring you up to speed in being proactive and assertive in what you can bring to the new role.

milliefiori Wed 25-Sep-19 13:27:16

You don't say what you do, but why would juniors not respect you? Some of your unhappines strikes me as linked ot the atmosphere and the way in which you are treated, not the work itself. Can you talk with senior partners and see if you could be offered a shake up. Be honest. Say you value the flexibility and salary but you are getting stale and you think they and you deserve better. Could you do some training to update your skills? Could you train a junior in your skills so you build a rapport with them?
When I've had really dull projects in the past I've attached them mentally to really fun ways of spending the money I'm earning. So I;ll say to myself: the next two hours are going to pay for dinner on saturday. Or from now until I leave tonight pays for theatre tickets at the weekend/a new pair of knee boots/DSs piano lessons until half term etc.
Can you even think more creatively about what you do? If you are doing wills or conveyancing, you can focus on the value you bring to clients, ensuring their estate gets shared fairly among those they want to leave it to, or that you are helping people move into their dream home and checking there are no dodgy clauses or unsigned documents that will cause them headaches. Maybe that's a bit fanciful, but again, when I am bored senseless in a project I try and see it from the client's point of view, and it helps me focus.

milliefiori Wed 25-Sep-19 13:28:29

Also, you could take on a new hobby or passion outside of work to give you a boost.

Jojogabor Wed 25-Sep-19 13:41:03

Thanks, some really helpful advice. I really like the idea of convincing them that flexibility would work for the new role. I have been there a while so the senior people have some respect for me but there is a definite culture issue. Also like the idea about being frank and honest with them and suggesting I try something new. I have hinted in recent reviews that I can’t imagine doing this forever and think they understood.

Jojogabor Wed 25-Sep-19 13:42:01

Would love to take on a hobby / passion but it’s that old chestnut ....very limited time at the moment. Also have a milestone birthday next year so perhaps that is contributing to how I am feeling at the moment

Jojogabor Wed 25-Sep-19 13:42:55

Millie - thanks for the tips. Are you a life coach by any chance?! Some great suggestions that I will definitely start to adopt thank you

laburnumtree Wed 25-Sep-19 13:50:30

If you're a lawyer in a non fee earning role - are you a PSL? In firms I've been in I've seen the disrespect/pigeonholing that can go on for PSLs and can imagine how demoralising/frustrating it is.

What is/was your practice area when you were fee earning? Could you speak to the head of that team to see whether they need any additional adhoc resource? So you stay in your flexible job but with the possibility of more interesting work from time to time?

Do you want to find another role in law or a different field entirely?

Jojogabor Wed 25-Sep-19 14:06:42

Hi laburnum. Spot on! Thank you. (Bit terrified of being found out). I wouldn’t want to do ad hoc fee earning on a formal basis - I do some now and then but find it a bit stressful due to fixed hours and also a bit annoying to have to do it, but get paid a fraction of what fee earners do! I am quite interested in KM/tech innovation so might explore that.

IntergalacticP Wed 25-Sep-19 14:09:52

is it the PSL role or the type of work you are doing? Is there any scope for a lateral move? So stay with the same firm but move to a different area? at least then you would stand a chance of retaining your flexibility.

boujie Wed 25-Sep-19 14:10:42

I would hate to be a PSL so don't blame you for not loving it!

You will have loads of transferable skills for other positions (HR, management, research based roles, even project management depending on the remit of your current role). A chat with a careers counsellor could be really helpful to assist you in identifying what you want from your job and how to get there.

LloydBraun Wed 25-Sep-19 14:14:25

I am in something of same position in an in house role. It’s a senior role and a good job, and when I’m not travelling can work from home. But I’m in a bit of a rut with it and it’s getting me down.
I’m focussing for now on building out my network and also boosting my cv. I’m going to do a privacy certification and also explore non exec trustee appointments. This will also provide a bit of interest and stop me feeling so flat.
Could you do similar?

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