Don’t Settle!

A biglaw associate that hasnt been laid off

A biglaw associate that hasn't been laid off

BigLaw Associates like to acquiese. We like to settle. We’re like those couples that you see that live together and are boring and bored of each other. They’ve been with each other for a year or two, they might have moved in with each other to save on rent, and are now in a cycle. They both deep down inside know that there is no spark, that the other isn’t who they want to spend the rest of their lives with but there is free sex, free somewhat regular sex, and someone to watch television with and eat microwave dinner or chinese take out with. There’s no reason to break up, pack up all your shit, shell out money on movers, deposits, and first and last month’s rent. Fuck, you might even marry this person. And have a fat baby. And spend your Saturday’s at Bed Bath & Beyond and Home Depot (if either are still around after this recession). You might then day dream about that hot chick in the coffee shop while you are stuffing your face with 1000 calorie doughnuts. You might day dream about having married a rich man who would whisk you away to some random ass tropical island. and through it all, you spent the better part of your time cutting coupons you never used or could find when you just happened to need to buy that item. But then you die of a series of small heart attacks. Not one is significant so not even your death will be tragic or memorable.

However, if the other person in the relationship cheats on you. Well, that’s the catalyst to action. You break up, maybe throw a few things, craddle your ego, shit talk the other person to all your friends, maybe do some libel as well on a blog (like this one–feel free to comment here!), and move your shit out. You’re lonely for six months, you’re edgy because you haven’t had sex in a while, and maybe you’ve gained a bit of weight and more hair than you should have on places that’s not your head. But then eventually, let’s hope, you pick yourself up, realize the other person was a boring sack of shit, and that you’re glad you’re out. Maybe you’ve found someone else (probably not if you’re a lawyer because you’re probably unattractive and short) that makes you more happy than you ever thought possible.

And such is the way with BigLaw. You are a midlevel bored out of your mind but you’ve gotta be crazy to leave a job that pays six figures when you don’t even know what else you would do with your life. You’ve been a monkey for so long, cranking out sheets of paper with little black words on them, meticulously measuring the margins of your pleadings, having no sex life or a really bad one, getting fat and miserable that you don’t even know what will make you happy. You’ve gotta be crazy to leave a cushy job when the average family of three makes $45,000 and you started at $160,000. But before you know it, you’re a seventh or eighth year. You’re fat. You’ve started guffawing because that’s what all the old white men do around you. You no longer think it is unethical to pad hours. You no longer think it is unethical to steal supplies even though you make a bizillion bucks. If you’re a minority, you’re confused as to why you aren’t the same color as all the white people because you feel white inside. But then you get fired for not making partner and you wonder where your youth went and your individuality and identity. And then you too, die of a series of small heart attacks on a pile of paper at 4pm on a Tuesday afternoon.

Or you make partner and find yourself laid off or de-equitized after your second divorce resulting from the fact that you are always at work or at networking events and never at home with your wife/husband and kids/dogs/pet gold fish. Or you find yourself close to retirement after screwing over countless associates and married to your homely looking third wife (when your second wife left you for your brother who “followed his dreams” and actually has time for her)  instead of a trophy wife in hopes that she will stick around to wipe the drool from your mouth after you suffer a heart attack or stroke from being an overweight stressed out fat bastard from neglecting your health for the sake of your “career”. Good job. Pat yourself on the back. That was a life well lived.

However, if the other person in the relationship cheats on you, and in this case, it would be BigLaw laying your ass off, that is the catalyst to action. You are forced to find something that actually, *gasp* makes you happy! you are allowed to take a year off and travel and learn portuguese because brazilian women are hot. Even if you go back to law after that year, it’s like a year you were able to relax and be happy. Yes, there are bills to pay but nobody but people who are still employed are paying their bills and guess what? you’re not employed! fuck your credit score. You and Madoff’s mom have shitty credit scores. Yeah, it will suck not having money but you’ve got that severance package and it’s time to re-establish your love with rice-a-roni and ramen and msg. Go ahead, throw things, cradle your hurt ego, and talk shit about your law firm on a blog (like this one–feel free to comment here!). But you’ll soon realize that it might have been the best thing for you. Not all of us were meant to be monkeys or tools. Not all of us, just because we’re smart and did well in law school, are meant to ignore parts of ourselves and waste our talent checking for commas and getting yelled at by short men with large heads. Hopefully soon you will find something else that will make you more happy than you ever thought possible.

Until then, screw the man!

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9 Responses

  1. I was laid off from my firm. They kept the associates who were ass kissers and not the ones who were actually good associates. I hope the firm crumbles.

  2. Karma is a bitch. I hope you get a job at one of your firm’s clients and fire them from all the cases/deals.

  3. are you f’ing kidding me? of course they keep the idiots. I got laid off from clifford chance five months ago. they kept all the idiots. ALL THE IDIOTS!

  4. I work at Allen & Overy! 450 attorneys. Will I still work there on Monday? oh what’s that? oh, shit in my pants.

  5. I was laid off from White & Case. sons of bitches.

  6. screw you. I got laid off from a 20 person firm. it’s not all about BigLaw. I didn’t even make that much to begin with!

  7. I was laid off at latham four weeks ago.

  8. Great post. I think a layoff is a good time to take a backpack tour in Europe or South America.

  9. Hey Nonono,
    I’m a reporter for the NY Times working on a story about law firm layoffs with a focus on White & Case. I would love to hear the story of your experience there. Please email at feuer@nytimes.com

    (Goes for any other participants of this board.)

    Thanks. AF

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