I’ve been very stressed lately; not from working too much — I’m in a position to delegate a lot of work to more junior associates, but from something else. I think it’s the expectation that’s been placed on me. I’m no longer the associate who goes from one discrete task to another, doing each one well, but rather the lawyer who’s responsible for significant aspects of cases.
Honestly, I’ve never been more tempted to take my 2010 bonus and run. The added stress makes me feel like I am wasting the prime of my life doing something I’m not naturally suited to do. I’ve adapted myself to perform well as a lawyer, but it doesn’t fit my personality. I need to figure out what I was born to do. What’s my passion? What’s YOUR passion?
I’ve been spending some time with friends over the New Year. Most of them are attorneys a few years older than me. Many of them are very successful, e.g., newly-minted equity partners or on the fast track to partner. One female friend just had her second kid and is talking about buying a 3 BR condo in an expensive part of the city. Another male friend who made partner just bought $1.5M condo. Another friend bought a $70,000 weekend car. Meanwhile, I’m here in my low cost rental w/ roommate.
My friend who made partner is not sure if he wants to be partner for the long-run. Too much stress, I suppose. I suggested that a partner who makes $600K a year could probably save a ton of money after five years. I mean just limit spending to $50K, right and you can live off the savings. Everyone laughed. Really! Someone said that was basically impossible — he’s the guy with the two nice cars and a vacation home. The gal with two kids said I was dreaming. Someone else brought up taxes…even at 50%, you’re still saving $250K a year! I didn’t ask, but I assume that means they spend wayy over $50K a year. I didn’t mention that I only spend $27K — I guess they don’t notice, which is a good thing.
Anyways, this background brings me to my point. I used to be really close with these folks — still am — but really started to feel like we were going our own separate ways.