Anonymous User wrote:2nd year corporate associate here. I imagine you've seen a lot of turn-over in your years at a V15 firm. Can you please discuss what separated those that stayed with those that involuntarily moved on? I'm sure there is a wide range of reasons that will vary firm to firm, but I am still interested to hear your experiences. The most difficult part of being a junior associate is not being allowed to say no to work, but also having the expectation of perfect work...if your plate is overflowing it is nearly impossible to do perfect work.
Additionally, what made you stay at a firm so long? To some degree (depending on my week), I find it difficult to understand why some people stick around at firms when in-house gigs don't seem to be paying that much worse right now...and the lifestyle is so much better.
Biggest difference is "getting it" vs. not. Ownership over matters (feeling like you're responsible for everything, it's on you if something goes wrong) vs. passing the buck up to a supervisor. If an urgent email comes in on your deal, do you take the lead in responding (if you can) or passively wait for your supervisor to do so? There's of course a balance here but if you draft a complicated, detailed email and send to your supervisor and say "ok to respond with this?" you'll be a hero. With the caveat that it's OK for your email to not be perfect, or even to be wrong, but it shouldn't be wildly wrong / demonstrating a fundamental lack of understanding of the deal.
I actually also think you can so no to work (at least to new deals) - or at least have people understand what you're on. Sometimes you truly can't take on something else. All depends on how staffing works (obviously) but key is making sure supervisors know what else you're on and finding a balance.
In answer to what made me stay...it started to become reasonably clear to me that I actually had a real shot. I didn't pull the trigger and jump early in my career (should I have? who knows), but once I got reasonably senior I figured it was worth making a run for it (since the opportunities didn't really keep getting significantly better from years 3-5). They're a little better now, but again seems silly to go before I get a new title.
In answer to your final question, really depends on what your goals are. Sure, it's "better" on day 1 (since the pay/lifestyle exchange in-house is really no question), but what about day 365? How about day 2000? Where will your career in-house take you? All depends on where you go, what type of place it is, what the opportunities are. There are great in-house career paths and frankly pretty terrible ones. Key is making the right choices.