Well, the "bottom line" is that jobs that pay $200k+ but don't expect a hell of a lot of work are unicorn jobs.
You can own a company, you can have lucky investments, you can find a needle in a haystack, but this is Economics 101: There are a lot of talented people who are willing to work 60 hours a week for $200k salary. That means you, as a lawyer, all all but certainly fungible. This applies to almost every non-lawyer job, too, where a person doesn't have an ownership interest in the company.
Any light at the end of the tunnel is just agreeing to work fewer hours and provide a modicum of expertise for less pay. That's the shitty thing about the light. It's not actually any brighter as you get close. It's more like you're climbing up a mountain toward a light as people behind you yell at you and whip you, and as you get close, the light (pay) gets dimmer, but in turn the people with whips allow you to climb slower with fewer lashings.
You eventually kind of half-ass climb your way to the top, your family and friends long since deserted, and lie not victorious but pathetic, old, drunk, and fading away on your death bed with fleeting thoughts of all the fun shit that the dude from high school who was a pretty good welder in tenth grade did in his life.
Anonymous User wrote:^^^
I think we have a tendency to view in-house jobs as the "light at the end of the tunnel" since biglaw life is so poor. We just assume the grass will get greener once we get a few years experience and can make the in-house flip. But I'm starting to think thats not really the case as often as we may like to think. The bottom line is that you damn well better love your practice area/substantive area of expertise, because practice itself doesn't appear to get any less stressful or any easier as you move along.