edwardt1988 wrote: elendinel wrote:
Wonnker wrote:This has been a very provocative thread... However shitty OP's life might be, it can't be half as bad as he'd have it on the other side of the wealth divide. Too many people I grew up with are now addicted to opioids and/or working for near-minimum wage, if they are employed at all. Not a good life. Some middle ground would be nice, but tbh, I feel like anyone making a decent living in the year 2017 should be grateful. As the wise and powerful Kanye once said, "Havin' money's not everything, not havin' it is."
Plenty of lawyers are also OD'ing on alcohol and drugs as a result of their high levels of stress in the legal profession because, surprisingly, wealth doesn't solve all problems. Many also get this bad because they lack support networks that they can talk to when they're particularly bad, because like you they look at the average biglaw salary and think "How can anyone be that stressed when they're making so much money? Stop focusing so much on the negative!"
The fact that lawyers may not face one type of stress (poverty) does not negate the fact that they still face other forms of stress that people in other fields, even in min-wage jobs, don't necessarily face. Perspective is great and it's great that you'd rather be in a toxic environment with a lot of money than in a great environment with half as much money
, but not everyone is you and not everyone needs to feel like the fact that they earn $X means they're not really that bad off. Some people need a good environment more than they need to be able to have a certain level of earning potential, and that's perfectly fine, too.
Someone already mentioned it, but it's not about "half as much money". Some of us grew up, at least part of our lives, in poverty. Poverty is not about taking half the pay cut, but worrying if you have enough money to buy any sort of food, having to plan and save before you're able to buy used clothes, etc. If someone experienced that, I'm sure they can feel a little bit grateful when they are able to feed their family and pay off their loans and I'm sure that can make BigLaw feel less oppressive.
Yes and I grew up poor, too. My point is that if saying "Well at least I have more money now" works for you, great, but it doesn't work for everyone, and that's also fine. If someone feels that money isn't the end-all, be-all they thought it was, that's not automatically an indication that they just don't know what it's like to be poor/they need to be more grateful they have all that money, it's often an indication that they may just have different priorities. But I really don't want to rehash this "biglaw is different when you're poor" debate.
orangecup wrote:Sure, most of us likely have some things to be grateful for. But most of big law involves working in a toxic environment, having very little freedom/control over life, assholes above you making you do tedious and boring work (that often doesn't even need to be done) at absurd hours. All in the name of partners -- who themselves are likely miserable and have no life -- wanting to maximize profits for themselves. They could easily hire far more associates, cut down on the bullshit work, etc. and still be millionaires but they're just driven by greed. Dealing with all that bullshit gets to people. That recent NYT article was pretty damning evidence.
I'm sure that biglaw comes with its own sets of challenges, but that sounds like literally every job in corporate America.
Yeah "toxic environment" is maybe a bit too vague, and most people work jobs where they do tedious work and have no real control over what they do.
IMO what arguably makes biglaw (and really, the law in general, with some exceptions) unique to other forms of office work is a degree of perpetual animosity that isn't quite the same in other jobs. In that article awhile back about the IP partner who OD'd the author had a good analogy, that while being a doctor may be stressful, a doctor never has to perform a complicated surgery while trying to deal with the fact that a rival surgeon is hovering over their shoulder trying to undo all their work. What makes biglaw/other types of law different in terms of what one means by "toxic environment" isn't just the yelling or the ridiculous clients, it's is the degree of competitiveness on every aspect of the job, where at almost every point in your day you're dealing with the stress of having to defend yourself and your work from other people looking to find was to either invalidate everything you did so their group can win, or to one-up everything you did so they can take the project from you. Then factor in the fact that biglaw doesn't pay people to have a typical 9-6 job, but specifically pays them with the expectation that they'll work as long as the firm wants them to work (which could be as many as 14+ hours a day, 7 days a week, doing work in an attempt to protect themselves and their work from the kind of scrutiny they're up against or in an attempt to address other legal stressors, like billables/etc.), which can actually result in losing some control over your life in ways that may not be as pronounced in a 9-6 job (where they may own you from 9-6 M-F, but you at least get 4-6 hours a day and weekends where you're guaranteed to be able to do your own thing or to be paid extra, as a reminder that you do "own" that time after 6PM and have a right to demand more than base pay if you're going to lose that time), etc. To be sure, there are other stressors of the average office job that shouldn't be overlooked, and there other careers that are incredibly stressful in their own ways; law is not uniquely stressful. But it's a type of stress and environment that the average office worker is never actually going to experience.