Unicorn Work Life Balance Jobs Forum

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Unicorn Work Life Balance Jobs

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 25, 2022 9:13 pm

Second year in a V10 M&A practice here. I feel like I've aged more than a decade in the last year just from the stress and lack of sleep. I've begun the lateral process to be able to get a bit of a breather but am very demoralized at the idea of just starting over and needing to grind for awhile longer at a new firm all for the hope of some ramp down/time off/ ramp up time. I've taken several weeks of vacation but have never been able to fully unplug on them and usually just come back dreading the work even more.

All of that to say, I've become increasingly desperate for the unicorn 9-5, work life balance job. I've been applying to lots of in-house roles and haven't had too much traction given I'm still very junior, but have had a handful of interviews and have gotten the clear impression in every one that the lawyers there are still dealing with very high workloads and long hours.

So, I came to crowdsource - where I should be looking for ideal work-life balance jobs? I'm well aware this will come at a salary trade-off, which I'm comfortable with to a certain extent (I still have six figures of student loans so I wouldn't be comfortable going below 125k or so in salary).

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Re: Unicorn Work Life Balance Jobs

Post by Will_m » Tue Jan 25, 2022 9:44 pm

Probably not going to happen below 125k.

That being said, things are what you make of them. Make it a 9 to 5 job and let the chips fall where they may. I know this sounds ridiculous but things are only as stressful and demanding as you make them. Of course, this has its limits. You will always have deadlines which you need to meet, but if you can manage your calendar and delegate, you can get some semblance of work life balance.

If none of that works, bail and work for the da gubment.

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Re: Unicorn Work Life Balance Jobs

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 25, 2022 11:37 pm

Following. OP I'm in the same spot as you, V10 M&A getting killed basically since the day I walked in the door. I haven't started applying to in-house jobs yet because I figure it's too early for us. Most postings I look at are asking for 3+ years of experience. No way I'm surviving that long in this job.

I think I underestimated the drawbacks of starting all over at a new firm, but since I started interviewing I've gradually realized it's not a small thing. Not sure I'm willing to grind enough to build a decent reputation from scratch at a new shop.

If I could snag a remote or hybrid in-house job that paid at least $180K or in that range, I'd take it in a heartbeat.

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Re: Unicorn Work Life Balance Jobs

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 26, 2022 12:11 am

These definitely exist, but from what I have seen you don't start getting a lot of traction until you're solidly a third year. I left at the end of my third year for a job at a tech company and typically work 9-5:30 (never a second on weekends). My job is still stressful at times, but in a more normal non-soulcrushing way.

My company would not hire someone with less than 3 years experience though, and I think that's true for a lot of companies unless you want to take a massive paycut/go in at a really low level. I was incredibly burned out from biglaw starting in year 2, but it was worth it to wait.

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Re: Unicorn Work Life Balance Jobs

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 26, 2022 12:21 am

These exist and you’ll probably find them in tech companies. I left crushing biglaw for tech in house and have mostly a true 9ish-5:30ish. The biggest difference like the above poster said is that now I feel like a normal person and stress level is the same as that of my white collar friends

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Re: Unicorn Work Life Balance Jobs

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 26, 2022 12:36 am

Feeling the same way. Give me 150k and I think I'd jump. Second year also doing corporate. Just biding my time and paying loans until I can have a job where fire drills and late night emails aren't a thing.

Any tips on getting a job in tech from those commenting? I do a mix of M&A, CapM, and EC/VC at a top tech firm and went to a t-14. Thanks! Can't wait to be in your position someday.

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Re: Unicorn Work Life Balance Jobs

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 26, 2022 12:55 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 12:36 am
Feeling the same way. Give me 150k and I think I'd jump. Second year also doing corporate. Just biding my time and paying loans until I can have a job where fire drills and late night emails aren't a thing.

Any tips on getting a job in tech from those commenting? I do a mix of M&A, CapM, and EC/VC at a top tech firm and went to a t-14. Thanks! Can't wait to be in your position someday.
I’m one of the anon posters. Try to get a lot of privacy experience if you’re interested in being product counsel or tech trans experience if you’re interested in being commercial counsel. If you can’t, try lateraling so that you can get into one of those groups. This is for big tech. Your ec/vc experience might be helpful if you want to be one of the first legal hires for a start up; capm might be useful for securities work at a large pubco (assuming you also do regular reporting work). M&A at more senior levels can also make great commercial counsel attorneys because a merger agreement is like an intense commercial contract on steroids (but you’d have to convince your interviewer that you could do routine commercial contract work, as there will still be a learning curve).

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Re: Unicorn Work Life Balance Jobs

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 26, 2022 1:37 am

Thanks for replying. I'm not sure if my firm would let me do privacy work unfortunately. I've actually always been interested in it though. I wonder if there is a high demand for associates right now? Might need to try to lateral as a third year into such a group as I'd like a job in big tech.

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Re: Unicorn Work Life Balance Jobs

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 26, 2022 3:32 am

I have a job (largely) like this at a video game company. I do 9-6:30 but I take ~1.5 hours out of the middle of the day to take care of the dog and handle other things. I don't think my company would have hired me as a second year, but they've hired third years for certain roles.

If you have specialist experience you can cram in with less experience sometimes, but it would be dependent on how on-point your specialist experience was and you're at the mercy of whatever their hiring needs are at the time. In-house hiring isn't like a firm's, where they're always looking for people... it's more like "X left or we want to beef up the team with a junior to help out with Y's workload, so we may be hiring someone for that role this year."

You'll find what you want at tech and other companies, whether that's in a product counsel role or otherwise, and you'll make a lot more than $125k doing it. Larger legal departments tend to lend themselves to less overtime as well, so large public tech companies can sometimes do the trick (not Amazon, but others). Some banks even have 9-5 jobs, based on friends who did a Morgan Stanley secondment, though it's firm by firm and group by group (nobody I worked across from at JPM or GS had a 9-5, though it wasn't close to big law, either... some legal groups at CS were ridiculously chill, others not).

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Re: Unicorn Work Life Balance Jobs

Post by Lawman1865 » Wed Jan 26, 2022 9:52 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 3:32 am
I have a job (largely) like this at a video game company. I do 9-6:30 but I take ~1.5 hours out of the middle of the day to take care of the dog and handle other things. I don't think my company would have hired me as a second year, but they've hired third years for certain roles.

If you have specialist experience you can cram in with less experience sometimes, but it would be dependent on how on-point your specialist experience was and you're at the mercy of whatever their hiring needs are at the time. In-house hiring isn't like a firm's, where they're always looking for people... it's more like "X left or we want to beef up the team with a junior to help out with Y's workload, so we may be hiring someone for that role this year."

You'll find what you want at tech and other companies, whether that's in a product counsel role or otherwise, and you'll make a lot more than $125k doing it. Larger legal departments tend to lend themselves to less overtime as well, so large public tech companies can sometimes do the trick (not Amazon, but others). Some banks even have 9-5 jobs, based on friends who did a Morgan Stanley secondment, though it's firm by firm and group by group (nobody I worked across from at JPM or GS had a 9-5, though it wasn't close to big law, either... some legal groups at CS were ridiculously chill, others not).
Thanks for the input everybody.

Just to add context regarding banking, just anecdotally having seconded in a group at one of the major banks, I know there are certainly more lifestyle groups but my secondment was very busy and the attorneys there worked biglaw hours with a lot of weekend work (subject to one slow month). That said, I know many had more chill secondments so just bad luck perhaps, but make sure you know what you are interviewing for if you go that route.

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Re: Unicorn Work Life Balance Jobs

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 26, 2022 10:05 am

Would like to know people's thoughts about this for litigators. The usual answer is government; however, I have friends who went into (fairly prestigious-for-a-4th-year fedgov) gov jobs and they still work more than I want to. Definitely less than biglaw, though. Is there anything close to 9:00 to 5:00 for a litigator outside of working for, like, a county government in the middle of nowhere?

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Re: Unicorn Work Life Balance Jobs

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 26, 2022 10:28 am

Yeah, AUSA or Main Justice jobs aren't really cushy 9-5 jobs. Like, they're much better than biglaw (lots of autonomy, vacations are respected, etc.), but if you want guaranteed 9-5, anything that involves trial can't guarantee that consistently. If you can get into city or county government in a nice place to live, maybe? I know someone who did this in Seattle and it was great. There are also very un-prestigious government jobs that don't let you work more than 40 hours a week, like some VA and SS jobs, but they are very un-prestigious because they're low-level, repetitive, tedious work (usually capped at pretty low pay).

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Re: Unicorn Work Life Balance Jobs

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 26, 2022 10:36 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 10:05 am
Would like to know people's thoughts about this for litigators. The usual answer is government; however, I have friends who went into (fairly prestigious-for-a-4th-year fedgov) gov jobs and they still work more than I want to. Definitely less than biglaw, though. Is there anything close to 9:00 to 5:00 for a litigator outside of working for, like, a county government in the middle of nowhere?
I just jumped from biglaw litigation to in-house for around 225k comp all-in and 9-6 hours weekdays only (hopefully, will see exactly how it shakes out when I start next month). Had 5+ years experience out of LS and spent most of them in an *extremely* specialized practice (e.g., only 10-20 associates across the country doing my kind of work), so I had to get lucky that an in-house opening existed but then once it did, it wasn't hard to get the job.

It does seem specialization is the key in litigation. I have several friends in litigation/white collar who have even one iota of privacy experience, and they're getting snapped up pretty quickly by FAANGM. Even insurance litigation gets you an in with in-house jobs.

On the other hand, every non-specialized "pure" litigation and white collar midlevel I know has a very difficult if not impossible getting anything but a government job.

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Re: Unicorn Work Life Balance Jobs

Post by mwells_56 » Wed Jan 26, 2022 10:42 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jan 25, 2022 9:13 pm
Second year in a V10 M&A practice here. I feel like I've aged more than a decade in the last year just from the stress and lack of sleep. I've begun the lateral process to be able to get a bit of a breather but am very demoralized at the idea of just starting over and needing to grind for awhile longer at a new firm all for the hope of some ramp down/time off/ ramp up time. I've taken several weeks of vacation but have never been able to fully unplug on them and usually just come back dreading the work even more.

All of that to say, I've become increasingly desperate for the unicorn 9-5, work life balance job. I've been applying to lots of in-house roles and haven't had too much traction given I'm still very junior, but have had a handful of interviews and have gotten the clear impression in every one that the lawyers there are still dealing with very high workloads and long hours.

So, I came to crowdsource - where I should be looking for ideal work-life balance jobs? I'm well aware this will come at a salary trade-off, which I'm comfortable with to a certain extent (I still have six figures of student loans so I wouldn't be comfortable going below 125k or so in salary).
PM me

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Re: Unicorn Work Life Balance Jobs

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 26, 2022 10:49 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 10:05 am
Would like to know people's thoughts about this for litigators. The usual answer is government; however, I have friends who went into (fairly prestigious-for-a-4th-year fedgov) gov jobs and they still work more than I want to. Definitely less than biglaw, though. Is there anything close to 9:00 to 5:00 for a litigator outside of working for, like, a county government in the middle of nowhere?
SecReg like SEC or FINRA. Not sure about state regulators but I'd imagine a job with NYDFS, MSD, etc. is similar.

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Re: Unicorn Work Life Balance Jobs

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 26, 2022 11:01 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jan 25, 2022 11:37 pm
Following. OP I'm in the same spot as you, V10 M&A getting killed basically since the day I walked in the door. I haven't started applying to in-house jobs yet because I figure it's too early for us. Most postings I look at are asking for 3+ years of experience. No way I'm surviving that long in this job.

I think I underestimated the drawbacks of starting all over at a new firm, but since I started interviewing I've gradually realized it's not a small thing. Not sure I'm willing to grind enough to build a decent reputation from scratch at a new shop.

If I could snag a remote or hybrid in-house job that paid at least $180K or in that range, I'd take it in a heartbeat.
Maybe others will disagree, but I'd indeed just lateral. Because why not? You know you're not enjoying it at your current firm. At the next firm you'll get a signing bonus, plus some time to "acclimate," meaning people will be less harsh on you. Plus, you can create a new image. If you're currently being destroyed every second, maybe at your next firm you can manage expectations better (like one of the posters said, basically just make it a 9-5 job). Even if that doesn't work, and you're still getting creamed, or in the alternative, people are pissed you don't work enough, you'll probably be another year on before everyone realizes this isn't it, and you'll have made it closer to the 3+ year experience.

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Re: Unicorn Work Life Balance Jobs

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 26, 2022 11:09 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 10:49 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 10:05 am
Would like to know people's thoughts about this for litigators. The usual answer is government; however, I have friends who went into (fairly prestigious-for-a-4th-year fedgov) gov jobs and they still work more than I want to. Definitely less than biglaw, though. Is there anything close to 9:00 to 5:00 for a litigator outside of working for, like, a county government in the middle of nowhere?
SecReg like SEC or FINRA. Not sure about state regulators but I'd imagine a job with NYDFS, MSD, etc. is similar.
Can confirm that the MSD was a straight 9-5, abysmal pay though until you get a little higher up.

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Re: Unicorn Work Life Balance Jobs

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 26, 2022 12:26 pm

Will_m wrote:
Tue Jan 25, 2022 9:44 pm
Probably not going to happen below 125k.

That being said, things are what you make of them. Make it a 9 to 5 job and let the chips fall where they may. I know this sounds ridiculous but things are only as stressful and demanding as you make them. Of course, this has its limits. You will always have deadlines which you need to meet, but if you can manage your calendar and delegate, you can get some semblance of work life balance.

If none of that works, bail and work for the da gubment.
125k? Wtf?

I'm about to lateral and retool to M&A from Finance. But, I tested the in-house market as a finance associate and everywhere I interviewed had total comp between 200-250k for 9-7 workload.

Part of the reason that I'm laterally is that I just don't like finance work and don't want to end up at a bank/fund. Is in house comp for m&a significantly lower or something?

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Re: Unicorn Work Life Balance Jobs

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 26, 2022 12:31 pm

If you're in M&A and corporate, these jobs definitely exist. I did 3 years of M&A in big law, got an in-house gig that was mostly chill and usually 9-5. Came with a paycut, but total comp was over $200k. After a few years in-house, I found another gig in-house where I make mid-300s and still almost always 9-5. It might take some time to get, but you'll find these jobs. Just keep gaining experience and probably start applying for in-house gigs and work with a recruiter at the start of your 3rd year. That's when you start being viable to go in-house

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Re: Unicorn Work Life Balance Jobs

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 26, 2022 12:37 pm

[youtube][/youtube]
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 12:26 pm
Will_m wrote:
Tue Jan 25, 2022 9:44 pm
Probably not going to happen below 125k.

That being said, things are what you make of them. Make it a 9 to 5 job and let the chips fall where they may. I know this sounds ridiculous but things are only as stressful and demanding as you make them. Of course, this has its limits. You will always have deadlines which you need to meet, but if you can manage your calendar and delegate, you can get some semblance of work life balance.

If none of that works, bail and work for the da gubment.
125k? Wtf?

I'm about to lateral and retool to M&A from Finance. But, I tested the in-house market as a finance associate and everywhere I interviewed had total comp between 200-250k for 9-7 workload.

Part of the reason that I'm laterally is that I just don't like finance work and don't want to end up at a bank/fund. Is in house comp for m&a significantly lower or something?
To be fair the poster did say not going to happen below $125K :D

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Re: Unicorn Work Life Balance Jobs

Post by Wubbles » Wed Jan 26, 2022 12:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 12:37 pm
[youtube][/youtube]
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 12:26 pm
Will_m wrote:
Tue Jan 25, 2022 9:44 pm
Probably not going to happen below 125k.

That being said, things are what you make of them. Make it a 9 to 5 job and let the chips fall where they may. I know this sounds ridiculous but things are only as stressful and demanding as you make them. Of course, this has its limits. You will always have deadlines which you need to meet, but if you can manage your calendar and delegate, you can get some semblance of work life balance.

If none of that works, bail and work for the da gubment.
125k? Wtf?

I'm about to lateral and retool to M&A from Finance. But, I tested the in-house market as a finance associate and everywhere I interviewed had total comp between 200-250k for 9-7 workload.

Part of the reason that I'm laterally is that I just don't like finance work and don't want to end up at a bank/fund. Is in house comp for m&a significantly lower or something?
To be fair the poster did say not going to happen below $125K :D
As for what the poster actually meant, I think they were referring to getting a job like that as a freshly minted 2nd year. The pay and odds of getting hired both go up dramatically by the middle of year 3.

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Re: Unicorn Work Life Balance Jobs

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 26, 2022 12:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 12:26 pm
Will_m wrote:
Tue Jan 25, 2022 9:44 pm
Probably not going to happen below 125k.

That being said, things are what you make of them. Make it a 9 to 5 job and let the chips fall where they may. I know this sounds ridiculous but things are only as stressful and demanding as you make them. Of course, this has its limits. You will always have deadlines which you need to meet, but if you can manage your calendar and delegate, you can get some semblance of work life balance.

If none of that works, bail and work for the da gubment.
125k? Wtf?

I'm about to lateral and retool to M&A from Finance. But, I tested the in-house market as a finance associate and everywhere I interviewed had total comp between 200-250k for 9-7 workload.

Part of the reason that I'm laterally is that I just don't like finance work and don't want to end up at a bank/fund. Is in house comp for m&a significantly lower or something?
What year were you? How hard was it to retool to M&A, did you lose any class years?

Also what does a 9-7 workload actually look like, does anyone know? Unplugged after 7 and on weekends? Is it like a typical white collar job where a good chunk of your time is coffee breaks and surfing?

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Re: Unicorn Work Life Balance Jobs

Post by trebekismyhero » Wed Jan 26, 2022 12:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 12:26 pm
Will_m wrote:
Tue Jan 25, 2022 9:44 pm
Probably not going to happen below 125k.

That being said, things are what you make of them. Make it a 9 to 5 job and let the chips fall where they may. I know this sounds ridiculous but things are only as stressful and demanding as you make them. Of course, this has its limits. You will always have deadlines which you need to meet, but if you can manage your calendar and delegate, you can get some semblance of work life balance.

If none of that works, bail and work for the da gubment.
125k? Wtf?

I'm about to lateral and retool to M&A from Finance. But, I tested the in-house market as a finance associate and everywhere I interviewed had total comp between 200-250k for 9-7 workload.

Part of the reason that I'm laterally is that I just don't like finance work and don't want to end up at a bank/fund. Is in house comp for m&a significantly lower or something?
No, comp is not lower for M&A than finance. The comp is going to be similar if not higher than what you talked about from the banks coming from an M&A background

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Re: Unicorn Work Life Balance Jobs

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 26, 2022 1:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 12:47 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jan 26, 2022 12:26 pm
Will_m wrote:
Tue Jan 25, 2022 9:44 pm
Probably not going to happen below 125k.

That being said, things are what you make of them. Make it a 9 to 5 job and let the chips fall where they may. I know this sounds ridiculous but things are only as stressful and demanding as you make them. Of course, this has its limits. You will always have deadlines which you need to meet, but if you can manage your calendar and delegate, you can get some semblance of work life balance.

If none of that works, bail and work for the da gubment.
125k? Wtf?

I'm about to lateral and retool to M&A from Finance. But, I tested the in-house market as a finance associate and everywhere I interviewed had total comp between 200-250k for 9-7 workload.

Part of the reason that I'm laterally is that I just don't like finance work and don't want to end up at a bank/fund. Is in house comp for m&a significantly lower or something?
What year were you? How hard was it to retool to M&A, did you lose any class years?

Also what does a 9-7 workload actually look like, does anyone know? Unplugged after 7 and on weekends? Is it like a typical white collar job where a good chunk of your time is coffee breaks and surfing?
Same litigation anon about to go in-house as above, so I'll report back when it actually starts, but my understanding is that it's not super regular hours. You still have a bunch of clients (the business side of the company), so it would depend on how they behave/how much they need you. If they're sending you 20 emails a day, I assume that's a pretty busy day, and you'll probably have to tell a few of them to wait a couple days for an answer. But then you get a day with 2 emails and I guess that's a 10-4 day with plenty of relaxing.

The big difference I take it is how demanding those clients are. In biglaw you have to answer everything right away because everything is a fire drill for the partner because it's a fire drill for their client. In-house obviously if the GC or CEO drops something on your desk at 4pm and says get it back by 9am then you'll have a crappy night, but other than those people you should be able to manage "client" expectations better.

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Re: Unicorn Work Life Balance Jobs

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 26, 2022 1:28 pm

Checking in as in-house at a tech start-up, where it's definitely cushy. 9-5 hours, 200k+ pay with equity, basically all remote (I can come in whenever I want but it's not required), and I have great flexibility in my hours (can run errands or take my kids/spouse out during the day and finish work later).

You're still early in your career, it'll be hard to find unicorn jobs until you've got some more experience under your belt. But you don't have to wait, start looking now. You never know what you may find.

Seriously? What are you waiting for?

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