Ed. note: This post is by Will Meyerhofer, a former Sullivan & Cromwell attorney turned psychotherapist. He holds degrees from Harvard, NYU Law, and The Hunter College School of Social Work, and he blogs at The People’s Therapist. His new book, Way Worse Than Being A Dentist, is available on Amazon, as is his previous book, Life is a Brief Opportunity for Joy (affiliate links).
At some point you have to get out of here. The question is when – and whither.
A vacation might help, if you could achieve the impossible and take one. My client pulled off a week – seven whole days! – at a Caribbean resort. She flew off to paradise, only to return feeling like a condemned prisoner.
“It made things worse,” she lamented. “Now I remember the outside world.”
Sometimes it’s better to live without that distraction….
You’re in it for the money. Biglaw creates money to toss into the maw of a bank. But no one can stand this abuse forever. Change – any change – might be good, right? How about another firm? Working in a different building – working with different people – different acoustic ceiling tiles, different vertical blinds, different sound-absorbent beige carpeting, different cheap wood veneer bookshelves, different anonymous windows to stare out… Anything different counts as change, doesn’t it?
The omnipresent worry: out of the frying pan, into…someplace worse.
Could anyplace be worse?
Isn’t that what you said about law school?
My client fled his firm – couldn’t take it any more. Guess what? It was worse. Two months later he was begging to return to the frying pan.
Yes – it actually happened. He returned to his old firm, proving forever there are places worse than the-frying-pan-you-know. There’s the-frying-pan-you-don’t-know.
This guy was a fifth year groping for an exit from hell. Nights and weekends of endless grind congealed into a determination – no más. Anything was better than this. This – whatever this was – was killing him.
An escape hatch appeared in the form of a nearby firm (five blocks away) celebrated for “associate satisfaction.”