Stress

Job stress is a big deal. It’s not just that it makes you feel constantly anxious and irritable and more likely to get involved in shouting matches — and that’s just with your alarm clock. Occupational stress impacts our overall well-being. For example, it increases marital strife and has also been more strongly associated with health issues than financial or family problems.

One way to avoid job stress is to avoid having a job. I know this may sound like a tempting alternative, but I’ve tried this at one point and found that it wasn’t an ideal option. Because when not working means that your hubby nags you every other minute to get your butt off the couch and clean off the month-old Cheetos stuck between your teeth, it’s still pretty stressful.

So assuming we’re forced to follow the conventional, non-lazy route, which is the better option from a stress perspective — working in-house or at a law firm? Well, it depends. Sorry, I know that it’s one of those typical, boring, hedgy responses that lawyers like to give every time they’re confronted with a question, but there really isn’t a more appropriate response….

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Ed note:This is the latest installment in a series of posts from the ATL Career Center’s team of expert contributors. Today, Megan Grandinetti explains why “treating yourself” with your favorite foods may not be the best idea.

I gave a wellness talk at a law firm recently, and one of my tips for staying healthy while working crazy hours is to “streamline your Seamless”: pick a number of healthy, go-to meals that you can order during late nights at the office (and stick with those choices). Some of the participants were taken aghast by this suggestion: “BLASPHEMY!” they cried. “We deserve to treat ourselves for working so hard!”

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the “Treat Yourself” attitude is not going to work in the long run, unless you’re trying to gain weight for a movie role (Now Playing: The Chubby, Sedentary Lawyer).

Continue reading at the ATL Career Center…

Key to writing a self-help piece? Pictures of bland smiling people.

Self-help books are amazing. So simple, so pedantic, so lucrative. If I could muster enough “human compassion,” I’d get in on that action. But, as is I’ll have to stick with mocking dumb lawyers online. It’s a living.

A self-help book for lawyers is out and boasts some advantages for lawyers choosing to live a “wellness” lifestyle.

If you’re wondering what “wellness” means, it’s kind of a catch-all pop psych term for “not being a f**kup.” Glad I could help out….

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Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts from the ATL Career Center’s team of expert contributors. Today, Megan Grandinetti — an attorney, health coach, and yoga teacher, whom we recently profiled — offers seven health tips for junior associates.

Law school does not prepare you for what it takes to be a junior associate. As a junior associate, you are experiencing a brand new kind of stress (the really bad kind!), which on its own can cause weight gain. Stress can also increase your blood pressure, prevent you from sleeping, give you unpleasant digestive symptoms (yuck), and wreak havoc on even the healthiest relationships.

Because you might be in a bit over your head, with very little time to take care of yourself, it is really easy to make choices that are bad for your health when you start your legal career.

Here are seven easy tips to help you make the first couple of years just a little bit healthier.

Continue reading at the ATL Career Center…

Oh, derp, which is the thin one again?

If so, you’re not alone. We’ve written before about how a legal career can be hazardous for your waistline. In a reader poll asking whether you’ve gained weight during your career as a legal professional, almost 60 percent of you answered in the affirmative (“yes, and I’m tipping the scales of justice”).

So what can be done? Meet a former Biglaw associate who can help you turn things around. Based on her own fit and fabulous physique, this attractive attorney knows a thing or two about getting and staying in shape….

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“You do it to yourself, you do. And that’s what really hurts.”

– Radiohead, Just

A few weeks ago, I blew your collective mind with a post about marijuana cigarettes and the lawyers who love them. Everyone agreed that it was a true revelation and a rare insight into the human condition. Lawyers stopped each other on the Subway, put down their five-dollar foot longs, and talked about pot use and what it means for lawyers who are still struggling to find jobs in an economy that deems them superfluous and sometimes even magnanimous about their superfluity. The words. They just pile up sometimes, one after another.

You know what else takes the edge off?

Good old ‘bating. Partner drops a big ol’ pile of suck on your desk at 5 p.m.? Might as well ‘bate. Judge says your motion is denied? ‘Bate. Your client is found guilty of ‘bating? Well, we’ll get to that.

When it comes to lowering stress, there’s not a single thing better than masturbation. It’s sex with someone you love, as Woody Allen once said (before he impeached himself on issues of appropriate objects of love).

Yesterday, New York Magazine highlighted a movement to deny oneself… oneself. And if you or David Lat or anyone else not named you or David Lat thinks I can’t stretch the connections between that New York Magazine article and the legal community into something approaching an entire post, you’re sorely mistaken.

Because we’re about to talk about the most Learned of Hands….

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This scale might not be just, but it's usually truthful.

Recently, I decided I wanted to lose some weight. Not a lot of weight — that would require an entire lifestyle change and result in me eating a lawn or a salad or something. I just wanted to take off the weight I gained from quitting smoking. I asked erstwhile advice columnist Marin what to do, and she simply suggested that I stop drinking soft drinks. I probably go through five Cokes a workday, and that doesn’t include however much I pour into my rum at night. And I don’t drink Diet Coke because it doesn’t taste like Coke so much as it tastes like carbonated liquid s**t.

I ignored Marin and went online. There I found a true cacophony of the dumbest advice ever collected. Searching for porn on the internet results in a more grounded reality than searching for weight loss advice. From magic pills to magic frozen foods and magic workout tapes that can allegedly turn you into an elite kickboxer on steroids in 20 minutes a day, the internet is replete with products that do not work and faulty advice. If I had some venture capital, I’d design an app that comes out of the computer screen and smacks the food out of your mouth every time you search for “weight loss” on Google. It would work.

Not surprisingly, weight loss advice tailored for “professionals” or “lawyers” is equally dumb and unhelpful. Lawyers, especially Biglaw lawyers, have some unique challenges when battling to stay physically respectable. One of those challenges is being too smart for stupid weight loss tips….

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We’ve covered law school therapy dogs before, and the ATL staff seems a bit divided on the issue. David Lat commended Yale Law School for Monty the rent-a-stress-puppy.

On the other hand, Elie Mystal rained on the cute parade with liability concerns and other no-fun naysaying.

But today, a T14 law school is adding another animal into the finals stress relief mix. Introducing the law school llamas….

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When I visited New York back in January, I stayed with some friends. When I woke up Saturday morning on the couch, my buddy and his roommate had already taken out their laptops and were typing away. I asked, “What are you guys doing today?” They both responded, “Working.”

I could not believe it. It was a surprisingly warm winter day. And my friends decided to remain cooped up in their literally windowless Manhattan apartment. Why wouldn’t they go outside? Go to park, or a bar for some day drinking.

But that’s America. We are always connected, always on call, and ignoring your BlackBerry for more than 90 minutes may be a fireable offense.

It wasn’t always this way. And there are some heretics among us who make a compelling case for a return to the 40-hour work week. Before you shoot the scruffy Californian, hear me out….

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We tend to think of the biggest Biglaw firms as “sweatshops,” while we view small firms, midsize or regional firms, or even Am Law 200 firms as “lifestyle” shops. The thought is that the big bad firms that service Wall Street clients will grind you up and spit you out, while somewhat smaller firms will allow you to have a normal life as you pursue your career.

It’s a great story, but it’s not necessarily a true one. Sometimes working at a smaller firm or a regional firm just means the same work with more pressure and less pay. Attorneys at such firms, whether partners or associates, don’t always have the kind of resources that Biglaw attorneys enjoy. There aren’t multiple layers of staffing available to double- or triple-check every document. It’s a lot of stress.

And stress can be just as deleterious to your health when working at a regional firm as it is when you work for a truly huge firm. This week, we’ve been fielding a bunch of reports about an associate who passed away at home after working what some tipsters report as maniac hours at his regional law firm the week before.

It’s a sad story, one that some accuse the law firm of trying to cover up, but it’s another opportunity for us to remind readers to take care of themselves even when work seems overwhelming…

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