Biglaw Midlevel -- Burning Out

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Biglaw Midlevel -- Burning Out

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:23 pm

So for the last ~5 months, I've been dealing with the unmistakable signs of burnout. I'm fatigued, I can't concentrate, I have trouble caring about my work, and I'm noticing small errors popping up (nothing big, and the errors are seldom noticed, but I'm making mistakes that I normally don't make).

The thing is, I'm not entirely sure why I'm feeling this way. I haven't been overworked, I generally like the people I work with, and the salary is absolutely ridiculous. The only things I can think of are that I've had more than the usual amount of crap work (mostly just because of the normal ebb and flow of things) and I've been slow lately (mostly due to cyclical/structural factors). The slowness especially plays on my neurotic side, which is cranking overtime for reasons I don't really understand. I've generally more paranoid about Biglaw than most people, but I have a good reputation and have had really good reviews. Ultimately, I just find myself worried all of the time and running out of gas.

To the extent I have a question (instead of just venting), it would be: how do I push through this period and get over the burnout. I don't want to leave because the money is crazy right now and 2-3 more years of it will set me up nicely. Also, given what I do, it's not really the right time for me to go.

Do I just comfort myself that Biglaw doesn't really matter and that because I have a good enough reputation and have made my hours, I can hang on for another two years? That firms are generally lacking in 5th-9th years, so as long as I don't go off the rails I can make it?

waytoplant

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Re: Biglaw Midlevel -- Burning Out

Postby waytoplant » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:07 pm

Wow, this is exactly what happened to me! I was a midlevel at a v10 firm in NYC and had no real reason to feel burned out. Relative to how hard other people at my firm were working and how hard friends at other firms were working, I had nothing to complain about. I liked my coworkers and partners and even some clients. I still couldn't muster the same energy as I used to, though, and I felt my quality of work slipping even though I never got a bad review and got only praise. Rather than "burnout" I thought it might be some combination of age (you're probably around 30 as well so maybe we just naturally lose some energy) and part of it may be boredom after working on this stuff over and over (my practice was a bit repetitive). I also thought it might have just been my lack of interest in the law catching up with me since I found myself daydreaming, researching and watching videos about other careers all the time.

But unfortunately I can't give too much advice because my solution was to go in-house. Sounds like that's not an option for you but I just wanted to post to say that you're not alone and this may not be "burnout" as much as it is just a natural slowing down. If I had stayed in biglaw I was thinking of speaking to a therapist or career coach or maybe trying some meditation-type stuff, so maybe those would be helpful. Good luck!

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UBETutoring

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Re: Biglaw Midlevel -- Burning Out

Postby UBETutoring » Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:24 am

Anonymous User wrote:So for the last ~5 months, I've been dealing with the unmistakable signs of burnout. I'm fatigued, I can't concentrate, I have trouble caring about my work, and I'm noticing small errors popping up (nothing big, and the errors are seldom noticed, but I'm making mistakes that I normally don't make).

The thing is, I'm not entirely sure why I'm feeling this way. I haven't been overworked, I generally like the people I work with, and the salary is absolutely ridiculous. The only things I can think of are that I've had more than the usual amount of crap work (mostly just because of the normal ebb and flow of things) and I've been slow lately (mostly due to cyclical/structural factors). The slowness especially plays on my neurotic side, which is cranking overtime for reasons I don't really understand. I've generally more paranoid about Biglaw than most people, but I have a good reputation and have had really good reviews. Ultimately, I just find myself worried all of the time and running out of gas.

To the extent I have a question (instead of just venting), it would be: how do I push through this period and get over the burnout. I don't want to leave because the money is crazy right now and 2-3 more years of it will set me up nicely. Also, given what I do, it's not really the right time for me to go.

Do I just comfort myself that Biglaw doesn't really matter and that because I have a good enough reputation and have made my hours, I can hang on for another two years? That firms are generally lacking in 5th-9th years, so as long as I don't go off the rails I can make it?

The bolded makes it seem like not caring and concentrating might be more a subconscious means of self-preservation than a symptom of being overworked. Deep down, you may be worried the ship is sinking and are subconsciously trying to protect yourself emotionally in the event the ship does sink. If this is it, the way to go might be to just build confidence that you are good at your job and well liked. Maybe spend a minute a day looking in the mirror and tell yourself all the great qualities you bring to the table.

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Re: Biglaw Midlevel -- Burning Out

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:36 pm

Exercise.

You say you're worried all the time. About something(s) in particular or just general anxiety?

Regarding "small errors": who cares? If you're just trying to milk the cow for another 2-3 years, just literally stop caring so much. Make yourself satisfied in ways that have nothing to do with work. If you learn how to cook a new dish, or get really into cycling, or read some cool books, or go to movies on a Tuesday night, you will just naturally care less about work. Make work fit your life rather than the other way around, to the extent that you can, especially when you're slow. Take pride in the fact that you aren't a perfectionist nut job workaholic sucker. Treat small mistakes as evidence that your priorities are in order.

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Guchster

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Re: Biglaw Midlevel -- Burning Out

Postby Guchster » Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:05 pm

waytoplant wrote:Wow, this is exactly what happened to me! I was a midlevel at a v10 firm in NYC and had no real reason to feel burned out. Relative to how hard other people at my firm were working and how hard friends at other firms were working, I had nothing to complain about. I liked my coworkers and partners and even some clients. I still couldn't muster the same energy as I used to, though, and I felt my quality of work slipping even though I never got a bad review and got only praise. Rather than "burnout" I thought it might be some combination of age (you're probably around 30 as well so maybe we just naturally lose some energy) and part of it may be boredom after working on this stuff over and over (my practice was a bit repetitive). I also thought it might have just been my lack of interest in the law catching up with me since I found myself daydreaming, researching and watching videos about other careers all the time.

But unfortunately I can't give too much advice because my solution was to go in-house. Sounds like that's not an option for you but I just wanted to post to say that you're not alone and this may not be "burnout" as much as it is just a natural slowing down. If I had stayed in biglaw I was thinking of speaking to a therapist or career coach or maybe trying some meditation-type stuff, so maybe those would be helpful. Good luck!


How long have you been in-house and has it helped feel less burned out by "the law"?

waytoplant

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Re: Biglaw Midlevel -- Burning Out

Postby waytoplant » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:04 pm

Guchster wrote:
waytoplant wrote:Wow, this is exactly what happened to me! I was a midlevel at a v10 firm in NYC and had no real reason to feel burned out. Relative to how hard other people at my firm were working and how hard friends at other firms were working, I had nothing to complain about. I liked my coworkers and partners and even some clients. I still couldn't muster the same energy as I used to, though, and I felt my quality of work slipping even though I never got a bad review and got only praise. Rather than "burnout" I thought it might be some combination of age (you're probably around 30 as well so maybe we just naturally lose some energy) and part of it may be boredom after working on this stuff over and over (my practice was a bit repetitive). I also thought it might have just been my lack of interest in the law catching up with me since I found myself daydreaming, researching and watching videos about other careers all the time.

But unfortunately I can't give too much advice because my solution was to go in-house. Sounds like that's not an option for you but I just wanted to post to say that you're not alone and this may not be "burnout" as much as it is just a natural slowing down. If I had stayed in biglaw I was thinking of speaking to a therapist or career coach or maybe trying some meditation-type stuff, so maybe those would be helpful. Good luck!


How long have you been in-house and has it helped feel less burned out by "the law"?


About a year. It definitely helped with burn out. It's not only that the hours are better but the whole atmosphere is more calm and less stressful. Plus being around people who are not biglaw lawyers also reduces stress, although there are other negatives (like the paycheck...) but overall I'm happy with it so far. I also feel slightly more interested in seeing how the law actually impacts a business. I'm still not positive, looking back, that law school was the best choice for me but being in-house has been a beneficial change for sure.

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Re: Biglaw Midlevel -- Burning Out

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:54 am

Anonymous User wrote:Exercise.

You say you're worried all the time. About something(s) in particular or just general anxiety?

Regarding "small errors": who cares? If you're just trying to milk the cow for another 2-3 years, just literally stop caring so much. Make yourself satisfied in ways that have nothing to do with work. If you learn how to cook a new dish, or get really into cycling, or read some cool books, or go to movies on a Tuesday night, you will just naturally care less about work. Make work fit your life rather than the other way around, to the extent that you can, especially when you're slow. Take pride in the fact that you aren't a perfectionist nut job workaholic sucker. Treat small mistakes as evidence that your priorities are in order.


OP here. Thanks to the other 2 posts, but this was the most apt for me.

My partner and I resolved that I should work out more to give myself a release and a way to feel better. Also, I've had general anxiety for a while, but it's turned into work-related anxiety over the last few months.

The only issue with not caring about the small mistakes and the job itself is ensuring that I don't get pushed out and that the people I work for use their connections to get me to my next job. I have a good relationship with the partner I work for, but she can be very demanding and immediately picks up on small things. Also, she is pushing me to take a bigger role as I become more senior, so it's harder for me to hide. She wants me to ramp things up and not just be another associate. So if I pull back, the person I work with most would immediately notice. My reputation right now is basically "does great work and handles matters/clients well, but does not go above and beyond/is not proactive."



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