Money Matters

WR - Seriously annoyed (but not suprised) - "Better for your family"

I cannot tell you the number of comments I have gotten about how my new job will be "better for my family" or "a better work/life balance."  Yes, hopefully it will be.  But also, it's an amazing opportunity that will likely further my career far more than being a non-equity partner would.  (I will never make equity partner at my firm and even non-equity is questionable.)  Why is it so hard to understand that a woman with a child might leave for a better career opportunity and not just because the hours are better?  I have said nothing to suggest otherwise.  And by title alone, most people would consider this a step up not back. 

Re: WR - Seriously annoyed (but not suprised) - "Better for your family"

  • People suck.

    I highly dislike people who think it's still 1950.

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  • I would say that to any parent (male or female) who got a new job with better hours, especially if I wasn't familiar with the person's field.
    DS born February 2009 * DD born September 2011
  • Are these people aware that you weren't likely to make partner? They might be assuming that you are leaving a job with huge earning potential.

    Before frequenting this board, I thought most lawyers made big bucks.  

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  • image Willisaurus:
    I would say that to any parent (male or female) who got a new job with better hours, especially if I wasn't familiar with the person's field.

    These are my coworkers/bosses.  And it is something that I'm certain wouldn't be said to a male coworker leaving.

  • image snapplegirl:

    Are these people aware that you weren't likely to make partner? They might be assuming that you are leaving a job with huge earning potential.

    Before frequenting this board, I thought most lawyers made big bucks.  

    I'm only speculating on the partner thing.  Politics at my firm suck right now.  But the partners in my group have always told me I would make partner.  I just don't know if management would agree.  Our practice group is sort of the black sheep of the firm.  I think all of this stems from the shock that anyone would choose to do something else with their life other than become partner.  I just have no interest in it.  And the money isn't enough to make it worth it for me.  

  • I wouldn't be offended.

    I think biglawyers are tend to be genuinely (and vocally) happy for those who are able to get out of biglaw, and particularly where they're just saying "wow, you'll have such a better work/life balance!", I think that's something that they'd say to men and non-breeders too. I certainly would say something along those lines to someone (and probably have?), even if in that case work/life balance just meant that a non-breeding or male colleague would have more time to go out for drinks before happy hour specials have ended for the night.

    I also wouldn't take those comments as any indication of where they think your new job falls on the career ladder.  Biglawyers are fully aware that there are jobs out there with great work/life balance, great pay, and that are plenty prestigious.

    I think people are just trying to be nice.

  • image BirdGirl01:

    image Willisaurus:
    I would say that to any parent (male or female) who got a new job with better hours, especially if I wasn't familiar with the person's field.

    These are my coworkers/bosses.  And it is something that I'm certain wouldn't be said to a male coworker leaving.

    Ok, that's dumb then.  I was imagining party chit-chat. 

    DS born February 2009 * DD born September 2011
  • ~NB~~NB~
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    How annoying.

    I'd probably get wide-eyed and ask them what they meant. When they elaborate about work/life balance, I'd respond as if this information was an epiphany to me by exclaiming "I never thought of that"!

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  • image Willisaurus:
    I would say that to any parent (male or female) who got a new job with better hours, especially if I wasn't familiar with the person's field.

    This. DH went from working 9 am- midnight or 1am or 2am or sometimes until the following morning in NYC to working 9am- 6 or 7pm-ish and no weekends ever here in Paris and everyone has told us it's "better for our family." They are absolutely correct that it is. I don't care if they don't notice that it increases his international deal skill-set or anything else he's hoping to get out of the experience of being here and I don't think he does, either.

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  • image ~NB~:

    How annoying.

    I'd probably get wide-eyed and ask them what they meant. When they elaborate about work/life balance, I'd respond as if this information was an epiphany to me by exclaiming "I never thought of that"!

    That's just stupid though.  Pretty much every single person who leaves biglaw does so in large part because they want shorter/more dependable hours.  "Work/life balance" is a stupid and eye-roll-worthy cliche for that idea, but it is no secret that that's why people are leaving.  And since men and women, young and old, breeding and non-breeding leave for that reason, it really doesn't reflect on you poorly that you prefer not to work until 3 am on a regular basis -- whether that is because you have children at home, or because you hate having to miss your knitting circle week after week, or because you like to play video games at that hour, or because you prefer to get drunk, or sleep, or stare at walls in your evening hours.  Biglaw sucks.  Nobody knows that better than biglawyers.  It isn't sexist to be happy that your colleague is going to have a much funner life going forward.

  • Hmmmm...I don't see anything particularly offensive. The reality is that it will be better for your family and your work/life balance even if it offers other advantages as well. For people still mired in working tons of hours, it seems natural that this is what they'd comment on.

     

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  • Why do you care what they say?
  • Eh I get the annoyance. Not a lawyer but gender bias in the workplace sucks. And especially coming from people who know that there is more to who you are than being a parent. It's not like this is a moms group saying these things. They're your coworkers for christ's sake. 
  • I get it. I got the same thing when I recently left biglaw to go in-house and it rubbed me the wrong way too for some reason.  I left the year I was up for (and likely would make) non-equity partner, so a lot of people thought I was only leaving for the balance.  Like you, I left for what I thought was a better career opportunity.  Just put it out of your head and be excited for the new opportunity. I have been lurking and following your job search, so super excited for you!
  • Don't let it get to you.  They're just jealous.
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  • I think they are probably envious of the extra time you'll likely get back with your family.  (Which is not to say that there is not likely gender bias behind the comments as well.  4 lawyers have left my firm for smaller firm or gov't positions in the last year and no one mentioned family time for the 3 males, but it came up repeatedly for the 1 female.)
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  • image notquiteblushing:
    Don't let it get to you.  They're just jealous.

    Honestly, this is probably more of the reason than anything. 

  • I said this last night to a friend who has no kids.

    I've said it about men who have kids and who don't.

    Less hours/closer to home/more flexibility all = better work/life balance. 

    It's not like they're saying "Well, good, you should work less hours as a mother!" or something. I don't think it's a shock that non biglaw work is a little easier on the work/life balance for anyone - parent or not.

    image image
  • image aswartzw:

    image notquiteblushing:
    Don't let it get to you.  They're just jealous.

    Honestly, this is probably more of the reason than anything. 

    I doubt the partners who are making $1 mil + per year are jealous.  I do think part of it that people have a hard time understanding why anyone would choose to give that kind of money up.  But the path to partnership also isn't what it used to be.

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