Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Burnout?

Question for other attorneys who have been pushed maybe a li biglawdrone02/07/17
it's time for you to take a sabbatical. Talk to your managi dingbat02/07/17
Has that actually worked for anyone? mtbislife02/07/17
Several months sabbatical? From a law firm? flharfh02/07/17
lol right, they don't want us to take 10 day vacations, let mtbislife02/07/17
then walk. No job is worth extinguishing your soul dingbat02/07/17
Agreeing to a several month sabbatical? Maybe if you faked karlfarbman02/07/17
well, it beats straight-up handing in your notice. I've kno dingbat02/07/17
Lolwut? Several months off? You may as well give them notice lolwutjobs02/07/17
How many years have you been practicing? How many at that f russophile02/07/17
Yeah, several months is nuts. Two weeks is more realistic, pauperesq02/07/17
I'm burned out too, but I've been practicing for almost 15 y hairypalms02/07/17
A friend of my was allowed to take a three month sabbatical tcpaul02/08/17
I came back from a burnout type situation. I just stopped ca retard02/08/17
This makes the most sense to me. Sabbatical is not a realis biglawdrone02/08/17
Burnout is the number one killer of legal careers. It create cocolawyer02/08/17
It's hard to say. Some people just fold when the going gets parlance02/09/17
Walk. These are the prime years of your life. Apply for a getpaidtoleech02/11/17
Why yes, yes I am. Why do you ask? inho2solo02/11/17
Maybe you're Lnot supposed to get all your satisfaction from entrepreneurlawyer02/23/17
I'm totally burned out. I switched to a 40 hour a week job w fettywap02/23/17
Sorry for the kitten complaint in re your dog complaint ques mtobeinf02/23/17
Go the in-house counsel route. I worked for government, the ruralattorney02/23/17
Good point. Your coworkers can make or break a job. mtbislife02/23/17

biglawdrone (Feb 7, 2017 - 12:16 pm)

Question for other attorneys who have been pushed maybe a little too hard. How do you know when you've reached burnout stage that you hear others talk about? I've been through a lot of ups and downs in my Biglaw career, but lately I feel like I have to drag myself to the office every day and wonder when I'll receive that e-mail with yet another project that makes me walk out the door an never come back.

I don't feel completely burned out but it seems like I'm getting close and don't know what to do. Partners and other associates tell me not to get burned out and that we're running a marathon, but then immediately dump more work on my plate. I don't want to hit total burnout and give up, but I don't know how to pull myself out. Am I past the point of no return?

Reply Like (0)
dingbat (Feb 7, 2017 - 12:19 pm)

it's time for you to take a sabbatical.
Talk to your managing partner about it, and request some time off - several months if you can.
If you're valuable, they'll agree. If they don't agree, it's time for you to leave.

While on sabbatical, don't think about work, about goals in life, nothing. just soak up the moment.
When you're done, you can re-evaluate your life and decide if you want to keep on keeping on, or if it's time for a change of pace.

Reply Like (0)
mtbislife (Feb 7, 2017 - 12:28 pm)

Has that actually worked for anyone?

Reply Like (0)
flharfh (Feb 7, 2017 - 12:33 pm)

Several months sabbatical? From a law firm?

Reply Like (0)
mtbislife (Feb 7, 2017 - 1:04 pm)

lol right, they don't want us to take 10 day vacations, let alone several months off.

Reply Like (0)
dingbat (Feb 7, 2017 - 1:40 pm)

then walk.

No job is worth extinguishing your soul

Reply Like (0)
karlfarbman (Feb 7, 2017 - 4:21 pm)

Agreeing to a several month sabbatical? Maybe if you faked a health issue you could do it but what law firm, or really any employer, would agree to this? Unless you are supplying a line of business I'm not sure why any employer would say sure, take all the time you need!

How many jobs have you had where you felt you could do this?

Reply Like (0)
dingbat (Feb 7, 2017 - 4:26 pm)

well, it beats straight-up handing in your notice. I've known people to take a whole year off (not many, admittedly, but a handful)

Reply Like (0)
lolwutjobs (Feb 7, 2017 - 3:40 pm)

Lolwut? Several months off? You may as well give them notice now--that is not a fair request

Reply Like (0)
russophile (Feb 7, 2017 - 4:16 pm)

How many years have you been practicing? How many at that firm and in which area?

Reply Like (0)
pauperesq (Feb 7, 2017 - 4:17 pm)

Yeah, several months is nuts. Two weeks is more realistic, and even then expect to get resistance. Don't expect biglaw to get any better or easier.

Look into transitioning to a government gig or in-house.

Reply Like (0)
hairypalms (Feb 7, 2017 - 8:20 pm)

I'm burned out too, but I've been practicing for almost 15 years now, have paid off the vast majority of my school loans, my cars are paid off and I own my house outright. So a lot depends on your financial situation. If BigFlaw is wearing you down, I would look in-house. I'm in-house and although it still has its stressful moments, it's much better than working at a firm IMO. My goal is to work in-house for another 5 years and then possibly wind down my career, perhaps starting a solo practice. At some point, time is more important than money. As to your proposal to go on a sabbatical, I think it's a non-starter. Don't give your firm any additional ammunition to get rid of you.

Reply Like (0)
tcpaul (Feb 8, 2017 - 7:50 am)

A friend of my was allowed to take a three month sabbatical from biglaw (evryone here knows the firm). My friend always killed it in hours and is highly valued by the firm. I'm guessing this is a rarity.

I once heard that people whi burnout rarely if ever take vacation. Are you taking vacation? I think you should for several reasons: (1) it will help avoid burning out, (2) you will learn whether the firm is ok with vacations (despite whatever the firm "policy" is). If they are ok with it, great, keep taking them. If they aren't ok with it, great, now you know, get out. It's really a can't lose situation.

Reply Like (0)
retard (Feb 8, 2017 - 8:21 am)

I came back from a burnout type situation. I just stopped caring for a while, billed a hundred hour month, slept in, let my voicemail fill up and just cruised. I snapped out of it.

Reply Like (0)
biglawdrone (Feb 8, 2017 - 1:12 pm)

This makes the most sense to me. Sabbatical is not a realistic solution, but clearing my plate as best I can and having a very slow month could really help the situation.

Thanks to everyone for your input.

Reply Like (0)
cocolawyer (Feb 8, 2017 - 12:08 pm)

Burnout is the number one killer of legal careers. It creates depression, and anxiety. Your work suffers. Deadlines get missed. You are not as prepared as you should be in court. Your billable hours suck. It goes on that way until a client files a malpractice suit or your boss cans you.

I have finally broke from the yoke of private practice but not everyone can. There should be other better avenues available to attorneys that will inevitably hit burnout stage then more life crushing legal work.

If I didn't get the job with DCSS I seriously was thinking of just walking away and doing any menial stressfree job.

Reply Like (0)
parlance (Feb 9, 2017 - 11:44 pm)

It's hard to say. Some people just fold when the going gets tough. I think it a lot of it depends on where you live and the nature of your practice. I think working in Biglaw in any metro area can be more draining and soul-taxing than, say, being a tax and estate lawyer in a small town.

Reply Like (0)
getpaidtoleech (Feb 11, 2017 - 12:22 am)

Walk. These are the prime years of your life. Apply for a lifestyle job with a salary you can live with and walk away. Spend time with a significant other. Raise a family. These are the things that matter.

Reply Like (0)
inho2solo (Feb 11, 2017 - 10:15 am)

Why yes, yes I am.

Why do you ask?

Reply Like (0)
entrepreneurlawyer (Feb 23, 2017 - 1:36 pm)

Maybe you're Lnot supposed to get all your satisfaction from work? Maybe that notion is no longer possible or relevant. We work for more reasons than just money. We get psychic 'pay' from serving others, too. Work isn't meeting that need then take a mini-sabbatical on weekends to figure out what would bring that joy back to you. It's a process, not all or nothing.

Discover what you loved the most and recreate that for yourself elsewhere! Maybe a side hustle. Maybe volunteering. Don't ignore your little voice whispering be more. It only gets louder.

Reply Like (0)
fettywap (Feb 23, 2017 - 1:45 pm)

I'm totally burned out. I switched to a 40 hour a week job where I don't really do much practicing law. Would like to give it up altogether, but can't find a different field that will pay the bills. Hate the job I have now. Hate hate hate.

Reply Like (0)
mtobeinf (Feb 23, 2017 - 1:49 pm)

Sorry for the kitten complaint in re your dog complaint question. I was burned out too before I left law. I feel for you man. I probably would have never fully recovered from getting sick if I stayed. Blessing in disguise.

Reply Like (0)
ruralattorney (Feb 23, 2017 - 2:06 pm)

Go the in-house counsel route. I worked for government, then a private firm, and am now in-house. In-house has been by FAR the best of the three.

Government has a lot going for it, but the pay is lousy and all it takes is one or two miserable people who work in your office to make your life miserable. These people wouldn't last a month in a private business, but yet they linger in their government jobs.

Reply Like (0)
mtbislife (Feb 23, 2017 - 2:31 pm)

Good point. Your coworkers can make or break a job.

Reply Like (0)
Post a message in this thread