Friday, November 23, 2007

Job perks - which path would you choose?

I'm sure everyone on the world is going to comment on this New York Times story about perks for BigLaw attorneys. Hey, I remember those days, too...and I don't blame the firms for offering them and the lawyers for demanding them. When you are not home for 14-16 hours a day (I remember them well), you have to have these kinds of bennies.

I don't have a masseuse (I do have a cool massaging recliner, though), dry-cleaning pickup (I rarely wear clothes in need of it anyway), free sports tickets, pet insurance or a concierge. (I do, however, have what the Times considers basics such as a Blackberry [who doesn't?] and laptops.)

So, what are the perks of my job? And, if you could, would you trade in your lifestyle coaches, mortgage guaranties, car discounts and the like for my benefits? (By the way, can you see why some clients might be irked when they read this story?)

1. Being able to work whenever I want and from wherever I want, with no "face time," required office hours or restrictions on what I do or when I do it, unless client demands are in the way. (My favorite is taking calls and answering email regularly from the golf course, thus allowing me to bill time while still having fun.)

2. Working from home four, if not five, days a week in a home office better than any office I had while working for the man.

3. Culling my tie collection from over a hundred to three since "dressing up" for me generally means not wearing shorts.

4. Working roughly one-third the hours for the same pay.

5. Ending the work day at noon on most summer Fridays just because....

6. Taking a mid-day work break to play games, watch a movie or visit my wife's office.

7. Being able to spend quality time with my grandparents and my mother.

8. Not feeling guilty about not being at the office on Saturday (though I admittedly do work some Saturdays from home when I have to or want to).

9. Not being chastised for doing volunteer work, for giving my time to others or to the community because I want to and not because I think it is good for business or my firm.

10. Not working on Black Friday. Having done it so many years, it feels sort of weird not to be doing it now.

By the way, I (and you!) do all of this while still being accessible to all my clients at virtually all times (the joys of the Internet, cell phones and BlackBerry all at work here).

I hope I'm not sounding like I am bragging about my life or bagging on BigLaw lawyers. I'm not trying to, and I apologize if it comes off that way. (And yes, even though I have a good practice, there are certain times I do miss the hubbub of it all -- and the collegiality of a big firm that I was fortunate to have experienced.) I'm just trying to point out that there is another way to doing what I do, a path that is, at least right now, better for me at this point in my career and one that I also think may be a healthier way for other lawyers to be in this profession. At least for me, actually striving for the lifestyle that so many seem to want is the trade-off for all the perks.

I leave it to you to decide whether you can or want to take this path, or whether you love the enviable path of the megaperks. As for me, I'm off to visit some friends and watch some football. :)


Lisa Michelle Galley: said...


Having recently left banking for my own gig, for many of the same reasons, I can only "second the motion".