My Name Is…

Up until now I have remained anonymous on this blog. I have been candid about my thoughts, my rants, my hopes and my fears. I think regular readers have a pretty good idea of my personality. Well, now, you can know my name too.

I was invited to participate in New York Time’s Room for Debate this week to discuss the effectiveness of strict parenting. Click here to read my piece and you will find out my name.

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40 Responses to My Name Is…

  1. Jack says:

    Your article is interesting. I am a big believer in chasing fulfillment over career.

    • everysixminutes says:

      Thanks! If I have to choose fulfillment or career, I would choose fulfillment. But I am searching for a career that is fulfilling on its own. Wish me luck!

  2. alyse says:

    Hi! I read your debate article at the NYTimes on parenting and found your blog. I am now a new subscriber. Keep up the great work!

  3. Lisa says:

    I happened upon your blog via the NYT article, as well, and found both compelling reading. As an in-house lawyer who realized long ago the perils of 6 minute billing increments, I champion your bold departure! Its a fantasy many have dreamed but few had the backbone to embrace.

    I loved your About Me. Keep up the thoughtful posts.

  4. Ryo says:

    Came here via the NYT article as well, and just wanted to say, I can relate to what you wrote there, and what you’re doing…

    I was raised by Japanese parents, and resisted much of their traditional emphasis on academic and professional success. I eventually found interior motivation, nonetheless, and ended up going the whole Good School, Good Company route. A couple of years ago, I quit my job at Google, left behind the six figure salary and three free gourmet meals a day, because I realized I wasn’t happy. These days, I spend most of my time living in the woods and building a cabin, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. I may be broke and unemployed, but I’m happy, and that’s all that matters to me.

    • everysixminutes says:

      Google’s gourmet meals are legendary! Have you read this profile of Neal Kashkari, the ex-Treasury Department Assistant Secretary who oversaw the TARP funds back in 2008? He took time off and built a cabin in the woods to detox. If I were more handy with power tools, I would definitely be tempted. I wish you the best!

  5. Heidi says:

    Also here from the NYT article – you’re an excellent writer and your analysis about why and how you’ve left the law, particularly with respect to money, is fascinating. I’m sure there will be many other lawyers like me who can identify very well with what you’ve written. You may hate drafting the reflection of other people’s meetings of the minds, but your ability to describe your own thought process is startlingly good.

  6. matt says:

    Well, I bailed out of law school at the end of my first year. I took a look around, realized that while I was perfectly capable of doing well there and of being a good attorney some day:

    1. That atmosphere of “drop everything else in your life, this is now the only important thing” was stifling.
    2. There were some really serious jerks who were doing well because of their ability to adhere to #1. I didn’t want to end up working for one of them, and was sure that I would.
    3. Given the loans I was taking out, I might never have the chance to get out if I continued any further.

    That was all nearly six years ago. I found a whole other career I liked, lived in another part of the country for a while, and while it hasn’t been perfect, there’s been time to cook, garden, brew beer, make poems, be outside, take photographs, and a lot of other things. It took me a long time to get over the shame of “dropping out,” and while I’m sure they never said anything to me about it, disappointing my parents. It was worth it, though.

    • everysixminutes says:

      Good for you — both for cutting the loss before too late and for living the life you want.

      My husband always wanted to brew beer. I’ll tell him to check out your blog.

  7. Giving it another go says:

    I do enjoy reading your blog and the sometimes insightful comments, but at the end of the day, I could never afford to quit my law firm job, not because I’m scared to explore, but mostly because I’m scared financially to be unemployed. And as you have recognized in previous postings, you know how lucky you are to have a husband who can financially support you through your journey. I’ve been beaten and battered by this career… I worked for the state government where I was overworked and underpaid and the cases were far too personal and emotional. I worked for biglaw and was disgusted by what my life had become — a servant to the partners and arrogant clients. I worked for a small litigation boutique that laid me off after personally making the partners close to $500,000 on just one case during a 6-month period. So in lieu of quitting, I decided to give law another go… just one more change for a fulfilling career in law (to Jack above — why only chase fulfillment over career? You can have a fulfilling career.). I was able to find a satisfying law firm job that does not chain me to my desk or my blackberry. They do exist, even in NYC. They are hard to find and even harder now, in this economy. For those who are questioning their careers in law, there are other options — you just need to be able to step down from the big $250K salary and so-called prestige of working in biglaw (which is really just prestigious among lawyers…. regular every day people do not know the difference between Cravath and Sullivan Cromwell, I promise you that). I make a solid 6-figure salary (one which pays the bills, allows me to travel to foreign places a couple of times a year, buy nice clothes, eat at nice restaurants, and even save a little bit for a rainy day). I work on interesting cases for interesting corporate and individual clients. No, the cases are not as high profile as biglaw, but that’s okay because my name is on every single piece of paper that goes out the door, the clients know who I am, the only red light going off on my blackberry on most weekends is calendar entry reminders for my own personal events, and I get to go home on average before 8 pm. I might not become partner, but I don’t know if I even want to become partner or I would be content being of counsel, especially when I decide to have a family. I have a life and I have a career.

    • everysixminutes says:

      I am so glad you found the right balance for yourself! I think your experience illustrated what I intended to do with my Three-Question Roadmap post that there are other solutions than quitting law altogether. It is important to think through one’s choices and be honest with one’s true desires.

  8. Grace Chiu Chen says:

    I really like your article in NYT. I live in Fremont, I assume you live in Bay Area too.

    I have two children just graduated from college. They feel really lucky that they never have do any extra homeworks besides the assignments from school. Maybe leaving more room helps them be more motivated.

    Well, well …. what interesting topic we are encounter……
    Ask the very basic question…..Why we immigrate to USA?

    I will starting reading your blog, it is my first time reading a blog, see, you can guess my age now.

    Grace Chiu Chen

  9. Hey There Sister!!!

    Yet another cyber-sojourner visiting your blog via the link at NYTimes. I’ve read through your “Quitting Big Law” series and a few other posts and have found the time I have spent here to have been very worthwhile. I very much admire and appreciate your candor in exposing so much of your inner self through what you have written here. In so doing you leave yourself vulnerable to some folks attempts at bullying or taking critical pot-shots at you, as I have seen evidenced by a few of the comments that have been made here in the past. Screw the naysayers, I say! Onward Through the Fog!!!

    Well, I wish you the best of luck and all sucess in your efforts to re-direct your life.

    Steve Schuler
    Oklahoma USA

  10. asad says:

    Read your opinion article in the NYT today and found your blog, great writing! I’m probably like many of your readers: in my early 30’s with good education and good salary but wondering if there is a better balance of financial stability/daily work fulfillment/overall well being. I’ll keep up with your posts and see how its working for you, aloha

  11. kng says:

    hey, read your piece on nytimes and found your blog. I just read all your posts. my husband recently graduated from law school and hadid not take the firm route. reading your posts make me understand more about what could have been, i am more at peace with his decision now, the firm route would not have made him happy. Also, I am Chinese American myself, grew up in HK and now live in US. happy that you have stepped on the path to find peace and life happiness. Have you ever read the book The Alchemist?

    • everysixminutes says:

      I am glad that my posts were helpful. Thanks for letting me know. It means a lot to me.

      I just read the Wiki page on The Alchemist. I am going to read it.

  12. Artemis says:

    Count me as another one who clicked over from the NYT article.
    I’ve read through from the beginning with great interest. First you are a good writer, but second I’ve also been considering quitting my job, which I also trained many years for, and I’m finding your thought process about how you came to make your decision very useful.
    What really kept me clicking from one post to the next, however, was looking for the post about why you decided not to have children… I hope that’s coming up soon.

    • Artemis says:

      The Alchemist is a wonderful book by the way. It changed my life (in a good way).

    • everysixminutes says:

      I am cognizant that I haven’t written this post yet and I haven’t forgotten. (I also haven’t posted a picture of my default face as promised in my “About Me” page). They are coming…

      Alchemist is on my library reserved list. Look forward to reading it!

  13. Eunicia says:

    Your piece on the NYT led me to your blog. I’m happy you’ve decided to quit your BigLaw job and live for yourself. I’m motivated to be happy as well, but first I want to finish college. You’ve inspired me more! Thank you.

  14. So wonderful to see your wise words in the NYT and on my blog on the very same day… Congrats on shedding the anonymity. As always, happy to have such an articulate fellow BigLaw refugee blogging alongside me :)

  15. starfish says:

    Like other commenters on this post, I came across your blog from the NYT article, which I found very well-written and interesting. Two days later, I have read your blog from the beginning, resisting posting a comment on several posts (I may go back and do so now) because I thought I’d rather introduce myself first.
    Now I am not sure what to say. Your story and the choices you describe resonated with me because we have things in common (but of course there are also details that are different). Trying to sum it up briefly: I am currently on a sabbatical (started in October). I was reasonably successful with my career but grew disillusioned with my job in the past year for various reasons. At the same time I have always had a passion and kept complaining that I didn’t have enough time to devote to it. So I finally decided to take a year off, both to devote more time to my passion, and to try and find out what to do with my career. In that context, I am very interested in the way you conduct your own search for happiness. I also simply enjoy your descriptions of traits or experiences I share with you, like goal-oriented obsessiveness, the need to be analytical about many things, striving to find out what success is, being raised in a strict manner, caring what other people think, being a cat lover…
    Anyway, I think the main thing I want to say really is that you write very well, and thank you for your candidness and honesty in describing your thought process. Your blog is very interesting, and you definitely count one more reader!

    • everysixminutes says:

      Nice meeting you Starfish! Please don’t resist posting comments. I relish comments — knowing what other people think (whether good or bad). This is why I love blogging, connecting with people far and wide. I would love to know more about your journey.

      • starfish says:

        Thanks! I’ll try and post comments – I may even go back and comment on some old posts…
        (Perfectionism tends to get in the way though.. I wish commenting on a blog was like having a conversation, but written things trigger checking and editing which make the whole process longer and way less spontaneous than a conversation… Even more so since English is not my mother language…)
        Anyways, no more excuses, I’ll comment now!

        • everysixminutes says:

          I totally know what you mean. For me, writing takes at least 10 times longer than speaking. I actually thought about doing a video blog instead, but then I don’t think it would help me think through things as much as writing. I am just hoping that practice makes things go faster.

  16. UWC says:

    Mazel tov! I hope the NYT paid you for that, though I suspect they didn’t.

  17. Doug says:

    Hi Jennifer:

    Following the link from the NY times, I wound up reading most of your blog. You are certainly an engaging writer!

    Two thoughts:

    First, the research is pretty conclusive: happiness is found by serving others. I recommend you keep that in mind during your own search.

    Second, it seems bizarre to me that the NY Times would ask you to write a column on parenting since you are apparently without children. Not meant as a criticism of you, but it does strike me as a strange move by the Times.

    Take care, and good luck in your post-Big Law life.

    • everysixminutes says:

      Thanks Doug for your thoughts. I completely agree with your first thought. I have been doing a fair amount of volunteer work since quitting and have found them to be very meaningful. I will describe them more fully in Part IV of my Quitting BigLaw series. Stay tuned.

      I was indeed surprised when NYT asked me to weigh in on the Amy Chua controversy. Apparently they had seen my blog a while ago and kept note of it. They thought that given my experience I may have some opinions from the perspective of the “child”. I am glad it turned out well.

  18. ZK says:

    I am little late on this, but I found your piece in NYT quite appealing. I also experienced that in addition to your personality a good academic achievement sort of brings your peers to respect you no matter what. It is good to know that this is universal across different cultures since I have a two year old who unlike me would be growing up in the U.S.
    Having read some of your posts, it seems that you are great in putting your thoughts in words. And having interesting thoughts in the first place… Would be coming back for sure.

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