Working Moms

Sigh. Feeling very frusterated at my work situation.

I'm really starting to feel like I'm getting taken advantage of at work. 

Backstory: I'm an attorney. Went to T15 law school, graduated w/honors, etc. 5 years ago. Got a job in commercial litigation at a boutique firm that paid = to Big Law and was miserable.  I took this job a year later at a very small firm (still doing commercial litigation) and have been there 4 years.  First 2.5 years, I made low 6 figures.

Things started going downhill when I got pregnant.  I could tell my boss wasn't happy.  I had horrible m/s, but still never missed a day.  I was so nauseated and one day I literally started dry heaving in front of him (out of my control) and my boss commented, "Isn't it a little early for that?" I was 10 weeks.  And it was little things here and there--my boss used to always take me out to lunch, but no more after I announced the pregnancy. 

I ended up with pre-e and my LO developed IUGR--likely in part due to my high stress job.  My MFM wanted me to cut back. I talked to my boss. He actually gave me MORE work (and more stressful work) after we had this conversation. Ultimately, I was pulled from work at 34 weeks and put into the hospital on bedrest because things had gotten so bad.  I was delivered at 37 weeks.  LO was tiny.  I was paid out for my vacation and then not paid for the rest of the leave. While there was no written policy (very small firm), our receptionist got 14 weeks of paid leave.  6 weeks of paid leave is pretty standard in the field. But whatever. I got over it and came back after 8 weeks.  Basically, as soon as I was released by the doc as I had a C-section.

I came back 3 days a week and was paid 60 percent of my base salary. In 2010 and 2011, I received a $30k-40k bonus both years.  At the end of 2012, I got $1,000.  Another slap in the face, but again I got over it.  So basically, now, if things continue and I get almost no bonus again this year, I will end up being paid about 40-45% of my prior *total* compensation.  Problem is, I still have about 70-80 percent of the work...and I'm continuously called on my days off to either come in or do something.  It has been 5 days in the last month including Easter and Mother's day...both LO's first.  I don't mind answering an email, but I'm talking about at least a day's work.  The most recent was today where I find out I am expected to do three 30b6 depos on my day off.

I'm really feeling unappreciated.  I know that I am good at what I do.  Part of the reason I don't want to leave is because I like a lot of my clients and the actual work I do...plus, I have a good commute.  I guess I could also talk to my boss about extra money, but I feel pretty sure it will not go well.  The other alternative is to give my notice and stay at home/help DH with his business.  DH makes more than enough and the little bit I am getting paid after taxes, I really just pay for the nanny, the maid and work clothes. Frankly, the only reason I am staying at all is that I'm afraid that if I get out of the field, I won't ever be able to get back in. 

Any suggestions?  Ideas? 

 

 

IF DX: DOR & Fragile X pre-mutation carrier
2011: FSH 13.3 & E 99; AMH 0.54 2nd FSH 6.2 E 40's AFC: 8
BFP from Clomid/IUI ~ Pre-e and IUGR during pregnancy ~ DS born 9/4/12
Feb./March 2013: AMH less than 0.16 (undectable) and AFC = 4;
BFP from supps ~ DS#2 due May 2014

May 2014 January Siggy Challenge:
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Re: Sigh. Feeling very frusterated at my work situation.

  • I can sympathize. . I went to a tier 1 school. Did well and had a similar path. Got pregnant the first time and the firm wasn't happy. I've since been punished with more work and snide comments since I announced I was pregnant with DS. It sucks. And it really sucks to be good at what you do and not be appreciated.

    Could you work out an of counsel agreement and get a percentage of your billables rather than salary ?

    I'm currently putting the word out that I'm looking. Lots of jobs are by word of mouth. Mainly because I can't stand looking at the man who ordered me not to get pregnant again.... long pause ...."um I'm joking of course, I know I can't say that "
  • I would attempt to talk to your boss or HR. at this point he is already treating you like ***. On another note, since you have such a good working relationship with clients could you take them with you?! 

     


  • image iverske9:

    I would attempt to talk to your boss or HR. at this point he is already treating you like ***. On another note, since you have such a good working relationship with clients could you take them with you?! 

     

    We don't have an HR.  There are under 10 people in the entire firm.

    I would be scared to even try take clients.  Most of the clients have been with the firm for 20-30 years so even though they like me, I think their ultimate loyalty would be with the firm. My boss has been practicing for over 40 years and started his own firm in the late 70's. 

    IF DX: DOR & Fragile X pre-mutation carrier
    2011: FSH 13.3 & E 99; AMH 0.54 2nd FSH 6.2 E 40's AFC: 8
    BFP from Clomid/IUI ~ Pre-e and IUGR during pregnancy ~ DS born 9/4/12
    Feb./March 2013: AMH less than 0.16 (undectable) and AFC = 4;
    BFP from supps ~ DS#2 due May 2014

    May 2014 January Siggy Challenge:
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  • image PrivacyWanted:
    I can sympathize. . I went to a tier 1 school. Did well and had a similar path. Got pregnant the first time and the firm wasn't happy. I've since been punished with more work and snide comments since I announced I was pregnant with DS. It sucks. And it really sucks to be good at what you do and not be appreciated. Could you work out an of counsel agreement and get a percentage of your billables rather than salary ? I'm currently putting the word out that I'm looking. Lots of jobs are by word of mouth. Mainly because I can't stand looking at the man who ordered me not to get pregnant again.... long pause ...."um I'm joking of course, I know I can't say that "

    We sound like we are in a very similar situation.  The "of counsel" idea sounds like a good thought.  I don't know if my boss will go for it, but it doesn't hurt to ask.  My DH points out that part of the problem is that my boss is getting the best of both worlds right now - he is paying me very little and still having me do a ton of work for the "privilege" of supposedly working part-time.

    IF DX: DOR & Fragile X pre-mutation carrier
    2011: FSH 13.3 & E 99; AMH 0.54 2nd FSH 6.2 E 40's AFC: 8
    BFP from Clomid/IUI ~ Pre-e and IUGR during pregnancy ~ DS born 9/4/12
    Feb./March 2013: AMH less than 0.16 (undectable) and AFC = 4;
    BFP from supps ~ DS#2 due May 2014

    May 2014 January Siggy Challenge:
    image
    image
  • image IBackBevo:

    image PrivacyWanted:
    I can sympathize. . I went to a tier 1 school. Did well and had a similar path. Got pregnant the first time and the firm wasn't happy. I've since been punished with more work and snide comments since I announced I was pregnant with DS. It sucks. And it really sucks to be good at what you do and not be appreciated.

    Could you work out an of counsel agreement and get a percentage of your billables rather than salary ?

    I'm currently putting the word out that I'm looking. Lots of jobs are by word of mouth. Mainly because I can't stand looking at the man who ordered me not to get pregnant again.... long pause ...."um I'm joking of course, I know I can't say that "

    We sound like we are in a very similar situation.  The "of counsel" idea sounds like a good thought.  I don't know if my boss will go for it, but it doesn't hurt to ask.  My DH points out that part of the problem is that my boss is getting the best of both worlds right now - he is paying me very little and still having me do a ton of work for the "privilege" of supposedly working part-time.


    A lot of women in my MAMA mentoring attorney mothers association, I think they are national? came up with Of Counsel arrangements where they were earning less an hour than if they worked 60 percent for 60 percent pay. But because they'd actually been working 80 percent or more for 60 percent pay it isbetter for them.

    When I came back from this ML my boss had re assigned all my main clients I had for 4 years , I think he's afraid I would take them with me so he's limiting contact. But I do think you're right that in litigation clients are more likely to stick with the guy doing it 40 years than branch off with a relative new comer, especially a woman ..at least in my experience
  • I've read your previous posts and it sounds like part time with this company is not working because it is the classic, I will pay you for part time and then work you more hours.  I am not a lawyer, so I don't know anything about the pay structure.  I would either go back to full time or start looking for another job. 
  • I agree with PP - see if you can arrange some sort of counsel arrangement where you get paid a percentage of your billables.  Sometimes you just have to push for it.  I work in BigLaw and I'm very non-confrontational in nature, so I know how scary it would be try and negotiate that.  But other female lawyers at my firm have done it and have managed to make it work.  Good luck!
  • wedseptwedsept
    Ninth Anniversary 500 Comments
    member

    I am also a litigation attorney.  Honestly, no paid leave in the legal environment is rare.  Your boss is treating you badly, and it sounds like it isn't going to end.

    If it was me in your position, I would start looking for a new job. 

    I would definitely not talk to anyone at your office about your being unhappy.  Nothing will change.

  • I'm a manager at a big law firm.  I don't know all the ins and outs, but sister you are getting screwed and this guy isn't working with you and he's just going to screw you worse. 

    There are places that will treat you better and either give you a staff attorney position or really let you work 60%, you're experienced litigator and there are places you can go.  I would start looking for a job now and see if you can get our of there in 3 months.  If you can't, I still might quit.  We have applications all the time from attorneys who were unemployed and no one really bats an eye about it at this point.

     

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  • I agree to a certain extent with PPs.  But honestly, in my experience, this is classic signs from the company that they are heavily hinting it's time for you to make your departure.  A nonexistent (and insulting) bonus?  Ever-increasing workload and no related pay increase?

    The writing is on the wall.  I'm not trying to be harsh or snarky, but frankly, I think that business relationship is damaged beyond repair.  I'd be looking for another position.  Life is too short for that nonsense.  You have bankable and valuable skills.  Take them elsewhere.

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  • Also, you started in this job as a non-parent.  Now you are a parent.  That is a very tough transition to make in your industry.  If you find another job, you come in as a parent.  Your stance in clear from the start.
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  • image KathrynMD:

    I'm a manager at a big law firm.  I don't know all the ins and outs, but sister you are getting screwed and this guy isn't working with you and he's just going to screw you worse. 

    There are places that will treat you better and either give you a staff attorney position or really let you work 60%, you're experienced litigator and there are places you can go.  I would start looking for a job now and see if you can get our of there in 3 months.  If you can't, I still might quit.  We have applications all the time from attorneys who were unemployed and no one really bats an eye about it at this point.

    Yup, all of this.  And really, if your husband makes plenty and you are doing litigation, why not cut your rate in half and hang out a shingle?  Maybe you only do 1 case at a time for a while, but it keeps something on your resume and you'll probably net more.

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  • lujainlujain
    Tenth Anniversary 1000 Comments 5 Love Its
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    I am also a litigator.  I agree that you should not stay at this job and you should start looking at other options.

    Also, you posted that you were only staying at the firm because you were afraid to leave the field.  It is possible to go back to legal practice after some time off.  My kid also had IUGR, as well as resulting developmental delays.  I spent 2 1/2 years as a SAHM, and I spent a lot of time taking her to appointments with therapists and other specialists.  After she caught up to her peers and started preschool, I was able to find work pretty easily.  I don't have a traditional job at a big firm, but I work part-time at a small firm, and I've also had other opportunities come my way.

  • image Iblamethebeer:
    image KathrynMD:

    I'm a manager at a big law firm.  I don't know all the ins and outs, but sister you are getting screwed and this guy isn't working with you and he's just going to screw you worse. 

    There are places that will treat you better and either give you a staff attorney position or really let you work 60%, you're experienced litigator and there are places you can go.  I would start looking for a job now and see if you can get our of there in 3 months.  If you can't, I still might quit.  We have applications all the time from attorneys who were unemployed and no one really bats an eye about it at this point.

    Yup, all of this.  And really, if your husband makes plenty and you are doing litigation, why not cut your rate in half and hang out a shingle?  Maybe you only do 1 case at a time for a while, but it keeps something on your resume and you'll probably net more.

    I'm not a lawyer (am I the only one in this thread that isn't related to the law field?) but this situation just pisses me off.  I hope you move on and find a position where you are appreciated.  Good luck! 

    ****siggy warning***

    DH and me... both 34... Married since 6/11
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    TTC #1: Two rounds of Clomid = BFP 12/11 = Healthy beautiful baby boy born via c/s 8/21/12
    TTC #2 since 5/14... no luck yet, going the natural route for now

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  • KL777KL777
    Ancient Membership 1000 Comments 100 Love Its Combo Breaker
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    Your boss' company doesn't sound like a very family-friendly place to work.  I would start looking elsewhere---immediately.

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  • I would do some information gathering on what your peers at other law firms do.  I know in my city the local women's lawyer association has put together studies identifying the various maternity leave and part-time arrangements at firms around time.  That helps the attorneys who are at smaller shops like yours negotiate for their benefits.  Hope the situation improves you deserve better.

     (Although, take what I'm saying with a grain of salt.  I went from full time to 80% as of May 1.  Still so busy that I'm billing full days, but hopefully it will improve soon.  And, at least I know my firm will compensate me well at the end of the year if I end up above my 80% billable target.)

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  • Thank you so much for all of the responses!  It makes me feel better to know that I'm not crazy in thinking I'm getting the short end of the stick. 

    IF DX: DOR & Fragile X pre-mutation carrier
    2011: FSH 13.3 & E 99; AMH 0.54 2nd FSH 6.2 E 40's AFC: 8
    BFP from Clomid/IUI ~ Pre-e and IUGR during pregnancy ~ DS born 9/4/12
    Feb./March 2013: AMH less than 0.16 (undectable) and AFC = 4;
    BFP from supps ~ DS#2 due May 2014

    May 2014 January Siggy Challenge:
    image
    image
  • image IBackBevo:

    Thank you so much for all of the responses!  It makes me feel better to know that I'm not crazy in thinking I'm getting the short end of the stick. 

    NOT crazy at all. I would def start looking for something else. You deserve to be appreciated. Good luck!

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