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Career Comforts

When I was a kid, I dreamed of growing up to have a glamorous job as a journalist. Perched high in my corner office nestled in the top floor of one of Chicago's statuesque skyscrapers, I had prestige--but most importantly, I was producing valuable content that made a difference.

In my opinion, I've reached that goal. Maybe I'm not towering over the rest of the Windy City in a corner office, but I do have a comfortable spot on the 6th floor of a modest building in the South Loop. And I'm part of a talented team of editors producing information that matters to a respected group of professionals--in-house counsel. For me, that's what it's all about.

Growing up, we dream about one day having powerful careers. But as we get older, we become more realistic and begin to distinguish our career must-haves from the nice-to-haves, and carve paths for ourselves that make sense both personally and professionally.

Case in point: While attending a dinner during the recent MCCA event in Chicago, I had the opportunity to chat with a young lawyer who had made the transition from law firm to in-house practice a few years ago. She said even though her in-house role is likely not as lucrative as a law firm gig, it affords her a certain freedom she wouldn't have at a firm. "I leave work every day at 4:30 to pick up my son from day care," she told me. "This is a luxury I just wouldn't have at a law firm."

Although finding happiness in a career isn't always easy, in-house counsel on the whole seem to have found what's right for them. That's what we discovered when we surveyed our readers for InsideCounsel's third biennial career satisfaction survey (see "Compensating Factors" ).

This year's results reiterate what many legal department folks have said in the previous surveys. Although those not at the GC-level desire opportunities for advancement, most in-house counsel appreciate the nature of their work and the work-life balance. It may not be the dream job of their youth, but it meets their grown-up needs.

Staff Writer

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