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If you’re succeeding on all the right metrics (i.e., leadership loves you, clients love you, you’re participating on pitches, you’ve brought in clients, and you’re set up to inherit a book of business), but you’re still not super into it, being promoted to income partner won’t change things, right? Worth sticking out to see or jumping to go in house at a pre-IPO, late stage startup you find super exciting and interesting?

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This was/is me. Those feelings don’t really go away. I stayed and still not super into it, although there are some advantages to being partner. If you’re very close (like it will happen this year), you might as well stay, but definitely keep your eyes open for opportunities.

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Those are definitely the upsides I was expecting as partner and was holding out hope that those upsides would make up for my general meh feeling. That’s my big unknown, but helpful to hear those feelings don’t necessarily go away.

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If you don’t want to be partner, I wouldn’t do it. That said, having the title will help you. So depends how close you are to making it. And also makes a difference what type of economics you’d be giving up by not going to the in-house opportunity.

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I did want to be partner! It’s just that I’m unexpectedly going through an interview in-house that seemingly dropped in my lap based on a friend’s referral. And the opportunity is way more exciting than the previously exciting prospect of making partner… good problem to have, but major career twist for me…

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You never know where life will take you. If something interests you, I say go for it. Maybe this start up flops, but you meet someone and they bring you in as GC to a different start up and it goes 🚀. Or you stay and make partner and stare at the wall all day wondering “what if?” To me, it’s impossible to ever know whether something is 100% the right move. Trust your gut.

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Take the startup job. You’ve provided no reason for staying at your job other than the fact that you can make partner.

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Yeah, I guess it’s just whiplash and all so sudden and unexpected that I’m just trying to process. A part of me feels guilty that so many partners are pushing behind the scenes for my promotion and the thought of letting them down sucks… but I suppose they have my loyalty and sending some work down the line could smooth things over 🙃

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Here to say (from personal experience and seeing a few others) you can go back to a law firm after in house in case things don’t work out, especially if you have great relationships at your firm (sounds like you do) and leave on a good note. It’ll set you back in the partnership process for sure but you’ll gain valuable experience and insight from in-house, even if it’s not ultimately for you, that will help you in the long term.

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FWIW - when weighing these up, I took the view that “it’s possible to go back” and “you could get partner then find another amazing in-house opportunity” probably cancelled each other out (and both were far from a given). So weighed up both as though neither was a possibility: felt cleaner and easier that way.

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Start up. Start up. START UP.

Being made partner when you clearly don’t want to be will mentally destroy you - people sometimes see it as the goal but (to make the obvious point), it’s just the beginning of N years of more stuff you don’t like (just with more BD now). Will make you die inside - and good late-stage pre-IPOs are (despite the headlines) rarer than you think. Jump ship, write yourself an email explaining your decision (so you can look over it later if you need to) and don’t look back.

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Yeahhhhh, you’re 100% right about the reasons for partnership being all downside protection (I know what this path will look like; I’ve already proven myself and established trust; stability; the devil I know; I’ve done this for X years so might as well stick it out; money). This is so helpful. Thank you!!

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Update: got the offer and I am SO excited I don’t even care about all the money left on the table or the title or the long years put in to get here! Thank you for the advice, all!! 🍾🥂🎉🥳

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Amazing news - super excited for you. Thanks for updating and good luck!

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