Q I’m a new associate. I started at a mid-size Philadelphia firm in November 2010. Though I’m at a firm that doesn’t pay a ton (but apparently used to), I consider myself lucky. But, because I have enormous student loan debt from undergrad and law school, I’m pinching pennies. So much so that I have held on to a moonlighting job at Fogo de Chao, the Brazilian steakhouse downtown here in Philly.
To be honest, I like my work at Fogo a lot better than the grind I face each day at the firm. I’m on my feet, I meet interesting people, and it’s fun working with the same crew each weekend. I can’t say the same for the law firm but I understand it will get better.
On occasion, I get called to do a shift during the weekday, which means starting around 4:30. Which means leaving early. It also means that I keep my Fogo attire tucked away at work and have to change quickly before going to do the shift (I take the Fogo stuff home on the weekends). I’m now concerned that I’ve started to live a “double life” and wonder how partners or associates would react if they went for a steak on the weekend and saw me working. Any advice? Do BigLaw associates ever moonlight?
A Honestly, I cannot get past the image of you as a Fogo gaucho, with your Argentian riding boots, a rastras belt, and Bombacha pants, walking through the lobby at Dechert to scurry on to your night job of spearing sirloin. It just cracks me up. Actually, why even change your outfit? Wear it on the days you have a shift. Claim you have a deep Brazilian gaucho heritage that goes back centuries and explain to associates and partners the fine art of Churrasco grilling and how best to prepare barbecued frango. Awesome.
Either 86 the Fogo de Chao gig or drop out of BigLaw. They don’t mix. Sure, I’ve heard rumors of big firm associates moonlighting these days. But not at Fogo de Chao. Maybe you’re proud of being a passadore, otherwise known as a meat waiter. But you are a meat waiter for the law. Unless you want to advance your career by moving on to Rumjungle, put your nose to the grind and wear a suit. If you must, you can wear gaucho boots. Just don’t tuck in your pants.