My experience was miserable. Utterly soul destroying miserable.
This time of year when sun was completely blotted out by grey cloud. The rain. The constant rain.
And the miserable hours. Everyone I worked with was actually reasonably nice. I didn't ever work with arseh1oles. Everyone, outside business services, were genuinely intelligent and friendly people.
But I'd never leave the office. I didn't take a holiday once for over 10 months. I was working every weekend - just something, even it was just replying to a few emails, I'd have to get my laptop out, dig out documents. A simple question would take 15-30 minutes to answer. And it was the strain of that time of my weekend just gone.
I'd be in the supermarket, and need to urgently reply to something, so I'd come back home and reply in 10 minutes, and then have to go back to the supermarket to do my groceries.
I'd leave anything between 8-2am every night but for Fridays. I had grey hairs from the stress (which I confirm have now gone btw - lack of stress and eating well).
I can't deal with commuting and lived either within walking distance or 20 minutes public transport of the office. And everywhere in that range is miserable to live in.
EVERYONE was doing it for the money. NO ONE WAS THAT RICH. The average 6-8 PQE had saved 250-350k in their entire lifespan of working mostly in US firms, although money wasn't quite what it is now despite COL going up. Associates live in grim dreary 1-2 bed flats, fight through the rain to go to their 12-14 hour a day jobs.
Sitting in a chair. Never moving. My average steps a day were under 5k.
Then I came to Dubai. I make ridiculous amounts compared to US lawyers back in London. I work half the hours. My apartment is I think over 2000-2500 square feet. I'm in work in 10 minutes. No public transport. Crammed into a tin can with sweaty miserable khunts.
I'd get so angry at the littlest things in the morning - if someone looked at me the wrong way, pushed into me, whilst I was running late and had 20 emails to respond to. I fantasised about murdering people on the buses and tube. No more of that.
I spend my weekends on boats with unlimited food and alcohol. Beach clubs. Gyms. I'm nearly in the best shape of my life. I come back to London in the summer for nearly 3 months, and as soon as I get there, I see the necessary people, before flying out to mainland Europe - usually somewhere in Spain or Italy.
I can never come back to London in PP, and I am told this by ex colleagues. And when I talk to them about their lives, it's just a stream of misery. I say, why don't you come out to Dubai? "What...and give up all this?" they say.