It's amazing that the job of an associate attorney has recently been ranked the unhappiest job in America. Or is it? Many of the commenters note that these associate attorneys should feel lucky (aka happy) to just have a job with the state of the legal economy today.
It comes down to expectations, I think. Associate attorney positions are the coveted jobs -- the ones where you are supposed to make the big bucks. But in today's market, these attorneys still have to put in the same hours for less money.
Add to it that many attorneys have been raised in a way that makes them feel entitled to a certain standard of living. They want to make big bucks right out of school and afford the same standard that their parents may have afforded for them. When it comes to actually doing the work to afford that standard of living, many become disillusioned. Doing anything strictly for the money never seems to turn out well.
It's also no surprise that lawyers tend to be very pessimistic (see this article), and that might have something to do with this recent ranking.
ABA Journal -- Associate Attorney Unhappiest Job
Generational Changes in Materialism and Work Centrality, 1976-2007
Associations With Temporal Changes in Societal Insecurity and Materialistic Role Modeling