Actuary is a job that is often advertised as having its workers hard pressed to work a total of 40 hours per week. There is good earning potential, though it would take awhile and some luck to catch up to biglaw. Having a life outside of work would be the trade-off.
It's difficult for me to think of many other professions where working 40 hours and completely leaving your work at the office will provide both a lot of pay and make you good at what you do. Those people that I know that are intent on 40 hours per week get their 2-4% raises per year and make slow (though steady for the most part) progress. There are two main kinds of employees. The first is the kind that is there for the paycheck and only the paycheck. This is not bad in any way, but it is what it is and constitutes a large percentage of the work force. The second is the kind that has a passionate interest in what they do and sees the success of the business as their personal responsibility. Working 8:30-5:30 is not their concern - success is their concern. It's a significant paradigm shift for most people to move from the first kind to the second kind of employee. You don't have to be a workaholic to be like the second kind of employee, but you can't expect that everything you need to do to be the best you can will always fit in Mon-Fri 8:30-5:30 or whatever.
While it is greatly encouraging to see young people here be congnizant of the fact that some professions have a darker side that needs to be watched out for, many threads on these forums are also depressing. People who have little work experience will make threads about trying to get as much money for as little effort as possible. Newsflash: that does not make you stick out from the crowd. What makes you stick out is the desire to be great at whatever it is that you do along with how you treat people. Again, I am glad that many people are aware of the trap that biglaw firms are
, but a hold-your-nose approach to work isn't going to impress a lot of employers either.