Thursday, January 30, 2014

I know, I know

So I know that I promised you copious posts. I have woefully over promised. Thus my near two month hiatus.

Reasons are below, but believe me, I completely understand the underlying reason to be that I am a serial overcommitter with horrid time management skills and no follow through on things that are not required. So that thing.

  1. Clinic case blew up
  2. Had a billion things to do
  3. Minor mental breakdown
  4. Second minor mental breakdown
  5. Left for winter break
  6. Continued Clinic obligations DURING break
  7. Returned and had to hit the ground running - thanks law school.
  8. Suddenly decided that my health was a priority
  9. Began teaching yoga again
So there ya have it. I've been horrendous about posting, though I really have no excuse. To make up for it, I give you this: the spiral of the 3L "I can't find a job" freak out.

It starts innocently enough. You're working, it's summertime and the weather's fine, and suddenly they appear. Reminders that you're not working at a firm, that you cannot expect a job offer at the end of this summer you're pouring all of your efforts into, that OCIs are again a thing and you NEED to get your lazy rear end in gear. But you have plenty of time. You'll spend a whole weekend carefully combing through postings and applying and polishing your cover letter, you tell yourself. Before you know it, there's a reminder email from career services announcing that OCI applications and bids close tomorrow at 9 AM. OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD. You firmly plant yourself in front of your laptop after work, drained, but realizing that all of that preparation you told yourself to do never happened. After two hours carefully researching each posting, and determining that there are only 10 employers seeking 3Ls, and only 6 of which you're even remotely qualified for, you scramble to throw together your application materials. You spend way, waaaaaayyy too much time at war with the technology that's supposed to make this whole process "easier," waiting for what seems an eternity while an ms word .doc converts to a .pdf. You look at the clock, which seems to have sped up of its own free will, and it's nearing midnight. You have work tomorrow, you can't stay up all night. WHY IN THE HELL DID I PROCRASTINATE?!? WHY DID I NOT LISTEN TO MY RATIONAL BRAIN? You berate yourself as you hurriedly and somewhat randomly assign bid preferences to the disappointingly low number of applications you were actually able to turn in. Exhausted, you hit the submit button at last. Never mind that you won't remember which applications you submitted come morning, you completed it, and that's all that matters. You drift off into a semi-self-satisfied slumber. 

The next morning you don't remember which places you applied to, you don't remember if you changed the firm name in each cover letter, and you don't remember if you even liked the places you applied, but it doesn't matter. Now the waiting game begins. Feeling infinitely accomplished and adult, you permit yourself to enjoy the next few weeks as you wait. Then that fateful day comes - the employers have offered interviews. You got a decent number, given the not huge number of applications you submitted, and you're ok with that. Next up is the actual interviews. No matter how many times I go to interviews, I can never, never properly prepare for them. So, given that I'm writing this, your imaginary self is woefully unprepared. You march in to your first interview all suited up and raring to go (you had a TON of coffee to make sure you were awake and functional and perky). It is immediately awkward. You suddenly and unpleasantly understand your mistake in failing to adequately research firms. Within the first five minutes you know they're not going to offer you a job or even a second interview, and you're frankly grateful because dear god are these not your kind of people. As you FINALLY leave the room that seems all too small, the painful truth hits you - those were the longest 20 minutes of your ENTIRE life, and they cut it off ten minutes short. The rest are less stilted and infinitely more bearable, but ultimately nothing comes of them. You have now officially entered your final year of law school with no job prospects whatsoever. To be fair, you are a little relieved that you didn't get further along, start counting on a job, only to have them not choose you in the last round. That would suck. You apply to a few more things, always keeping an eye out for anything that might crop up for which you're qualified. There are alarmingly few. In a moment of utter panic, you start considering utterly insane possibilities - à la moving to [name a foreign country] and figuring it out when you get there.

Then you take a break from job applications for a while (because, let's be honest, you were clearly being a crazy person). Problem take TOO long of a break. This creates yet another sequence of the stress of not seeing any jobs for which you're qualified creating more stress over not having a job which creates more stress over the fact that there really aren't that many which creates more stress over the fact that you don't have a job/job prospect...etc. You do the desperate, but necessary, thing. You ask your parents for help. They know people, after all, you assume. By magic (or is still debating this), they obtain two "meetings" for you. You go to the first one. Seems to go alright. Just chatting over lunch with a family friend. But you make it awkward when you bring up the fact that you don't know where you want to work and your indecision has lead you to the utterly insane choice to take two bar exams (you might be a teensy bit masochistic). I mean, sure, you didn't say it like that, but both of you know why you're having that meeting - you need help finding a job. All in all, both meetings are pretty positive, but neither is a job offer. So there's that. 

You near-obsessively track the career center's job postings. There are so many tantalizing opportunities for zero pay. The Constitutional Court of South Africa? I mean, really, how cool would that be? But, alas, you have no money. Earning negative money is not an option post-school time. Reality is a harsh mistress. After cycling through a shame spiral about the meager numbers of applications you've actually completed, you start applying to things. None of it is your dream job, but whose first job is? Against your nature, you become almost irritatingly practical. You start adjusting your spending habits. You start working out. You even start trying to look like an adult every day. Still nothing. This is when you go into another stress spiral. Horrible interviews haunt your dreams like wraiths just waiting to take you to the underworld of endless unemployment. In spite of this, or maybe because of this, you keep applying to things because SOMETHING has to work. It HAS to. All the while, in the back of your mind is that one person who graduated two years ahead of you, who passed the bar...and now works in the customer service industry for slightly higher than minimum wage, using all zero percent of their insanely expensive law school education. That, friends, becomes your nightmare. That is the one reason you press on, you keep applying to all of the jobs that you don't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting. 

So, friends, that's what I've been doing...I'll let you know if my strategy of throwing everything at the wall and hoping something sticks works out. For now, I bid you adieu, I'm off to immerse myself in the intricacies of agency rulemaking procedures and how they relate to obsolete issues about railroad boxcars.

I do solemnly swear that I will, if it kills me, write several more times this quarter. So, until next time.