Why you can’t get a decent job anywhere

Without any forethought I stumbled into a situation where I had the opportunity to understand why it’s so damn hard to get a decent job, even if you’re well educated and ambitious.

A couple of months ago I came across an ad for an organization looking for volunteers to join its board of directors. Given that I was thinking that I might one day like to be involved in an organization of that nature I decided to apply and landed the position.

Eventually I went to a meeting for the board of directors and was very surprised at how accomplished all the other directors were. I was also surprised that I was by far the youngest one there, probably by three decades.

Then, as if luck were raining horseshoes from the sky, I learned that the organization was looking for a new Executive Director. I thought about applying myself, but then I learned that the pay was very low (roughly 24K per year, part time) and thought, “fuck that”. Plus, I realized I was probably under qualified. So, I thought, “what a great opportunity to see it from the other side”, and volunteered to be on the hiring committee. Given my legal background and willingness to work for free, they were delighted to have me.

I tried to tell them that they wouldn’t find anyone good at that rate, because I honestly believed that to be true. They replied that anyone who was willing to give up the opportunity based on financial considerations didn’t care enough about the cause and wouldn’t be the right fit. I reflected on how classist this was. I was particularly perturbed given that the remark came from fellow board members who were all retired after fantastically successful careers, who all ostensibly draw comfortable pensions, and none of whom seemed to have any insight into what it might be like to have financial concerns at all. It was annoying and unfair but I didn’t want to tarnish the relationship so I didn’t push the issue and continued on as a working member of the team. I rationalized that once the applications started pouring in they would see things from a different perspective, my perspective.

Boy was I wrong.

Most of the applications we got were from amazingly accomplished individuals, many of who had received recognition for their efforts, all of whom were, shockingly, willing to work for under $25K per year. They boasted about how they would love to show their dedication to a cause through this opportunity, how they could never picture themselves retiring ever. And, not surprisingly, they were all baby boomers. Any younger person’s offerings were massively eclipsed by the experience and low balling wage requirements of the baby boomers, and so they never stood a chance. It’s not that they weren’t fantastic, it’s just that they weren’t baby boomers.

It was (and still is) a bit depressing.

If you can’t find a job, consider that the cause may be generational.

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Old economy Steve: Life as it was for your parents

Those lucky bastards had no idea…and they still don’t

 

vgI8lTD

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When your law degree just doesn’t fit

** Warning – contains the F-word numerous times**

My law degree is like a sweater that I bought at a store thinking it would make me look hot, feel great and win friends. I kind of knew when I was buying the sweater that it didn’t really suit me, but I thought, “fuck it, look at all those people in the same sweaters and how well they do. Hell, for that kind of return I’ll make myself fit.” And for a few years I tried really hard to fit into the sweater. But it just doesn’t fit. It’s really infuriating because I’m still paying for the damn thing and I’ve recently come to learn that I have to hide the fact that I own it in order to have a chance of shopping at other stores. Plus, I see people i know walking around wearing their sweaters with big grins on their faces and being very happy with their purchases and I can’t help but think “Why can’t I be like them?” But, really, the problem is the same as it was all those years ago when I walked into the store and bought the sweater – the problem is that the damn thing just doesn’t fucking fit. So now, instead of trying to bargain my way into fitting into this sweater that is too tight for me, that has increasingly made me feel like I can’t breath, and even, at times, like I don’t want to breath, I’ve started to think “fuck it, fuck this sweater.” And I’ve started to think about how great it would be to finally be rid of the sweater once and for all and forget that I ever owned it. If only I could forget, that damn debt won’t let me, it’ll stay with me long after the sweater will. And of course, the sweater has a strict non-transferrable policy so it’s not like I can do anything at all to address the bad debt that is the monkey on my back. Of course I find this to be terribly unfair and unethical, largely because I have a brain and am able to think critically instead of simply regurgitating the mantras that serve to rationalize this injustice. So, I have to admit that I’ve also wondered at times what would happen if I just didn’t pay my student loans. I mean we don’t have debtors prison, so what would happen – really? Is paying my debt really a moral imperative? The worst that would happen is that I’d get a bad credit rating and some pompous baby boomers would wave their bony fingers at me in disapproval. But who cares about them, right? Fuck them, fuck the sweater AND fuck the debt. Of course I can’t fuck the debt, even though I don’t know why, but I can fuck the sweater. And now, instead of envying those who have the sweater and who fit nicely into it I can just happily accept that the sweater isn’t for me and move on.

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Leaving the law

Things are looking up as I’ve sought out of the services of a qualified therapist who is helping me figure out how to get myself out of this hell hole I’ve dug myself into, namely being a lawyer. I’ve also decided to hire a career coach to help me write my resume and what not so that I don’t waste any more time.

My therapist is really working on me to try to figure out what I truly want to do, but I don’t know what that is. Or, I don’t think that what I want is particularly relevant at this point, what I need is a job. In any case I feel that the question is a somewhat privileged and self-indulgent one, so I’m not too interested in answering it. I’ve told her that but she doesn’t seem to care too much about those considerations.

Really what I want to do is write a book, creative non-fiction, about my experiences in the legal field, moving to a smaller town, all of it. I think it would be a great book. Before I started this blog I was doing quite a bit of creative writing, which sort of fell to the wayside when I got more into journalistic style writing with this blog. I recently came across a short fiction story I wrote and was very surprised at how well it was written. I’ve had a lot of amateur writer friends over the years and I’ve had to read a lot of bad stuff, and some good stuff too, so I think I have some idea of what constitutes good writing. All of that is to say that since I found that short story I’ve been thinking “If I could write that, then I can write this”.

To be honest, I’ve already started writing the book and wrote 40 single spaced pages in about 4 days. It was surprisingly easy. I’ve tried to write the story before but I kept getting caught up in the details. You know, it was as though I was standing on the edge of this large forest, and on the other side of the forest is bliss, and every time I even took a step into the forest I got overwhelmed by the trees and whatnot and decided I had to make a detailed route plan to get through to the other side. Then I spent all my time plotting the route and none of the time actually walking through the forest. So, this time I decided to do it differently and I just started writing. I’m about a quarter of the way into the forest now, I can’t see the field behind me, which is further than I’ve ever come and less uncomfortable than I imagined it would be.

Obviously I’ll go back and edit the shit out of it. I’m not Jack Kerouac, bless him. Still, even if it’s not superbly written, it might not matter since the content itself is pretty juicy. I think I read that somewhere: you don’t need to be a spectacular writer if the content is spectacular. I wonder if that’s true.

Maybe you think it’s funny that I’d like to write a book since a) it seems somewhat unrealistic; and b) maybe you think my writing here has been a bit shitty. With regards to a, my therapist says that all writers were told at some point that they couldn’t do it, still they persevered on. She thinks I should try to write the book, she has great faith in me. I guess that’s why she gets paid the big bucks. With regards to b, in my defense this blog is more verbal diarrhea and I spend almost no time editing anything. Plus, maybe the writing isn’t that bad.

I will update soon. It could be that I just find a job and the book idea falls to the way side again, and I skip back to the familiar field behind me.

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Why law school is a bad investment

This short note talks about one reason why law school is a bad investment, I’m quite certain that there are several reasons, but I don’t have time to write them all in one article.

I’ve often heard it said that a law degree is like a mortgage for residential property – neither may be good short term investments but both are good as long term investments. This argument is, imo, total bullshit.

Here’s why.

No one buys a house based on what it’s worth in 25 years; people buy a house based on what it’s worth now. The reason for this is obvious: homebuyers want to realize a return on their investment in the present, not just at some obscure possible point in the future. It would be stupid to buy a house now based on what it’s estimated value would be in 25 years from now, for a couple of obvious reasons (there are probably more reasons that are less obvious). One reason is that you’d be realizing a loss for the entire time that you waited for your asset to appreciate to the point where it would have to be in order to make it a good investment in real time because that money could be otherwise invested in ways that would provide immediate returns and offer the possibility of further investment. Moreover, if you buy a house now based on what it’s worth in 25 years, you’re always taking a gamble because there’s always a chance that the market might not do what it’s supposed to do or there could be some external factor that you didn’t account for that could throw the whole thing off.

The same applies to law degrees (or any degrees for that matter).

The truth is you should only buy a degree based on what it’s worth now, not based on what it’s expected to be worth, if certain conditions are present, at some point in the future.

We’ve all been sold a fancy lie, about a product that is now hugely overvalued in our society. In truth, in reality, university educations are worth little more than the paper the degree is printed on. This I do verily believe to be true.

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Mystery as to why ~50% of women leave the legal profession SOLVED!

I thought I figured out a way to get benefits so I could expand my small family but it turns out that my genius plan had a fatal flaw and I’m just as fucked as ever. I talked with my accountant today and they were like “well, you could opt in to the EI program” and I was like “well, I did the math and I’d have to have at least 6 more kids for that to make sense” and they expressed agreement that the EI program for self employed maternity leave does indeed suck balls.

I called the CBIA and they literally laughed when I asked if they offer pregnancy or maternity leave as part of their short-term disability insurance. They said such a program would surely loose money, but I’ve been poking around on the internet and have found American companies such as this one, and this one, that offer private short term disability insurance for planned pregnancies. It’s a real head scratcher trying to figure out why the proudly not for profit CBIA hasn’t been able to figure out how to offer maternity or parental benefits while for profit private insurance companies in the US offer those same products.

Which leads to the final depressing observation: the law is a hopelessly sexist profession. I’ve overcome so many obstacles in my life, but ultimately it seems that my gender is the one “obstacle” that I cannot overcome.

Every day I comb the wanted ads and look for a job, hoping to find something. Unfortunately I’ve been so focused on law for so long that it’s impossible to get any call backs from non legal jobs.

Please, please listen to me. If you are a young female thinking of going to law school, just don’t go. It’s not worth it. All that time and money you spend learning the law will be time away from cultivating a career where having a family won’t screw you four ways to Sunday. Seriously. It’s so shitty being a female lawyer. I can’t tell you how many young female lawyers I know who work for senior lawyers as contractors – they don’t have any benefits, they typically give between 50 to 60% of their pay to the senior lawyer for the privilege of taking shit. It’s the legal profession’s pink ghetto – and guess what buttercup, if you have a vagina there’s a good chance that’s where you’ll end up.

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My head is going to explode

Article #1 showing that all the jobs are shitty and people of a certain age are totally screwed.

Article #2 showing the Harper’s government plan to encourage Canadian corporations to import labour for shitty jobs.

Me and every other mildly+ intelligent Canadian under 35 who’s neither rich nor securely employed:

 

 

 

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