Although Michael is good to have around as a reminder of how green the grass on the other side really is, in the interest of being Fair and Balanced, I now present the five stages of legal unemployment.
- Denial: “Well, I guess this is what unemployment feels like! It’s not so bad… And it won’t last long. Besides, after just taking the bar exam, I’d probably want to take a week off anyway, so I’ll just enjoy things for now. I’m going to organize all my files and catch up on every book I wanted to read the past three years but couldn’t find time for during law school! Yay!”
- Anger: “#@$%*&$@%! Did you hear about that chick who sued her college because she couldn’t find a job? Maybe I’ll try that. No, wait, I won’t sue GW… I’ll sue the Career Development Office!! Fracking useless good-for-nothing CDO! This is all your fault! And also the fault of all those stupid experienced lawyers who got laid off and are now rudely taking my jobs!!! You know what would be a fair way of deciding who gets a job? From now on, all hiring decisions should be made by a barehanded fight to the death, last lawyer standing gets hired! I WILL DEFEAT ALL CHALLENGERS.”
- Bargaining: “Dear law firm: Please hire me. I promise I am a decent lawyer. Also I have other useful skills, such as coffee-fetching, supply closet organizing, and shameless sycophancy. You don’t even have to pay me. All I ask in return is for a janitor’s closet to sleep in and full access to any food left over in the break room.”
- Depression: “Rejection letters? Meh. Rejection phone calls? Meh. No big deal… I already knew they were going to reject me. I think today I am going to sit here and count how many times these job listings contain the phrase ‘must have 52-weeks post-JD experience to be considered.’ While eating this entire box of Oreos. By myself.”
- Acceptance: You must not accept unemployment. Acceptance is the mind-killer. Acceptance is the little death that obliterates any chance of being a lawyer. The only acceptance permissible is the acceptance of a job offer. If no job offer is forthcoming, skip Stage 5 and start again at Step 1.
Currently, I am at Stage 3, for the fourth or fifth time. However, my theme song never fails to cheer me up. You can listen to it here.