Nick's Journal
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2009-03-31 22:57:43 (UTC)

The Sky is Falling

my good friend in law school is a smart dude. he's #1 in
our class, hasn't gotten anything lower than an A- and, of
course, was first in line for the summer associate position
at the most prestigious downtown law firm in our city. the
summer went by without a hitch, and, as is the case with
summer associates, he got the job afterwards.

he and i spoke a good deal as we sit next to each other in
UCC, about the dismal job market. me bitching to him how
completely horrendous it was trying to find a job (or anyone
hiring, period). my friend is a really, really modest guy,
he never flaunted his status as #1 (i still think most
people think that someone else is #1 mainly because that
OTHER person, spread the rumor that he was, law students are
retarded), he never flaunted his job, but as we talked he
joked about how happy he was to have the security of his job
in these times.

a bit of background for non-law school folks. in your
second year you do the OCI (on-campus interviews) program.
normally only the top 10% even try. and, as i was a good
testament to it, about 1% of that 10% actually get jobs. i
just don't interview well i guess.
but anyhow, those who do get OCI jobs are "made" to use a
term from the mob. all they have to worry about is not
making a complete ass out of themselves during their summer
associate position, and if they pass that test, they are
given an offer at the end of the summer.

so it came as the most shocking news as of late (in a
barrage of just disheartening news as is) when my friend sat
down next to me in UCC today with an ashen face and said,
"i don't think i'm going to have a job when i graduate."
those words, coming from someone who is top of the class in
law school is enough to make anyone just a bit sick about
the state of affairs.

he told me how the firm had at first tried to get people to
take "voluntary" leaves of absence (no pay, mind you) until
2011!!!! a full year. as noone (in their right mind)
volunteered, they said that they were just going to go about
a lottery system and rescind offers.

it really is a classic prisoner's dilemma. if just some
people would take voluntary leave noone would get fired, but
if noone takes it...well then.
my friend has two little kids and a mortgage (he's a bit
older and had it before he started law school). he and his
wife were making ends meet through law school, but (much
like me and juli) were starting to get to the "critical
mass" point where the influx of additional income wasn't
just welcome but a necessity.

so there he sat in UCC. not certain what would happen. and
there i sat in UCC thinking about how the sky was falling.

really, the economic recession is something else. juli and
i have been cutting back, which is remarkable. not because
we are consumption whores, but becaue i seriously thought
that we didn't have much to cut back on.
i mean i can understand a middle class family maybe cutting
out soccer practice, or that flat screen tv purchase; but in
our case it has simply boiled down to one thing:
eating less.
and we're not exactly packing in the calories anyhow. no
more soda or fancy coffee, just water. our food really just
consists of pouring hot water on it and waiting 2 mins.

but these are sacrifices that aren't hard to make once you
get used to them. it's just that, when you go through the
ordeal of law school, you come out the other side hoping
that your degree would open up new doors for you. but
really, that isn't happening AT ALL. rather...they seem to
be slamming shut everywhere you seem to turn.

hopefully things will get better soon. i am optimistic and
hope that eventually the credit market will loosen and
people will begin spending again. until's more
ramen noodles for us.