In which I try to explain what I’m looking for in a job.
October 10, 2011 § Leave a comment
I graduated law school in 2010. My final year, there were practically no on-campus interview for 3Ls. But this wasn’t a problem for me because I didn’t go to law school to practice law.
I never wanted to practice law. This confuses some people. No, it confuses almost all the people. As I was trying to determine whether to pursue grad school or law school, I was told that law school would be the more versatile option. You can do anything except brain surgery, people would say. And I believed them.
So I went to law school in the hopes that I could maximize my employment opportunities. In the back of my mind, I even kept practicing law as an option. But as my training went on, I became more and more convinced that practicing law would be horrible. But I wasn’t too worried. I thought that, hey, law schools are graduating too many lawyers for the number of legal jobs out there, so if I go into this knowing I need to look into more nontraditional options then I am already a step ahead.
However, as we all know, the economy has tanked and it’s hard for any recent graduate to get a job anywhere, let alone in their field of training. But when someone hears that I’m looking for a job and that I’m a lawyer, well-meaning people automatically give me the names of lawyers they know or legal jobs they’ve heard of.
Then I have to explain all over again that I don’t want to practice law, which is almost always met with blank stares.
Without fail, after the snide comments about what the hell I was thinking going to law school in the first place, these well-meaning people start asking about what I actually want to do. This is problematic, because, if I’m honest, I’m not sure.
OK, that isn’t entirely true. I would really like to write. It’s the one thing that I think I’m good at and always keeps my attention. There are a couple of problems with this:
1. I think I might only be an OK writer. I don’t have a particularly large vocabulary, nor am I consistently witty or insightful. I often use the word “thingy.” So many people are so much better. Why would anyone hire me?
2. Even though I have a fair amount of writing experience, because I spent my time learning all about political science and the law I don’t know how to be a writer. I don’t know how to pitch story ideas to publications, or even find those publications to begin with.
So I’m left trying to wedge my law degree and passion for writing together. (Which actually isn’t that hard.) I usually tell people that I’d like to work in policy communication.
Pssst! I made up that term. But I think it has legs.
Organizations need people who can communicate policy positions. They need someone to weave narratives and convince people support different issues. And this is where I can be effective. I am good at conveying a message in writing. I can explain things and answer questions before those questions are asked. I can write passionately, much more so than I can verbally. And, as this paragraph demonstrates, I can beat a dead horse
But this is only an ideal situation. In this economy, I’m honestly just looking for something that will pay the bills, while still giving me time to work on the things I really care about. If I can make that work right now, I’ll consider myself very lucky.
Featured image credit: Rennett Stowe