how to keep going?

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so ambivalent
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:52 pm

how to keep going?

Postby so ambivalent » Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:02 pm

i guess this is going to be a little bit of a rant, but it's more of a question to people about coping with the endless rejection that is the post law-school job search and how to maintain a sense of purpose and motivation.
first, some context, i am probably median (maybe a little below) at a T15, 4.0 ivy undergrad, strong extracurriculars, worked in consulting before law school, worked fed gigs each summer. with my gpa, i am no stranger to rejection and adjusting my expectations downwards. but it's all starting to get really old.
like, in the last week i got rejected from a firm that i thought i had a pretty good callback at, got rejected from a non-profit where i applied to work as part of a fellowship (they would not be paying me, i would secure the fellowship on my own) and got rejected from working with a solo practitioner part time during the school year who said he loved my resume. so we have three very different levels of rejection here and, after applying to hundreds of jobs over the course of law school and experiencing rejections it should be nothing new, but, right now i'm finding it really hard to keep my head up and be optimistic.
i still go through the motions of applying to at least a job a day and networking like hell (yes, i applied to a job today and yesterday and sent networking emails both days and met with someone yesterday). everyone tells me my resume is great and i am likeable and doing everything right and, although i know that is no guarantee of success, if i am doing all the right things with no results then maybe the problem is that there are NEVER ANY results for anyone. but, i don't exist in a vacuum where i can ignore that some classmates are finding success (meaning it IS achievable) while i am earnest and hardworking and quietly floundering. i feel like i am 28 and still a child with no idea what i am going to do when i grow up. and i am terrified that my future will be earning $12 an hour as a contractor and that i got into the wrong thing.
this isn't to say i'm depressed (i see a therapist and take meds preventatively more than anything else) and i love every aspect of my life except my gpa and dismal employment prospects. but, plugging along only staves off these horrible thoughts of never-ending professional failure and meaninglessness so long. i'm not gong to give up because i never do, but i'd really like to know that there are some success stories out there and how the many people in the same place as me keep going without letting these feelings ruin all the other good things in their lives.
sorry, this got to be really long. i just felt like i/many some other tls-ers needed a coping thread that looks at the bigger picture.

User avatar
Indebted
Posts: 85
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2010 1:27 pm

Re: how to keep going?

Postby Indebted » Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:37 pm

Hang in there. It sounds like you have a lot going for you. Your hard work will pay off one of these days.

User avatar
outsidethescope
Posts: 164
Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 3:06 pm

Re: how to keep going?

Postby outsidethescope » Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:45 pm

I feel you.

Hutz_and_Goodman
Posts: 1413
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:42 am

Re: how to keep going?

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:52 pm

I've been there before (in a non-legal context). The most valuable skill for success is the ability to rebound from rejection, because it happens all the time and a lot of these types of decision are made based on "feeling" (i.e. the applicant is confident, likable, etc.) It sounds like you have a great CV and I bet you'll end up with something good for next summer, although the next few weeks/months will suck and be a slog.

Cyne
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:55 am

Re: how to keep going?

Postby Cyne » Thu Aug 22, 2013 1:15 pm

Hutz I think this guy is a 3L.

Hey amigo, I am a part of the Vale. For the psych issues let me suggest the following:

1. Find a hobby and do it. A lot. Get away from the LS crowd except for your good friends. For me this means weekly hikes, climbing, and canoeing. Looking at the sunset from a mountain keeps shit in perspective for me. Don't do it too much obviously, you still need to work.

2. Good that you are seeing a therapist and the like. Also, talk to family, friends, and loved ones on a daily basis. They are not part of this soul sucking BS we are stuck in generally. Furthermore, socialize with people in a position similar to your's, but who are not TOO negative. Anybody in this spot is negative, and you need somebody to commiserate with. But don't feed the monster with too much doom and gloom.

Substantively, and take this with a grain of salt as I am in the Vale and therefore have not yet succeeded:

1. Check out the folks in you uni's b-school. You have a background in consulting. Get into that recruiting cycle now. This means preparing for case interviews, which are way different from law interviews. You have prior WE which you could leverage. Reach out to your old bosses and see what advice they can give you. When I say prepare, you need to hit the ground hard on this one. Those things are tough, but law school actually does help a bit with them because of the Socratic method (LOL I never thought I'd say that one). Consulting firms run two hiring cycles, one in the fall and one in the spring.

2. Networking for firms/PI/whatever legal thing you can fit your experience to is the most important thing right now. Try to move the coffee meetings to more substantive meetings in the future. With whoever you meet, figure out their practice areas. Then sign up for events/listservs in that area. The events may give you a chance to bump into that person again. The listserv is so you can stay current on the issues. If you find a person you really click with, think about writing a paper in their area so you have an excuse to keep seeing them. Basically, become a professional stalker.

3. 1 a day is not enough. Up that. The random application process blows and is a black hole, but keep in mind, most people in this position could paper their apartment with rejection letters. Each bar association also has a jobs page, and entry level positions get posted there. Keep in mind, most movement is going to happen later in the year, basically from November on. NOT to say you should not be busting ass till then. Networking takes time. Even regarding the people who reject you, a couple of coffees with the folk who liked you and you meshed with might go a long ways. It ONLY TAKES ONE.

4. Try to find a firm to clerk for during the year. That is probably the optimal way to nail something.

5. Keep working and don't go crazy.

6. See 5.

7. Check out the posts made by radlulz, TTH, The Void, and a few others in the Vale. They have some really solid advice.

Best of luck, and stay sane mate.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273348
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: how to keep going?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 22, 2013 1:21 pm

I feel the same way bro. It's very hard and I have not been able to sleep or eat in a long time. I pretty much have your exact same story and stats btw (did fed jobs in summers too).

Anonymous User
Posts: 273348
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: how to keep going?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:39 pm

+1 on hanging on! you did well in an ivy league school and you went to a top law school.. that is a lot to be proud of. you'll make it!

so ambivalent
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:52 pm

Re: how to keep going?

Postby so ambivalent » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:59 pm

Cyne wrote:Hutz I think this guy is a 3L.

Hey amigo, I am a part of the Vale. For the psych issues let me suggest the following:

1. Find a hobby and do it. A lot. Get away from the LS crowd except for your good friends. For me this means weekly hikes, climbing, and canoeing. Looking at the sunset from a mountain keeps shit in perspective for me. Don't do it too much obviously, you still need to work.

2. Good that you are seeing a therapist and the like. Also, talk to family, friends, and loved ones on a daily basis. They are not part of this soul sucking BS we are stuck in generally. Furthermore, socialize with people in a position similar to your's, but who are not TOO negative. Anybody in this spot is negative, and you need somebody to commiserate with. But don't feed the monster with too much doom and gloom.

Substantively, and take this with a grain of salt as I am in the Vale and therefore have not yet succeeded:

1. Check out the folks in you uni's b-school. You have a background in consulting. Get into that recruiting cycle now. This means preparing for case interviews, which are way different from law interviews. You have prior WE which you could leverage. Reach out to your old bosses and see what advice they can give you. When I say prepare, you need to hit the ground hard on this one. Those things are tough, but law school actually does help a bit with them because of the Socratic method (LOL I never thought I'd say that one). Consulting firms run two hiring cycles, one in the fall and one in the spring.

2. Networking for firms/PI/whatever legal thing you can fit your experience to is the most important thing right now. Try to move the coffee meetings to more substantive meetings in the future. With whoever you meet, figure out their practice areas. Then sign up for events/listservs in that area. The events may give you a chance to bump into that person again. The listserv is so you can stay current on the issues. If you find a person you really click with, think about writing a paper in their area so you have an excuse to keep seeing them. Basically, become a professional stalker.

3. 1 a day is not enough. Up that. The random application process blows and is a black hole, but keep in mind, most people in this position could paper their apartment with rejection letters. Each bar association also has a jobs page, and entry level positions get posted there. Keep in mind, most movement is going to happen later in the year, basically from November on. NOT to say you should not be busting ass till then. Networking takes time. Even regarding the people who reject you, a couple of coffees with the folk who liked you and you meshed with might go a long ways. It ONLY TAKES ONE.

4. Try to find a firm to clerk for during the year. That is probably the optimal way to nail something.

5. Keep working and don't go crazy.

6. See 5.

7. Check out the posts made by radlulz, TTH, The Void, and a few others in the Vale. They have some really solid advice.

Best of luck, and stay sane mate.


thanks for the useful advice. luckily i have an awesome non-law SO and both their family and my family are super supportive. i definately try to stay healthy and keep shit in perspective by avoiding the law school crowd as much as possible these days, but it makes me sad to not feel like hanging out with people i once felt close to because they cannot understand my position (or the fact that i may have worked as hard as they did and have a lower gpa to show for it).
i'm a little limited in my job search because both my SO and i only want to stay in his city where the market is smaller and his family lives. thankfully our expenses are pretty low; i feel like we could honestly manage fine if we stayed in his hometown and i made $50,000 coming out (which is what i made in my pre-law school consulting gig, ironically enough). i also want to stay away from consulting since the reason i went to law school was to get the fuck out of that. perhaps i'm being too picky about where i work but relationships and quality of life are more important to me than money so i'm willing to sacrifice for that. i love my life and i really do feel fortunate every day but then the whole law school/job thing looms like some monster threatening to destroy it at every point and it's hard to maintain hope that things will work themselves out. i'm glad tls is more than a place for self-important speculation and we can support each other here.




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