Wednesday, February 16, 2011
After my last post, I received scores of e mails and letters from unemployed and underemployed legal professionals. Many of them told me how hard it is getting through every day with massive student loans, not having a job and dealing with financial hardships.
Many recent law school graduates, attorneys and paralegals all sent me sad letters about their own own personal struggles and thoughts about suicide. Many of them are now grown adults in their late 20's and 30's, and are living back at home with mom and dad. A lot of them have defaulted on their student loans and are working minimum wage jobs or odd jobs just to make ends meet. They talk about how horrible it is to get ridiculed and made fun of at their jobs where they are "underemployed" and how they can't take it anymore.
One letter really hit me hard.
It was from a unemployed graduate of a third tier law school in the NYC area, who was now working in the operations warehouse of a major department store. She told me about how her parents were really strict with her growing up and they wanted her to be a successful professional. She got a scholarship to law school, but could not find any law job after she graduated in 2009. She struggled and found a warehouse job that pays her $13 bucks an hour. She constantly gets ridiculed from other co workers about having a JD, her parents, and told me that she has a gun and wanted to kill herself last night before her 27th birthday.
I told her to instant message me on AIM and we ended up talking for about 3 1/2 hours last night. She goes to bed every night crying because she hates being made fun of and being underemployed. She even tried to burn her law degree until her mother stopped her from lighting her degree on fire. She hates the uncomfortable feelings and depression she feels through cognitive dissonance of attending law school in the first place.
I usually don't get too personal on my blog, but I went on to tell this girl that everyone has problems but no matter how bad things can get in her life, that she should never ever pick up the gun she has at home. I told her about about my own personal struggles and how she has to maintain a positive attitude and things will get better. My father was diagnosed with cancer on my 18th birthday right after I graduated high school and I was taking care of him and tube feeding him for two years until he lost his battle with cancer. Right after my dad died, my mom had a major heart attack and it is very difficult. I am the only son, my mom is a widow and I have 4 sisters. You can imagine how much pressure I have weighing down on my shoulders.
I told this girl that I know it's not easy to deal with her 13 dollar an hour job, but things will get better for her. I worked whatever jobs I could to get through college, and I was able to find a decent paying job after college. I talked to her again on messenger just a little while ago, and she was doing much better and is remaining positive that things will get better.
When my father died of cancer, the social workers gave me some of the best advice ever...
They told me, "Whatever you lose in life, you get it back later on in life. Some years of your life are the questions and some years of your life are the answers."
If anyone reading this is feeling very sad, depressed or having suicidal thoughts, please call
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline
-The Poor Paralegal