Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sad Letter




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
1-800-273-8255

Be Well...

-The Poor Paralegal

19 comments:

  1. Tell Little Missy she has it easy being a woman working in a warehouse; she won't have to do the heavy lifting. That's reserved for the guys.

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  2. @MarkyMark: STFU! Seriously that sexism bullshit is fucking old dude.

    I worked in Trader Joes for three months when my UE benefits were close to ending and I could not find any temp work. I lifted heavy boxes, climbed ladders (sometimes over five feet high), pushed carts, and you name it. My first month, I was covered in bruises and lived on Tylenol. Thanks to the likes of Betty Ferdinand and Gloria Steinman, that "I'm a girl, I can't lift" shit no longer flies in the workplace. All of the women I worked with performed the same tasks as the guys.

    On another note, I'm glad this woman is doing much better PP. I know how horrible it is to have to really lower your expectations for pay. I had to lie about my credentials when I accepted my position at TJ's, and also ended some friendships too when I accepted that position. I also took a hefty pay cut recently when I accepted my new full time position, but things do get better. You just have to hang in there and have faith in yourself and keep forging ahead.

    The market in NYC is starting to open again and hopefully this woman can find a good paying job as an attorney, or in Lit Support. I'll keep my fingers crossed for her.

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  3. When I was 15 years old I worked on a cucumber farm one summer.

    I was a suburban "City Kid" and the local girls were all experienced "Farm Girls".

    They could outwork and outlift me, and withstand many more hours in the hot sun etc.

    And they were in excellent shape!

    Years later, I heard, that a couple of them went into the Military later on.

    And I'm sorry for this 27 year old.

    I went through all the ridicule as well, and later learned to just hide the fact that I even went to College, l;et alone Law School.

    All it does is create resentment in the workforce. And people in a blue-collar workforce are OK on an individual level, but they can resent anyone with more education, and can be brutal if they decide to gang up on you about it.

    So her suffering is very, very real.

    I've been there.

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  4. MarkyMark you are an asshole, but a loveable one!

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  5. Guys,

    Why is it, when I go to my local supermarket, that I ALWAYS see the guys getting the carts, even in the worst weather? Why is it I see NO WOMEN WHATSOEVER stocking the shelves? Why is it, when I see any store stocking its shelves, I only see MEN doing it? Why is it when I worked for Roadway Package System (now FedEx Ground), that none of the women did any lifting? Sorry, but your comments do NOT agree with my observations and experiences...

    MarkyMark

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  6. @MarkyMark: PP posted about this young woman's struggle in paying off debt incurred from law school. This woman cannot find work in the field she studied for, and she mostly likely gave up three-four years of her life studying law (which by the way is no friggen’ joy to do). The girl is depressed about her situation. She has six figure debt and only gets paid $13 an hour. If she defaults on her loans, she loses her license to practice law, and that is a very big deal.

    But of course a dumb bag of boomer douche such as yourself overlooks PP's post about a young woman's struggle, and turns it into an argument about men vs. women who work in warehouses and supermarkets.

    I said this before, and I will say it again: STFU! You know very little about what you write. I know many women who work in Walmart, Target, Shoprite, Trader Joe's, and Best Buy who lift really heavy shit and I've done it myself when I briefly worked in retail. I also know women who are healthcare techs and nurses that lift patients who weigh over 50 lbs. It's the 21st Century, and in North America women have careers, manage homes, and raise families. Get over it.

    Do the rest of us a little favor and stay off the legal blogs if you cannot contribute to the discussion intelligently. Just go back to posting about how women fear being fat, and their fears in not being able to attract a dick-wipe like you.

    Ass-hole.

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  7. TMF,

    Good, I'm glad you had to lift and do everything the guys did. I think that's great! You and your Feminazi sisters are always crowing about how you all can do anything a man can do, only better, right? Now, you get to put your money where your mouth is.

    Also, if you want the same RIGHTS as the guys; if you want to do all the same things guys do; then, you have to accept the RESPONSIBILITIES that go along with those rights or benies. That is to say that, if you wish to have all the good jobs and/or benefits I supposedly get as a man, then you you need to accept the bad things too. You chicks want all the good jobs for yourselves, but all the bad, low paying jobs can go to us men, right? Sorry, but you cannot claim equality on one hand, then demand special treatment on the other; you cannot have your cake and eat it too. That crap doesn't flush anymore!

    Why is it, if I'm a guy doing the same thing in an office a woman is, that I have to lift and stow any boxes that come in? Why don't the girls get to do it too? Why should I do more work for the same pay? Conversely, why should they get away with doing less work for the same pay I get? Would you care to answer those questions for me? And don't tell me such sexism and discrimination against men doesn't exist; I've seen and experienced ALL of it.

    You know that 80% of the job losses in the recession have been borne by men, don't you? It's gotten so bad that, instead of being called a recession, it's been called 'The Great Mancession'. Don't tell me it's because only men's jobs are affected, either! No, it's because men, particularly white men like myself, are the only demographic group against whom it's acceptable to discriminate. WE are the new second class citizens!

    Also, you have another one of your Feminazi heroines (ooh, that's sexist, but I can't help it, hehehe), Hanna Rosin, crowing about how women are on the ascendancy; why, according to her, it's The End of Men! You can go here to watch her gleefully say that women are on top now. This if from one of your OWN, TMF!

    Sorry, but you and your Feminazi sisters wanted equality; you claimed that, by us men treating you women with care (i.e. chivalry) that we were oppressing you. Well, guess what? We're no longer oppressing you; we're no longer giving you special treatment. Now that you're getting to experience REAL equality, you decide you don't like it? You know what I say to that? Welcome to MY world, Sweetheart! Being a man isn't so much fun now, is it? Being a man and doing EVERYTHING that goes along with that sucks, huh? Guess you never heard the old cliché about being careful what you ask for, because you just might get it? You can do anything us guys can do, and like it-bruises, pulled muscles, and all...

    MarkyMark

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  8. TMF,

    I know that PP posted the story because the young woman is in a jam. I am a bit of a wise ass, so I posted my remark.

    Seriously though, as I've stated elsewhere, I don't see how anyone could miss the fact that the legal field, particularly WRT attorneys, is terribly overcrowded; it has been so for years, if not decades. To a former 0L like myself, I fail to see how anyone could MISS what is obvious. I went through my story in a previous post, so I won't restate it here. There were plenty of resources for me to make an informed decisions YEARS before the scam blogs came out.

    I, like many people, have student loans. That said, I got a degree dealing with technology, so I could easily get a job whenever I needed or wanted to; I got a practical skill. I did that, because I've been expecting the present economic climate since the 1990s; for a long time, I've expected things to get bad, so I predicated my decisions and actions on that fact.

    MarkyMark

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  9. @MarkyMark (not from the "Funky Bunch"): you are waaaayyyyy out of line here and I do not have the time to address every little point you attempted to raise in your last post, simply out of respect to PP and the woman he posted about (I am also at work right now on lunch break).

    However...you brought this one on yourself dude. Didn't you state in her first post:

    "Tell Little Missy she has it easy being a woman working in a warehouse; she won't have to do the heavy lifting. That's reserved for the guys."

    Bullshit. You got owned dude. I stated that is not true, and there are no differences in some workplaces between female and male employees, and so did JD Painter Guy. Some places women work just as hard as the guys. Maybe where you shop at, I don't know, "Sexist Boomers R' Us" women don't stock shelves, but where I shop, I see it plenty.

    Don't start with the men vs. women bullshit either. Save that shit for your own crap blog. Not my fault some smart lady dumped your lame ass, or someone decided to hire a woman with more intelligence, wit, and stronger work ethic over you.

    Now let's get back to routing for this young woman and others like her (yes...the guys too!) that they will find work and will be gainfully employed soon. This recession has wrecked havoc on many Americans and their families.

    Let’s also hope that the ABA starts feeling the heat too. That crap organization created this big, sloppy mess of having too many attorneys in accrediting any school with running water and a fax machine. My heart is also with these poor Y Gens who are in debt thanks to student loans. I've been there, and this madness has to stop.

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  10. PS: I was born in 1977. I wasn't even alive when all these damn boomers were burning their damn bras. And for the record, I have no regard for Gloria Steinman, and the rest of that stupid feminist movement. Those women hankered and latched onto issues that were not even in the best interests for most women (e.g. being a cocktail waitress at the Playboy Club!). Ask any woman and the issues they are most concerned about is affordable and safe daycare, education for their children, making adequate pay, and not getting harassed or groped.

    By the way…I think it sucks that some women use men like an ATM machine. But that is endemic in your generation, not mine. Thank God I am an X’er!

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  12. So, why does the ABA accredit any law school with a building and a fax machine? Why don't they LIMIT enrollment like the AMA does with med schools? You can say what you like about the AMA's quota on doctors, but med school grads don't have to worry about having a job upon graduation...

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  13. My mother had 5 children and two late term miscarries.

    If I understand it correctly, after a while, the internal parts of a woman, if she has carried a baby or two, start to shift from child bearing, as well as age. It all depends I guess.

    And gravity over the years, doesn't help. And lifting heavy objects, from what I have heard, can do harm if not done properly, or, if done at all.

    The inside of a woman is just not the same as the inside of a man. And maybe I'm old fashioned, but I still run over and say:

    "I'll get that" I'll get that"

    TMF- Born in 1977? You are just a Baby!

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  14. "She constantly gets ridiculed from other co workers about having a JD"

    How did they find out that she has a JD?

    And TMF? The "stupid feminist movement"? Which latched on to issues like being a Playboy Cocktail Waitress? Wow.

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  15. I feel bad for that girl working the warehouse job. It must be so hard on your self esteem when co workers who barely finished high school look at you and say "You went to law school, why are you working here? What's wrong with you?"

    My husband works a telemarketing job after he got laid off and there are 2 recent law school grads working with him at his boiler room job.

    Both graduates say there are no jobs for lawyers to be found anywhere in the Chicago area. DONT GO TO LAW SCHOOL!

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  16. @mark

    Men and Women are not equal in the area of physical strength. Okay? That isn't news to anyone here I don't think.

    If a woman sweetly asks you to lift something and she's pretty. What will you say Mark? You can't help yourself. You will say "of course." Why? Its biology. If you say "no" your reproductive chances will be hurt either by reputation or directly.

    Men very often WANT to show their physical strength and stamina to women because it makes them more attractive mates. They will bend over backwards for females they are sexual attracted to even if there is no chance that person will realistically consummate that relationship. I have observed this in my own workplace very often with male co-workers of mine. They don't even realize they are doing it. They think they are being friendly when they are actually engaging in what I call "peacock" behavior.

    Clearly you are frustrated with women Mark because all the effort you expend has not landed you a satisfying reproductive opportunity. lol. You are not the only one.

    That isn't your fault. We are all conditioned by society to act a certain way due to the expectations placed on our gender roles. Women are not "supposed" to lift heavy things. Men are SUPPOSED to do the "dirty" work. I think you are correct that its not "fair" that men do the brunt of those jobs. But riddle me this Mark: why is it that women don't get those jobs or even apply to them?

    I will tell you. 1) most women don't want to work in a hostile misogynistic shithole with "Sal" who talks to her like she is a moron. 2) The foremen and managers believe that women would not be able to handle that kind of work (or would be distracting). They simply don't hire them.

    Perhaps you should give some though to "why" you believe you are being treated as a "second class" citizen. I think that white men often don't acknowledge their hidden privileges or more accurately are taught to ignore them. So perhaps some soul searching about your beliefs regarding gender might be appropriate.

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  17. Critick, TMF, et al,

    WWII bomber pilots had a saying: the closer to the target you are, the more flak you catch. Since I've caught so much flak for uttering a few words (mainly that the young woman in question wouldn't be stuck with the heavy lifting in the warehouse), I must have hit close to home! Have a good day now...

    MarkyMark

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  18. I am a 61 year old attorney who is mostly unemployed. I went to law school in the early 80s. I incurred student loans that took me 15 years to pay off and destroyed my credit. I worked damn hard for over 2 decades to see the profession I loved destroyed. I was in private practice with a partner.
    Our income has all but dried up. the economy has destroyed us. In the town where I practice, the hospital has closed, the state mental hospital has closed, the school for the developmentally delayed has closed, our largest manufacturer has closed, no new car dealership remains and even the pancake house has folded.

    My real estate investments that were supposed to fund my retirement are now money pits. My health insurance is over 1100 a month alone. I am sinking fast and will close my office this summer as the overhead is more than the income.

    If there were a job around here that would take me, I'd grab it. No one wants an older underemployed lawyer with a 20 year resume gap.

    By the way, my undergrad degree was in education, but I am not certified and there are no teaching jobs around here. They are laying off teachers.

    I wish I had invested the time, strength, money and dreams in something, anything else.

    I am of the generation that fought for equal rights. You have no idea what it was like being one of the few female lawyers around and having male lawyers not believe you were a member of the bar and trying to force you to sit outside the bar. How would you like your son's elementary school principal telling you that you were taking up the law school space that should be for a man? I later learned that he had flunked out of law school years before.

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  19. MarkyMark said...
    Critick, TMF, et al,

    WWII bomber pilots had a saying: the closer to the target you are, the more flak you catch. Since I've caught so much flak for uttering a few words (mainly that the young woman in question wouldn't be stuck with the heavy lifting in the warehouse), I must have hit close to home!
    _________________________________________________

    You must tell yourself this a lot . . .

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