I am really into cars, repairing automobiles and if worse comes to worse I will become a mechanic with my own auto body shop. A good friend of mine was recently looking for a new car and so she decided to bring me along with her to go car shopping for a new sedan. She looked into Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Ford, etc. and we went to several different dealerships. We went to the Cerritos auto square and Tustin auto mall, looking at different cars.
We ended up at one foreign automotive dealership to look at Honda Accords and Toyota Camrys. Most of them were used and only had low mileage, so it would be a much better buy for her other than buying a new car and losing money on depreciation.
The car salesman was Sam* the sales executive.
He began to talk to me about selling cars and how he was the #1 sales guy two years ago, but due to the bad economy his sales have fallen drastically. He used to pull down 7-8 grand a month but now he only makes about 3-4 thousand dollars a month.
He started asking me about my background and I told him I was in sales, too. I told him I was also a paralegal, notary and tax preparer. He said, "It is very hard to make it as a Paralegal these days" and I told him that there are no jobs to be found anywhere.
We talked about how horrible it was and I said "I don't get these news articles about how great it is to be a paralegal and how there are all these jobs. There are no jobs anywhere!" and he said "Yes, I know. All of my friends from law school are working as paralegals and legal assistants!"
I took a step back.
I was in shock. He told me he graduated from a fourth tier law school in San Diego and struggled to find any legal job after finishing in 2007. He has done internships and worked in different firms, but no one offered him a job. He was offered a shit law job paying $15.75 an hour, but he was making more than that selling used cars. He said he doesn't know if he wants to stay in the car business forever, but when you have $128,000 in student loans, you need to find a way to pay back your loans.
He said the worst part of it all is that once you leave the legal profession, it is extremely difficult to get back into the law and find a job as an attorney. He doesn't like to tell a lot of people that he has a law degree, but he knew since I was a poor paralegal that I would understand his dire financial situation.
I told him about how I lost a job offer that paid over 70k a year because they thought I was going to be a "flight risk", but I am still trying hard to get a full time job with benefits.
This is the biggest misconception that many people don't understand.
He said, " A law degree is not a Super MBA, you can't do anything with a law degree. If you apply to banks, financial firms, consulting firms, marketing and management positions, they won't even look at you. I have been turned down for those types of jobs with my JD, and this is why I'm still selling cars."
He was really impressed with knowledge of cars and automotive repair, and said he would ask the dealership if they had any openings. I wouldn't mind working in service or sales, but man ....it must fucking suck to have 128k in student loans and find whatever job you can to pay them back.
I told him that I doubt I will ever find any legal position, and said that about half of his graduating class in 2007 is working in non legal positions. At this point, most of them are so desperate, they are willing to do anything just to pay the bills.
We ended up leaving without buying a car, but will do some more shopping next weekend. I was really surprised to have such an insightful conversation with a car salesman. It makes me wonder about how many other JD's are out there selling used cars?!
That's all for now, and everyone have a happy Easter!
-The Poor Paralegal
*Name has been changed to protect privacy