Monday, June 1, 2015

JD disadvantage: make less than a janitor or a switchboard operator

The switchboard operator in a Massachusetts courthouse makes more than the public defender; the janitor, more than the assistant district attorney:

(See p 22.)

Of course, only two of those people have to pay annual fees to maintain a license to practice, and they happen to be the same two who had to complete a four-year bachelor's degree and a three-year law degree at a cost of several hundred thousand dollars, typically financed with student loans bearing high interest.


  1. The reason people are still going to law school is because they are told, both explicitly and implicitly, that they do not have other options.

    Posts like this not only demonstrate how patently absurd it is to attend law school, but also provide guidance on what kids should be pursuing if they want a middle class life.

    I remember at my third tier crapper I told one of my professors "I wish I never went to law school," and he replied in such a devious and malicious fashion "oh yeah, like what," as if I had no options but law school.

    Mind you, I went to law school for close to nothing, I have a CS background, I graduated top of my class, and I had other options before law school (white collar and blue collar).

    I would have been better served dropping out of high school, doing two years at a community college and getting a high paying municipal job in a big city. I keep harping about this and people consistently maintain that these jobs are reserved for the connected. This is true sometimes, but I know tons, and I mean tons, of unconnected people with mediocre backgrounds who were able to get jobs like a switchboard operator, janitor, sanitation worker, etc.

    The key is starting young and swallowing your pride, and avoiding the advice of the previous generation that came up when we had a robust private sector. If you can graduate college with a B average and get a 155 on the LSAT, then you can get one of these jobs, provided you do not delay and do not make yourself overqualified.

    Law school is the most egregious of higher education scams because it is so completely useless, expensive, and financially imprudent; but make no mistake, unless you go to super elite schools and get into high end finance or high end medicine, school is just no longer worth it, even in the STEM field. We are in a globalized economy and private sector salaries are based on a global wage scale, which is heavily impacted by impoverished people living in extraordinarily corrupt countries. This is reality.

    If you want a middle class life, you need political protection. The only place you will get that is in big cities that can't go bankrupt: Chicago, LA, Boston, NYC, etc., doing jobs that inspire sympathy. No one feels bad for an ADA or public defender or any white collar professional for that matter. People will support you if you become a switchboard operator, municipal carpenter, garbage man, cop, fireman, and things of this nature.

    I'm not saying these jobs are easy or glamorous. I'm saying these are the only option if you aren't elite or from a rich family. Kids have a choice and they had better choose wisely.

    1. I agree with this emphatically. Part of what makes me most bitter about my experience (never went past the BA stage because of how broken the system is, but this blog is a personal interest of mine) is how I never had an honest discussion on what my prospects would be out of college.

      Everyone thought I'd have it made and that I wouldn't have to worry. As a naive teenager, I didn't know well enough to question their wisdom. These included teachers, relatives, and friends whose opinions I trusted in. I was very highly accomplished academically, and I couldn't understand that college could be a poor decision for me.

      Now I know better, but it's too late to take that decision back.

  2. The commenter above nailed this situation perfectly. Law school is the most egregious because of requires 7 years of "higher education" and it is supposed to be a "professional" school. At this point, most people understand that a college degree in history, political science or film studies essentially qualifies you to pump gas or punch movie tickets. Plus, the pigs at ABA-accredited toilets also prey on young idealism, i.e. "You can represent old lady tenants" or "You can make a difference in the lives of others, while having a meaningful and $$rewarding$$ career."

    If you do not attend a top 3-5 law school - and even in many cases, that is not a safe bet - then you are taking one hell of a foolish gamble. What is the point of incurring $120K+ in additional non-dischargeable debt, for the likelihood of (a) returning to your prior job or industry, (b) working in low-paid, non-law positions, or (c) representing broke-ass clients at legal aid or other garbage legal jobs?!?!

  3. Here is the skinny, everybody, and it is truly tragic. I feel bad for idealistic (young) people who actually want to stand up for others, only to have their dreams dashed and their futures mortgaged away.

    People want "others" to "defend liberty" and "pursue justice" for them. But no one wants to pay for it.

    Especially liberal LawProfs. "Yeah, you kids should go do that liberty and justice and diversity thing, for peanuts, assuming you can even get hired to so so, while we sit back and write law review articles on the same subjects for $200k and a minimal teaching load. Ignore the janitor and switchboard operator making more money, with less debt. If you're lucky and don't get fired, maybe you'll get PSLF to forgive your offensive student loan balance...hopefully before Congress eliminates it. Good luck, and let those fires of justice keep you warm."

  4. A few pages earlier in the quoted article, a public defender mentioned that he had spent five years moonlighting at a liquor store. And his position (at the courthouse, not at the liquor store) is highly coveted.

    That rather gives the lie to the propaganda about defending dolphins, rubbing elbows with celebrities, exercising global leadership, and following in the footsteps of two dozen US presidents.

    1. Here is the public defender's comment that O.G. references. It is on page 15:

      "I graduated from Boston College Law School in 2007. After six and a half years as a public defender, my salary is roughly $53,600 a year. I, like my colleagues, realize many people in Massachusetts are paid less than public defenders. Every single day I work with poor people who don’t have a dime to their name. And I know many people struggle, stay in the middle class, with less than my salary. But $53,600 a year is far too low of a salary to allow me to stay with CPCS. I have over $120,000 in student loans. I have a 2003 Toyota Corolla with 128,000 miles on it. I live in a modest apartment that I share, perhaps tellingly, with another public defender from my office just to make the ends meet. I had a part-time job for five years as a public defender selling wine and liquor at a wine shop until about a year ago when I really had to leave because my social life was nonexistent and I really needed extra time to work on my cases. I live no better than I did when I was a first-year law student at BC. In fact, I probably live less well. I have no savings. I can’t save anything for retirement, and there is no end in sight."

    2. Please note that Boston College is traditionally regarded as a "first-tier" law school (though by my classification it is definitely in the fourth tier). And the class of 2007 was far better off than the classes of the past four or five years.

      How many members of Indiana Tech's class of 2016 will do better than that guy?

    3. Well, after six years of practice, why doesn't he just lateral into one of those private practice jobs that pays like 100k?

  5. Lemmings don't realize the cutthroat nature of life after law school and the legal profession in general. The exploitation does not end after law school. Sure, the worst exploitation is by fat-cat law profe$$ors working 6 hours/week while making $250K/year. But once you get out of law school, the swindles continue. Take BarBri. Take a state's typical licensing fees. Look at what CLE costs.

    Another example: I was one of the 25,000 law school graduates without a job in 2009. I had an extensive engineering background and was hoping for a career in patent law. Unfortunately, there was a vast excess of STEM law school graduates during these years. Private law firms and government couldn't take us all in as agents or attorneys.

    So some enterprising characters jumped into the void! These people created patent search firms staffed by these graduates. I worked as a private searcher for a year after law school. Many of my fellow searchers made, on average, less than $10/hour. Bear in mind that these were people with EE, MechE, PhDs, etc, and with many years of experience. But we had nowhere else to go. Law firms weren't hiring. Our old jobs wouldn't take us back. The JDAdvantage jobs do not exist. The government wasn't hiring, and we couldn't hang a shingle. So it was work at Lowes, or work for one of these search firms.

    There was nothing illegal about what my former boss did. He merely exploited the law of supply and demand and is now a millionire many times over. But do you think it's equitable for someone to do what he did? Do you think it's fair for someone to be paid $10/hour for what should be $40-$50/hour?

    If you do, then maybe you have a "career" in law waiting for you. But you better be a real shark because this profession will eat you up and spit you out.

    1. People who aren't elite shouldn't be going to school for STEM or otherwise, unless their parents are rich or they don't care about being poor. (This applies to me as well).

      My best friend from high school just bought a 1.2 million dollar house in an exclusive neighborhood. He's a plumber.

      My other friends are 8 years away from six figure pensions.

      I make decent money, especially for a lawyer, but I doubt I will have a job in the next few years given the direction the country and profession are headed.

      We made bad decisions, the worst of which was going to law school. I do my best to try and warn people about doing the right thing. That's all we can do at this point. A lot of people are listening, others have to get burned to understand.

  6. If you have a child who wants to be an attorney, you are committing parental neglect if you fail to take them aside and explain that the supply and demand, as applied to the labor market, does not take into account how hard you worked, how long you worked, how much your credential costs, and how "prestigious" the degree is in society.

    I'm currently in Chicago trying to lateral and words cannot express how absolutely SATURATED the job market is. Not just for entry-level gigs, but for experienced levels to.

    There is a very large underclass of solo/small firms in Chicago. These shitholes pay their associates 25-45k. They count as "employed" for career services purposes, but after a year or so, these people are back on the job market competing for lateral positions, often to "better" entry-level positions. Many of the bigger ID firms and established mills pay their associates slightly more, but it's the same story.

    Between them and the weaker big law washouts, there's a huge glut of people seeking jobs with 1-5 years of experience, and salaries are falling. People with 3-5 years of experience are taking jobs making 60k. I sometimes wonder whether a side effect of IBR is that it encourages people with heavy debt to not care how much they're paid since the debt becomes basically a percentage tax, thus they're more amenable to appalling wages.

    If you think it's a struggle being in the 55-60% who land real legal employment, wait until the number of seats is reduced and the music stops two years later. As law schools continue to pump out excess class after excess class, it becomes harder and hard to land jobs at EVERY STAGE - not just entry-level.

    The real kick to the nuts is when you realize the above and apply for the non-lawyer positions that make equal or more money with better work conditions, people look at you like you're crazy.

  7. What a "profession," huh?

  8. "I sometimes wonder whether a side effect of IBR is that it encourages people with heavy debt to not care how much they're paid since the debt becomes basically a percentage tax, thus they're more amenable to appalling wages."

    Excellent, excellent point, and I have to believe it creates reduced expectations for everybody, especially the money-strapped public sector. There was probably going to be wage-depression anyway, but contrary to what the Cartel says, IBR helps the Cartel keep their over-priced make-work jobs in place, and doesn't really "help" the students. In my own case back in 2005, my first thought was "how do I earn enough to pay my debts," not "hey, the Cartel says don't worry, be happy."

    I don't have a problem with students engaging in IBR to survive, but IBR places the ultimate risk on the student and the taxpayer, not the academic perps who created the need for IBR in the first instance.

    1. The other problem with IBR is that it allows the government and the law school cartel to mask from the taxpayers the true default rate on these loans. If all the IBR loans were allowed to go into default (which they would without IBR), it would be impossible for people to ignore the massive disconnect between what these schools are charging for a degree, and what the degree is actually worth in the job market. Like duped, I don't begrudge a grad going on IBR in order to survive. But I think we would all be better off if we got rid of IBR and allowed the debt-strapped grad file for bankruptcy instead.

  9. Further, choose the two that may be eligible for increased overtime pay, and the two that are not.

  10. I know it's been said here before but....

    If someone loves some type of work so much that he or she will do it even though it doesn't pay well and may never pan out, that's fine ASSUMING THAT the person (1) knows in advance that it doesn't pay well and successes are rare, and (2) doesn't pay a fortune for the privilege of pursuing his or her dream. Those conditions are met for most kids who want to be actors or novelists or foreign correspondents. But just the opposite is the case for most kids who want to be lawyers.

  11. Very interesting; thanks for bringing this to attention. I also found the survey on page 26 mathematically interesting.

    Percentage of Committee for Public Counsel Services attorneys who:

    Work a second job: 37%

    Rely on family for $ support: 73%

    Now, I'm sure that in a "most likely", reasonable-world scenario, there is some overlap between the two groups.

    But the two numbers nicely mesh to 100. Maybe every CPCS attorney is either working a second job or relying on their parents just to make ends meet.

    Probably not. But maybe.

    1. But the two numbers nicely mesh to 100.

      Ouch. Stereotypical lawyer much? Use a calculator next time, don't be ashamed.

    2. What's a 'calculator'?

      You mean one of them new-fangled electronical abacuses?

      Just kidding..

      Anyway... They mesh at about 110. No. There can be no 110% since 100% of anything, or it's entirety, is the maximum. All this means, and this part was right, is that some both rely on family for support and work a second job - which is just.. 'lovely'.

      I mean.. who doesn't want to go through 7 years of higher education to rely on family for money and work 2 or more jobs? Just skip that and work two jobs to begin with. You'll have no debt, start after high school, probably work in a trade - and make more money.

      Still, the switchboard operator (is this the 1940's? I didn't know we still had switchboard operators in 2015..) vs. the ADA and the PD is so.. 'Winning!'.

      The post above has it right: You struggle as a professional, you get the Stink Eye. Conversely, start crying as a HS-educated cop who 'only' makes 130K after 5 years and everybody and his brother lends you a sympathetic ear.

      It's bullshit but it's absolutely true.

      The more uneducated and blue collar one is, the more sympathy - and as said, protection - they get. White collar? Screw off.. Fricken deadbeat..

    3. Switchboards were in use long past the 1940s. My mother worked as a switchboard operator for the telephone company when I was a child. Long-distance calls in that rural area still had to be patched in manually, and the operator had to fill out a card for billing purposes. (They don't call me Old Guy for nothing.)

      Today, though, the "switchboard operator" has far less skill. Not many people crank up the magneto in order to ask Mabel to put them through to BEechwood 4-5789. And Mabel doesn't have to worry about the combination of rings to use on a party line to get a particular subscriber.

      No, Mabel today is Kaitlin, an airhead with poor manners and worse grammar. But she is paid more than the public defender.

    4. If we turn these numbers into probabilities we have mathematics we can use to reason about them.
      Assuming that 'Works a second job' and 'Relies on family' are independent outcomes we start with
      P('Works second job') = 0.37
      P('Relies on family') = 0.73

      From there we can find
      P('Works second job' and 'Relies on family') = P('Works second job') * P('Relies on family') = 0.37 * 0.73 = 0.2701.
      Let's call it 27%
      Then we get
      P('Works second job' or 'Relies on family') = P('Works second job') + P('Relies on family') - P('Works second job' and 'Relies on family') = 0.37 + 0.73 - 0.2701 = 0.8299.
      Okay so about 83%
      P('Neither Works second job nor Relies on family) = 1 - P('Works second job' or 'Relies on family') = 1 - 0.8299 = 0.1701
      Let's say about 17%

      So in percentages we should expect 83% of Committee for Public Counsel Services attorneys to have to rely on family money or income from a second job in order to support themselves. As 7:06 noticed the percentages of lawyers getting some type of external assistance is 110%. By the pigeonhole principle some of the lawyers *must* be receiving support from a second job and family simultaneously. We should expect 27% of Committee for Public Counsel Services attorneys to have to get money from both a second job and their family to exist financially.

      This response by the way is only partially about mathematics. Mostly it is about why you should not go to law school.Remember EIGHTY-THREE PERCENT of lawyers within the organization we are talking about here cannot financially support themselves with the salary they draw from being a lawyer. Actually the number could very well be higher if you make the reasonable assumption that getting support from your family and working a second job are negatively correlated with each other. We also do not know about the solvency of the other 17%. For all we know they make ends meet because they have been reduced to eating ramen and living in a beat-up van down by the river.

      The math comes from and and

    5. "Ouch. .... Use a calculator next time..."

      Ouch indeed.

      I blame all the beer, to which I had been giving 110% of my attention.

  12. It is supply and demand. As long as huge groups of people are willing to go six figures in debt, go to garbage law schools, and enter a glutted profession, why should they get paid more than janitors? The government should charge these lawyers to learn practical skills. Law schools charge an arm and a leg, and they don't teach people how to practice law. A profession with these dismal job outcomes, should be called a is definitely not profit seeking, but they are not owed a certain salary.

    1. The janitor or cop doesn't make more money than the lawyer just because of supply an demand. There are many, many qualified (by the standards put forth by those jobs) applicants for municipal positions, but supply and demand isn't the governing principal of municipal employment. Politicians will protect you because your vote matters and the public has your back. The more degrees one gets, the less political protection one can receive. For this reason, if you cannot get elite credentials where the supply/demand curb works for your benefit, it's best to pursue these jobs as early as possible.

      Whenever I am at a family gathering, and someone with a municipal job complains about his or her six figure salary, everyone agrees that six figures isn't that much for where we live, and regardless, said jobs are difficult. I fucking dare any lawyer, let alone one making six figures, to levy a similar complaint.

  13. "supply and demand isn't the governing principal of municipal employment. Politicians will protect you because your vote matters and the public has your back"

    *See* Public choice theory.

  14. Be a Janitor instead of a Lawyer. What complete BS. That is like saying that you should just accept being a loser instead of trying to have a better life. You don't want to go to law-school don't. That does not mean you should settle for jobs that are considered the lowest of the low, boring, no control of your own life, low paying, zero prestige and no way out of your dilemma until you retire and get a small pension and SS. I would go the legal route any day of the week if that was my only alternative. At least as a lawyer you have options and opportunity . . . . despite the constant drumbeat here of its not being a worthwhile job. Even today, if we assume 50% of law graduates are getting legal jobs . . . that means they are to some degree winners. Some of them will undoubtedly go on to have highly successful careers. Others will go onto other decent jobs in say real estate or insurance. Where does the Janitor go?

    1. " Where does the Janitor go?"

      If the custodian has the chops to get through law school, I'm guessing they could get an associates degree and start a significantly better career than being an ADA or PD in a Massachusetts court room.

    2. It's this kind of attitude that has obliterated the future of thousands, if not millions.

      1) There are plenty of politically protected municipal jobs other than being a janitor. It isn't janitor or lawyer. It's janitor, plumber, electrician, cop, fireman, switchboard operator, steam fitter, other shit you may not have heard of or overlooked, vs being something educated (especially lawyer).

      2) These jobs aren't the lowest of the low. In fact, as the article points out, janitors can out earn attorneys. In NYC, the top maintenance worker at a school can earn double what the principal earns (250k plus). No one is advocating becoming a janitor in the private sector, although I know one person that has a six figure maintenance business, we are talking about political jobs.

      3) The stuff you said about lawyers applies to all sorts of municipal jobs. Some cops will work in Louisinia and make shit, some cops will work in a middle size city and make a middle class wage, some cops will work for the LAPD and be upper middle class (150k salaries and pensions), and some cops, very few, will work for Departments like Rockville and Nassau where they will become millionaires in so doing. I can do the same thing with janitors, sanitation workers, etc. there's some big difference though: you don't need eight years of time to try your luck in those professions, you aren't rendered overqualified for everything by virtue of having tried your luck in those professions, you don't need six figures of debt to just try and get into those professions, and if you manage to get a job in one of those professions, you probably won't be out of a job with no income at forty (like most lawyers will be).

      3) I am a lawyer; I have a CS degree; I paid off my student loan debt; and I have no other options. I am not alone. I apply to job after job and can't get anything, and mind you, I have experience, good grades, experience in a niche area of the law, and all that other attendant crap. I'm not alone. Most people I know are in this situation with a rare exception here and there. When I am let go from my mid-size firm, which is inevitable, I will have to go solo (which is the same as opening up my own business, except I wasted a lot of time if this is where I was going to wind up).

      4) My education has done very little for my life. My blue collar friends out earn me, they have total job security, and they have a retirement package I can only dream of. When I'm let go from my job, I'll be told to shut my mouth because I'm educated and a lawyer. They won't be let go from their jobs, but if they were, someone who gets votes would do something about it. Prestige doesn't fucking matter. It's thinking like that that got people in the current mess.

      5) Your statements are stale, and they rely on preconceived notions of what it meant to be a lawyer, not what it means to be so in present times. This isn't 1975, 1985, 1995, or even 2005. This is 2015. We are in a global economy. We have a huge labor surplus, which will only increase with time. If you want a job, you need protected municipal employment. If you want to be a business owner, pick something else and start earlier.

      P.S. I am one of the lucky ones, and I am not so lucky.

    3. I just totally agree with the OP. Human existence is ALL ABOUT what you do for a living.

      Those who clean up after other are LOSERS! They have bosses. What losers. They aren't paid well. What losers. If they don't mop the floor well, they'll be sued by their clients for professional negligence. They are in licensed profession and pay outrageous dues to the rent-seekers for the privilege of WORKING. Again, losers.

      They probably live in poverty and have babies who can't get Apple watches like Blew Ivey Can. Total. Losers.

      Janitors are probably stupid, too. We can deduce this from the general truth that if one has [PAID FOR] a credential certifying intelligence, one gets paid for that *status*.

      So, OP, you suck. You omitted some important considerations in your diatribe: happiness, goodness, honesty, integrity, post-tax, post-student-loans, post-post-modern return on investment.

      Get with it, homey. No self-respecting person is going to chisel "General Counsel of GM" on his grave stone. What might get chiseled there, if the shoe fits, is, "Loving Spouse and Parent and Friend." So yeah, get with "IT"; c.f. the basic purposes and joys of life.

    4. "Even today, if we assume 50% of law graduates are getting legal jobs . . . that means they are to some degree winners."

      So do you at least concede that the other 50% are not just losers, but losers who probably paid six figures+ for the privilege of being losers AND while subsidizing their competitors (i.e., the "winners")?

    5. You all seem to act like a person's job is just a means to an end. I believe the Job is very important to self identity. I am not sharpest knife relative to some other professionals, but my test scores put me at the top few percentage points in the country. And the thought of having a job with zero responsibility, decision making authority, zero mental challenge, and having to answer to others like I was a monkey on a string would make me very, very unhappy . . probably suicidal. Perhaps there is a happy medium between janitor and lawyer, but switch-board operator isn't it, nor most trades. Any we all have egos and we are all more or less narcissistic. If you will be happy being a tradesman because of a guaranteed working man's wage . . . go for it. I like the fact that I have superior knowledge to most of the people around me. I like that I have developed a critically thinking mind. I like that I know how to work the system to get things done and to not be a pawn who needs to jump just because somebody demands I do so. I like the fact if I want to know whether my boss can really do that and get away with it, I can figure it out for myself. As a lawyer, at least I have hope for a future. What hope is there in the lower echelon jobs other than being the typical working drone? I don't give a damn about the amount of money I could make. How I make that money is also important. Even representing criminal clients for pennies has got to be better than being the typical working drone in our country. And I am not sure why one cannot be a Lawyer and also, at the same time, a loving father and husband. I know nobody else gives a damn about how I earn my living. . . but damn I care about how I earn my living. I only have one life to live. I don't want to spend it shining somebody's shoes for the rest of my life.

    6. I think the gulf between janitor and lower-half attorney is much narrower than you think.

      I may not like being a janitor in an alternative life, but I *know* I wouldn't want to be a janitor working for you.

    7. 'I think the gulf between janitor and lower-half attorney is much narrower than you think"

      Income wise maybe, but not educationally.

      "I may not like being a janitor in an alternative life, but I *know* I wouldn't want to be a janitor working for you."

      I see. Ad-hominem attack against a poster giving his "truth" from the "law school truth center". I am simply telling it like it is. Suggesting that smart, educated college graduates abandon all hope, give up any of their ambitions, and settle for being nothing but a working drone all of their lives does not cut it in my book. If that makes me a terrible person, so be it. It doesn't matter whether the inherent value of people to society is the same no matter how they live. But it matters to ME. And that is all that is important in my world. When I am on my death bed, I want to look back and feel like I did something worthwhile and that I challenged myself as a Human Being. If that is being a she shining man, that is great for you. I want something different for me. Why is that so bad or wrong?

    8. And I think this is the problem for many of you in the scam movement. You offer no reasonable alternatives to the "liberal arts" graduate. The issue is not that people going to law school are "snow flakes", its that they are trying to acquire a level in life where they will find some sort of fulfillment. You ignore human nature when you ignore this need. Its not enough to say be a tradesman. Many college graduates have no desire to be tradesmen, to shine shoes, sweep the floors. What do they do with themselves? Let me offer some reasonable alternatives other than being a "plumber". How about joining the military and going through officer training school? How about learning aircraft engine repair or nuclear sub technology? Something unique? Something that can lead to really good jobs in the future other than just being a dumb-ass working drone? How about becoming a Real Estate salesman, then broker and work your way up to selling commercial properties for big bucks? How about going into insurance and eventually having your own agency? All of this municpal job stuff ???. I suppose if you get a job that is interesting with reasonable benefits . . . sure. How many of those types of jobs are available these days?

    9. We are offering alternatives, you just don't like them. The examples you listed are fine alternatives as well, as the military is a government employer, so there is some political protection (although it's very dangerous and not anyone can get in).

      Many of your other premises and points have no merit though. It's true that most college graduate do not have a desire to be tradesmen and things of that nature, but that revulsion is based on false information. If you asked some college kid if he wants to be a document review drone with 200k in non-dischargeable debt, he or she would also say no.

      The problem can be summarized as follows: kids only look at the apex of the white collar professions and the bottom of the blue collar professions. They don't understand that the world has changed, and their notions of things no longer apply.

      I just met a top 25 law school graduate, law review, and top five percent of her class. She is working for 35k a year at a sleazy PI firm. I promise you that she would be happier as a high ranking police officer makin close to 200k or a senior tradesperson of some sort. The problem is she never thought about it because she was brainwashed to think blue collar bad, white collar good. This girl could have been anything and now she is worse off than a high school drop out fitting pipe in Brooklyn.

      Even if this girl winds up making 100k in this shit profession, given her incredible background, she still made a bad move because she could have made 1) more money with 2) less debt and time expended, 3) more leisure time and 4) greater job security. She is truly a waste of human capital.

      In terms of jobs, all that matters is 1) money, 2) time at the job and time required to get the job (leisure), 3) job security, and 4) social status. Item 4 does not outway the others.

    10. This "personal fulfillment" and "status" stuff is crap..

      The idea that work has to be fulfilling is strictly a modern phenomenon. I'm sure the schmucks shoveling coal on the Lusitania thought their jobs were "fulfilling", etc. Unlikely.. They worked. They got paid for that work. Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

      And yes, it's exactly this type of thinking that has doomed many young Lemmings. Look.. a job is.. a job. At the end of the day, you are trading money for time. You *are* a Debt Slave. The question is simply one of degree. Anyone who relies on a job to live is a drone.

      The story about the girl was was top 5%. Yuo.. I've also seen similar to this. Law is "Up or Out". The only people I know who are successful long-term in law made it into some kind of protected gov't job where they can suck off the public teat.

      And what people fail to understand is that those jobs will be gone soon. Things are changing. Soon that security will not exist anymore either because the 1% are soaking up.. everything. It takes so many taxpayers to pay for public sector jobs. Unless it's the Fed. Gov't - who owns the Printing Machine and can just create the money - I don't see even municipal / city jobs as a truly safe bet very soon. Example: Detroit.

      Another field I'm predicting will bust is accounting. Easily outsourced. Just wait another decade, at most. It's only a matter of time...

      The thing with trades is this: Someone has to keep the machinery running. Someone has to deal with the physical and tangible that keeps society functioning so that all the BS service jobs can even be done. And yes, someone has to take out the trash and clean the toilets. And do the plumbing for those toilets and the electrical, etc.

      Social status is a myth. The only people with any degree of true social status are the wealthy 1% non-job-working people. And even by this measure, that is only a fraction of the 1%. A majority of that group are highly-paid debt slaves as well, just operating on another isolated playing field. The example that comes to mind is Gekko's idea of a working Wall Street "stiff" who makes $300-400k.. Without the bank and the job.. Nothing. Gekko didn't work. He owned. He invested.

      This is all explained well in Kiyosaki's Cash Flow Quadrant. I don't agree with everything he says or does but his basic concepts are true especially in regards to where people fall in the 4 quadrants.

      As to people becoming nuclear engineers.. We're talking potential law school Lemmings who've probably never even taken a single Business class in undergrad let alone could survive, say, Calc. 1.

      Law is just Liberal Arts on Steroids which is what 95% of Lemmings, especially today, are.

      I'd also love to "self-actualize" on the tip of the pyramid and become some famous athlete, movie actor, or even a top model because that's really money for nothing.. despite the "oppression" of having to live as a woman. But it just ain't so and never will be.. No matter how much a young leopard might wish to become a mighty lion, he will never be one no matter what he tries.

    11. @10:17,

      Excellent assessment. I agree with everything you said, except on the municipal jobs issue. New York, DC, and LA are not Detroit. Municipal employees in cities of that type, especially in essential services, will never be eliminated. The playgrounds of the super elite will be protected no matter the cost.

      I agree with everything else you said wholeheartedly.

  15. And finally, and I left this out, the idea that someone who comes out of law school today carrying $200,000 in non-dischargeable debt, starts off making $35-45k and, odds are, will be completely washed out of the profession in 5 years is somehow.. 'prestigious' is ridiculous..

    This line of thinking has doomed and continues to doom many a Lemming.

  16. "When I am on my death bed, I want to look back and feel like I did something worthwhile and that I challenged myself as a Human Being."

    Are you a practicing attorney? I am, and although I'll acknowledge that practice areas vary, I can speak from years of experience in personal injury law. If you think you are going to find intellectual stimulation here, disappointment awaits. A huge chunk of day-to-day practice consists of filing, chasing down bills and records from providers, hounding adjusters to resolve property damage and tender medpay benefits, and begging insurance companies and medical providers for reductions on liens. Is that the life you'd like to look back on from your deathbed? If you think law is your path to escaping "drone" work, think again.

  17. True, I do what you do. I take the good with the bad. I look at the control I have over my own life by having my own business and taking only those cases I choose to take, I look at the fact that I help individuals assert their rights against these monolithic, soulless corporations, I look at the excitement of my wins. I do a fair amount of legal research and my own appeals and writs, a decent sized practice in Federal Court as well as State Court. I have tried a number of cases and won my fair share of them. I am not sure what I could be doing that would better fit my personality. What would be better, working as a coporate drone somewhere approving loan applications? I generally have learned to despise attorneys and the legal profession, because many attorneys are indeed sociopaths and because everybody has their hands out trying to get rich on the back of the system. But in the end, what else would I do that could give me so much?