In my last post...which I actually just posted, I explained my inspiration for this site: I'm going to chronicle my quest to move beyond my J.D. and try to land a decent non-legal job that will hopefully put me on a more fulfilling career path (such as offering a regular paycheck).
That's a pretty broad goal, so let me try to set forth some criteria that will allow me to land on an aircraft carrier and declare "Mission Accomplished"...or at least let me move out of my parents house.
The Mission: Find a serious, career oriented, non-legal position at reasonable pay despite holding a law degree and having a three year gap in (non-legal) career experience.
Compensation: This is probably one of the most important elements when searching for a new job. I'm not going to be too greedy because I know about the hurdles J.D.'s seeking non legal jobs face. While I have bit more to my background than a crummy liberal arts degree, I also just wasted three years on the law school snipe hunt, so I'm not exactly in a position to demand the big bucks (particularly ITE). (More on both of those points in later posts.)
I'm going to set the bar pretty low at $40,000 per year. I think this is a fair price. If I can make more, great. If I can't, then I don't think I've successfully transitioned to another field. I made roughly this much prior to going to law school. I think it is unacceptable that I should make less even with a three year "gap" in the my resume.
If I do take a salary that pays less than this, then I'll continue with my quest until I find something that fairly compensates me. The only exception I may allow is if the job itself is particularly interesting/rewarding (and non-legal) but the industry or position naturally has (an) unusually low salaries/salary.
I also will not accept a position (as least for purposes of fulfilling my goal) that pays hourly or only offers commission. (Once again, unless it otherwise offers some extraordinary opportunity).
I don't intend to start my own business, but if I do, I can reassess this element of my criteria later on.
Professional: The job should be a professional job. Sure, I could raise the victory flag of finding a non-legal job by selling insurance for some chop shop or strap on an apron and work at the local Whole Foods, but that's not just ignoring my J.D., that's casting aside all of my education and work experience. Not only would these or similar paths most likely not meet my income goals, they also are jobs I would take only out of desperation and not for personal fulfillment.
Let's say that at a minimum, the job must require a BA/BS.
I don't know if I need to have a position where I wear a suit and tie downtown every day, but I'm going to say that any position that could potentially be profiled on one of those "scam buster" websites or where I'm being bossed around by people with GED's isn't what I'm looking for.
Non-Legal: If I land a job as an attorney or go solo, it doesn't count. If I find it rewarding, my perspective about the law will probably change, but I'm trying to see I can land a substantive non-legal job, so in the unlikely event that I find an attorney position I enjoy, it's still a mission failure.
The same goes for document review, paralegal, or legal assistant jobs. It doesn't matter how well any of them pay. If I take any of those jobs (except as brief diversions), it only means I couldn't escape the law - the only difference will be that instead of performing on stage in this industry, I'll be working the concession booth.
Minor Points: I don't want to move, but I won't consider it a defeat if I end up doing so. Reasonable training or certification is okay, but heading off for another degree (MBA, MS in Economics, etc.) is definitely throwing in the towel (and probably making things worse). I can take short term positions (e.g. doc review), but then it's back to the job search.
Marrying into money, winning the Publisher's Clearing House, or selling this blog for millions would be nice, but I think we can all agree that's cheating (and not particularly likely to happen).
So, please join me as I face the post law school demons and seek to find a fulfilling job away from from legal industry. Along the way, we'll mock and ridicule the law school industrial complex and maybe learn a few things about other industries. Will I succeed and open up a bold, new chapter in my life, or will I end up like this guy? Keep an eye on this blog to find out!
Just to be on the safe side, however, if in a few months, some loser calls you up asking you if you have term life insurance, do me a favor, hear him out. Thanks.