No, I'm not mocking former Vice Presidential candidate, the late Admiral James Stockdale. Instead, I'm continuing my previous post with the sad tale of how I ended up in law school.
I am a nerd. I was actually really excited to head off to college, and it wasn't because of the freedom, parties, or the all you can eat buffets (well, maybe that was part of it). I don't even drink - though suffering through law school certainly made hitting the sauce more tempting. No, I actually was excited for college because I wanted to take classes in subjects that weren't available to me in high school.
I really had a hard time settling on a major: I wanted to study history, political science, computer science/IT, economics, and business. I was wise enough to realize that history and government were part of the fast track to working at Denny's, so I eschewed them in favor of more practical majors. As much as I enjoyed computers, I just felt CS/IT was too utilitarian, and I wanted something more intellectually satisfying. (Sadly, you can't pay your bills with intellectual satisfaction.)
Initially, I settled on economics. I thought if I could get a PhD in economics, I would be able to make a good living and possibly influence public policy in favor of sound economic reasoning. I really enjoyed economics, and I still read up on the subject in my spare time. (Like I said, I'm a nerd.) Nevertheless, getting a PhD in economics was more work than I was willing to invest. Not only does it take 5 years to get a degree, but to have any shot at getting into the better programs, you need to have undergraduate courses in Advanced Calculus, Linear Algebra, Differential Equations, and Real Analysis. I actually did alright in Calculus I, but I couldn't imagine seeing the rest of the sequence through, and so I opted for Plan B.
I ended up taking a double major in business and economics. I probably should have taken a more practical concentration in finance, etc. in lieu of the second major in economics, but I just didn't want to give up the major I so enjoyed. It didn't turn out that badly for me - I ended up getting a decent job before I graduated, but unfortunately, the seeds of destruction were planted at this point...
At first my job seemed ideal. I would have the opportunity to use all of my skills - statistical, computer oriented, and writing. The organization valued both my knowledge of business and economics. The job even tangentially touched on public policy and politics.
As it turned out, nobody really contemplated what my role would be. There was a lot of down time, and the projects I did work on were petty and/or tedious. I don't want to go into too much detail, but somehow the job was both boring and stressful. It was boring because there were some days where I'd just put in my time by staring at my web browser. It was stressful because if I had one miscalculation out of the reams of data I had to compile, my boss would have a conniption.
There was one other thing I noticed - the people who got substantive work and assignments were people who had graduate degrees - particularly PhD's in economics or J.D.'s. You can probably see where this is going.
Yes, to make a long story, not quite as long, I decided that to advance my career I needed a graduate degree, and what's commonly considered a versatile yet practical and highly coveted graduate degree? Sadly, as we all know, I'm or course referring to the Juris Doctorate degree. Bad call, man. Bad call.
(There's more detail which I may go into at a later date, but I don't want to make my posts too autobiographical. There's a non-legal job to find and a law school industrial complex to bash!)