Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Rejection and More Rejection

Warning: Today's blog entry includes bad words. If you are my parents, you should probably not read it and preserve your illusions about my pristine vocabulary.

I received yet another rejection letter in the mail today, from yet another position for which I am monstrously overqualified. I've been seeking employment for the past couple months - a little bit in fits and starts, I admit; it's a depressing endeavor in this economy. (Thanks, George W., I'm soooooooo grateful!)

So anyway, rejection letter #256,031 arrived today in the mail. This one didn't even have a real signature, and the speed with which it arrived in the mail suggests they sent it instants after I left the interview. I'm starting to feel like that ugly dude who lives in his parents' basement and hits on supermodels all the time. It's rejection-o-rama down here.

It's not much better for anyone else I know who's job hunting, no matter what degrees and qualifications they're coming in with. The fact is that there are professionals with 20 years of experience who are suddenly out of work and willing to work for the same salary as I am. Of course if you're an employer, you're going to hire the guy with 20 years experience who'll work for entry-level salary and will retire before he climbs too high on the payscale. That's just common sense.

But it does make me irate I couldn't have entered the work force two years earlier when attorney salaries were through the roof with signing bonuses and outrageous benefits packages. Now with the dot-com bust and the general market downturn, firms across the country are downsizing, closing up shop, or merging. Not that most law firms have the balls to admit they're downsizing or doing lay-offs - those are dirty words in the legal world and suggest instability to clients (or so partners imagine). Instead, most law firms fuck over the young attorneys doing the 80-hour weeks of scut work and "let them go," fire them, decline to renew contracts, shuffle them into of-counsel positions, overhire summer associates to pick up the slack of having too few associates and then refuse to hire them at summer's end. Everyone who's been in law school in the past five years or so knows at least five people who have been fucked in this fashion, often out of the blue when partners decide staff cuts are necessary. To avoid the ugly word of "layoffs," it's common for law firms to write sudden, devastatingly negative performance reviews with no warning and fire the attorney for underperforming (or refuse to renew or hire), thus sticking our intrepid young lawyer not only with no job, but with shitty performance reviews that sabotage the attorney's carrer ... all so that partners don't have to say "layoffs" or admit they overhired. (Like it's a secret or something! People aren't stupid.) What's worse, attorneys, especially at high-pressure firms, have this bizarre belief that failure is contagious, like a virus, and frequently will refuse to give references for attorneys who are "laid off," on the fear that if they even speak with them again, they too will catch the unemployment disease.


So anyway, what I have discovered in the last couple years is that I was told a lot of lies in college and law school. Going to top-notch schools does not improve your chances in the job hunt; it just saddles you with more crippling debts to pay off. Lawyers are not always in demand. 99% of graduates do not get employed after graduation from the University of *coughcough* law school - they do sneaky things with the numbers for people who don't get employed so that they don't have to include them. (Similar to the sneaky things colleges around the country do with crime statistics they're required to report to the federal government, but that's an entirely separate rant.)

I've considered starting a list, like Nixon's, of people who I'm going to get back at when I'm powerful and famous and so forth. Not just people who've screwed me, but those who have screwed my friends as well. Sometimes I wonder things like, Do these businesses who treat eager young applicants and employees so badly (not bothering to send rejection letters, treating employees like cogs, reasonless firings and job cuts while executive salaries soar) not realize that eventually we will "grow up" and be powerful members of the community and the business world? I mean, I've already decided what legal insurance company and bonding agent I will not be seeking legal malpractice insurance from, based on the way I was treated (i.e., very poorly) when applying for an internship position there in college. Did it honestly never occur to these people that a 20-year-old college student might one day grow up to be a 26-year-old lawyer needing malpractice insurance? Or a 32-year-old partner influencing firm decisions about insurance?

I'm not sure how long these companies will continue to think they can get away with treating employees like crap - law firms that abuse associates and summer programs, corporations that have executive pay set at 250 times the pay of the average worker - and still expect to have clients - or, for that matter, employees with brains and skills.

Sometimes I fantasize about a website just listing companies that do crappy things to employees, so through the power of the internet, we could all avoid doing business with those companies. But then I get depressed, because the current corporate climate encourages such practices and they're almost unavoidable. I'll have to stick with boycotting Wal-Mart and refusing to hire legal services providors who treated me shabbily when I was not yet a lawyer.

In the meantime, I am going to go nurse my rejection with summer sausage and Wisconsin cheese. And get the next 30 resumes out.

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Star said...

((((Eyebrows))))) :(

Anonymous said...


And I *did* look for jobs for you. Just you were being picky about such tiny little details as commutes of a couple thousand miles and not speaking the language. ;-)


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