Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Kind of a follow-up to my joiners / non-joiners post from yesterday. This one's really only about the joiners. Just in the last few days, it has become election season for all the extracurricular activities, getting things in place for next year as the second half of spring semester begins. I've been a little disappointed at my initial reaction, which has basically been the resume-builder instinct -- the thought that the higher the position, the better it is, and trying to think about what's realistic for me to be thinking about, and what can I do to put myself in the right position to end up as a person with a nice title for my resume by my 3L year. I was hoping I'd outgrown this instinct, or at least that I'd feel that being here all by itself was enough of a resume-builder, and that I really didn't need to add Treasurer of A Cappella Singing Group in order to impress an employer. And, intellectually, I'm completely aware that Treasurer of A Cappella Singing Group is not -- and should not -- impress an employer. I'll concede that Editor-In-Chief of the Harvard Law Review probably impresses most employers. Perhaps Editor-In-Chief of any legal journal here impresses many employers. Maybe even Managing Editor. President of the Legal Aid Bureau. Sure. But I think there's a very steep slope beginning to show. Vice President of the Prison Legal Assistance Project... maybe a line on a resume, maybe a slight bonus in the job search... maybe... Secretary of the Law School Council... probably not. The less legal-related, I'm thinking the less it matters to anyone, and the less it makes an impression when seen next to the boldfaced Harvard Law School. Like Publicity Chair for the Drama Society... probably not worth pursuing if the goal is resume-building. Food Editor for the newspaper... unlikely to help someone land a job. What I really want to feel is that the time for resume building has passed, and that anything I do, I'm doing entirely because I want to do it. Not because I think it sounds impressive, or I feel like by not running for a position I'm somehow "losing a race." A friend of mine is on the same legal journal as I am. They sent out a call for people interested in running for managing editor. They sent out a second call. It was fairly clear that they weren't overrun with candidates. My friend said he was interested. 3 candidates, 3 positions, no elections, he;s now managing editor. And great for him. And, in my heart of hearts, I don't want to be managing editor of a legal journal. I don't really have a burning desire to do the work it would entail, and I'm probably never going to be looking for a job in the field that the journal covers, so it won't ever matter that I don't have the title. But I'd be lying if I didn't admit that it worries me a little bit. He has a title now, and I don't. I'm losing the race. I had trouble falling asleep last night, lying in bed wondering where I can get a title of my own -- from which of the organizations I'm involved in can I make a compelling case for deserving a given position -- or capitalize on the disinterest of my classmates. That's not how I want to feel, and that's not wat I want to be lying in bed thinking about. But it's the "joiner" mentality, and the kind of stuff lots of people have been trained to feel. I'm okay with just being a "singer" in the a cappella singing group. The duties that the President has -- scheduling rehearsals, arranging performances, keeping track of the keyboard -- are not thrilling duties. It's not a resume builder. So why am I forced to admit to myself that if another 1L gets it (if a 2L gets it, awesome for them) -- that if another 1L gets it, I'll feel a little disappointed. Whether or not I even run. It's not that I would deserve it any more than someone else. I really don't think I do. (Although I don't know that I deserve it any less. But that ain't no good reason.) And it's not that I think other people don't deserve it, or wouldn't do a good job. And it's not that I have any reason for wanting the job other than it's out there and attainable. I don't need it. Yet I have that sense inside that I'd like it. And that it can't hurt. Is this just the "joiner" urge? The "achievement" urge? It's a mystery to me...