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.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

It's hard to be a Mets fan when the Yankees make the playoffs every year. I was really hoping the Yankees would be left on the sidelines, but, oh well, life goes on. :)

Another interesting e-mail on the thread from last week:

I am a 2L going through the job applications and interview process at a top 20-25 school.

I was recently motivated by some of the law focused posts to add my two cents.

I did this because I managed a business for a while, did more grunt work for a while, and worked on a Ph.D. at a top 3 school before deciding on law school. I carefully analyzed the drawbacks and concluded that law school was a good deal because basically, every job has the same payoffs & drawbacks. They are that you can work really hard for more money or another compelling outcome, or you can do less and feel unappreciated and underpaid, but have a better life.

So why was law school a good choice?

Because it gives you all of these choices after only 3 years of graduate school. And it allows you to achieve high levels of one thing (money, compelling outcome) if you really want to, without a long start up time. Also, at lots of these medium income positions, you wind up working a lot of hours anyway.

Of course, debt can restrict these choices. At the time, I didn’t know which choice I wanted, so I hedged on my law school choice.

(I turned down a few top 10 schools for a scholarship & a program more friendly to non-firm careers.)

Basically, if you truly don’t care about money or prestige, you can be very happy as a small school prof., a public interest lawyer, a family doctor, or some other lower income position, but if you really care about these positions, you may work a ton at them too. If you want to work 9-5 make some money & have plenty of time, be a carpenter or a union laborer. If you want mad dough, but have no time, be a big firm lawyer, ambitious MBA, or surgeon. If you want to make a difference, be a public interest lawyer, a non-profit manager, or a small town doctor. Many careers don’t give you the choice of big bucks or doing something you like.

My realization was that I worked hard and a lot at whatever I wound up doing and that law gave me the option of choosing three options: Work very hard for lots of money, work very hard to make a discernable difference, or work not so hard for decent money. These are really all of the options there are, unless you have an extremely privileged and wealthy situation, in which case you may even get to be President and take several 5 week vacations a year. Many careers don’t offer that many choices. Rarely can you have it all, so you have to choose which option you like the best. Because the truth is, there are enough people out there who will give up their lives and hours for the money so that if you want the money, you have to work for it. So people who decide what they really want out of life, choose it, go with it, and stop regretting the benefits they chose to forego are probably happier than those who want it all and worry about how to get it.

Of course, I still haven’t completely figured this out yet for myself.