26 September 2012

On unemployed lawyers

I missed this series over on Gawker earlier this year, but I wanted to bring a couple of paragraphs to my readers' attention. It's "Unemployment Stories" from people who wouldn't be, if trickle-down economics worked the way it's supposed to. Two of the writers in this entry are attorneys, one in Chicago and the other in New York. The first has been in the field for a while, but we're close in age and we're both single parents and homeowners:

I have learned first hand how low income or hourly wage workers are made to feel on a regular basis. I am a white woman in her early 40s, went to Georgetown Law and own my own home, but none of that mattered last year. I could have been anyone in the grocery store trying to make her last $20 bill feed 3 kids for the next 5 days until her unemployment check arrived (which would be gone within hours - no joke). I was made to feel like absolute garbage when bringing my kids to their checkup and using [state medical insurance] coverage. They would loudly announce it and then ask unnecessary questions about the coverage in front of the entire full waiting room. I lost friends who apparently got tired of me saying, "sorry, for the 100th time, I can't go out tonight. I DON'T HAVE ANY MONEY." I sold shit on craigslist all the time and it was like winning the lottery when I got $100 for something. And what employed people don't realize is, not only do you have to be pragmatic and worry about paying rent/mortgage and buying food while you're unemployed; you are in a constant, ever-present state of fear and depression.

The second graduated when I did, in 2009, though on the traditional timeline of entering law school immediately after undergrad:

A lot of people also wondered why I wasn't temping. There too, my law degree was a hindrance to getting a job, because even though I was looking for general office jobs, legal work was all I was really qualified to do and law firms don't want unadmitted J.D.'s working for them for fear they'll be brought up on charges of assisting in the "unauthorized practice of law."

Some testimony to keep in mind when we think about the unemployed and underemployed around us.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this.