Hi Guys !
Today I want to talk about a topic which is very dear to my heart. I am sure there are persons who can relate and others who may experience this in the future so this may help you prepare. I hope.
University was great. Law school was not as great but life was good. Life was simple. Most of you like me would have been fed and financed by your parents. All you needed to do in return was to study and get decent grades and get the hell out of school so you could find a good job, right? Sounds easy enough right ?!
While studying you probably realised that the job market in most fields was saturated or that if you did find a job you would be working for a third of the salary you were expecting even with a fresh University Degree with Honours to boot.
But of course you believed you were special and would somehow beat the odds and be selected or that companies would be lined up waiting to hire you, right ? ! WRONG
You truly believed that you were now a wealth of knowledge and an asset to every company and based on this and your qualifications getting hired will be a breeeze, right? ! WRONG AGAIN
Or maybe you were the realistic type. You knew the economy and the country was saturated but you got a student loan just to finish your degree. It’s due now so regardless of how saturated the field was or how the companies were tightening their belts, there must be a job out there for you! You already know what comes next right?
I can go on but I think you get the picture…
A year and eight months ago. I was there. I had just finished all my exams and was eagerly awaiting bar call when I made the stark realisation that I had just graduated from the status of Student to Unemployed. So like any reasonable person I beefed up my resumee , made sure to add my newest qualification, made sure to put those 3 extra letters behind my name and kissed each envelope and sent out those budding applications.
For the first couple months I got no replies. I started to wonder if my applications were even received.But I didn’t have to wonder much longer because the rejections started coming in just as fast as the applications sent.
The one thing that stood out to me in most rejections was that I lacked work experience. This still baffles me to this day because you guys can correct me if I’m wrong but how can one gain years of work experience when he or she has been studying for 5 to 7 years straight trying to attain the qualifications necessary for the desired career?? I’ll wait!
I got rejected from every single law firm I applied to. I was angry , I was hurt , I was confused but more than anything else I was sad.
I decided as I always do to not be kept down! I was going to enjoy these months of freedom. So of course I travelled, I bought icecream every night, I joined some clubs, volunteered some more, of course I was at karaoke about than 4 nights a week and at dinner the remainding nights. I was minutes away from being called a beach bum when it hit me that I was living my best life but my money was running out.
So I again sent out a few applications asked around some places and was met by more and more rejection. By now I was officially an Attorney, but a VERY unemployed attorney with a Student Loan staring me right in the face!
I honestly began to get very depressed and with each rejection it became worse. I would just lay in bed some days and stare at the ceiling and cry. I began to blame the society! I blamed the government! I even blamed myself for being so damn ambitious. Why did you have to go waste seven years of your life and spend so much damn money and run yourself in debt? Needless to say. I was a mess. I cried every single day. I prayed . I cried even more. I complained to friends. I had given up!
Most of my friends were experiencing the same situation so they were not much help at lifting my spirits nor was I at lifting theirs. My boyfriend at the time was so positive, always insisting that it would get better. I honestly hated that about him. I wanted to scream at him ” Dude , Just let me be unhappy! What the hell is wrong with you!”
He encouraged me to chanel my emotions into writing and I actually started a novel in the midst of my rut. That helped to some extent but on the other hand I had no job and a student loan whose grace period was slowly slipping away. Month by month, Week by week, Day by day.
Months passed. 7 months to be exact. I had given up on a legal career when a friend insisted that I come work with her doing Accounts. Anyone who knows me knows the thought of me doing anything involving numbers was extremely laughable! Needless to say, I survived about a week before being excused.
However, at one point during the week I lasted, I received a call. I had my first client. A family member had an issue and they wanted me to appear in court. I was scared, reluctant and intimidated because I could not let my family down. Despite it all, I made my first court appearance and I killed it !
Once I got a taste for the court I could not go back to my rut.From that moment I knew I couldnt keep staying at home feeling sorry for myself if I wanted to be an Attorney I was going to have to pick my butt up and make it happen. So I did.
I had actually met another young attorney in court who had inquired about where I was working. He suggested that I consider being self employed and coming to work at Chambers. I contacted the Chambers the Friday of that week and began working the Monday.
I said all that to say that I’ve been in the rut that some of you may be in or have been in but like my annoying boyfriend used to say it will get better BUT I will add only if you make it better.
I do acknowldege that being self employed is not for everyone, but it worked out well for me. Some persons work better with an employer.
To be quite frank. Being self employed is hard. It requires self motivation, discipline and tremendous investing in one’s self. My first couple months were really slow. I made the total sum of zero dollars and zero cents. I got discouraged on several occassions but I kept reminding myself that I am my brand and I am amazing and if I can’t take a chance on myself how can I really expect clients to.
Eventually it got better, Work picked up. I was getting calls and referrals and I longed for the boring days. I longed for those days when I literally had 3 hour naps at work in the afternoon. I had so much work I was literally up to my ears in it.
I know I’ve gone on about myself but honestly I learnt some difficult lessons during those unmcomfortable 7 months. I learnt that I needed to take respsonsibilty for my decisions. I chose to pursue a career in Law. No one made me. I now had to deal with the consequences of those actions.
I learnt to stop blaming others. Stop blaming the government , society, the companies. Just stop and take responsibility!
I learnt to lose the attitude of entitlement. No one is entitled to hire me or pity me. If I wanted a career I’m going to have to get up and fight for it. I was an adult now and it was time to start acting like it!
I learnt that no one really cares. Every person has been through a tough period in their life , has hit rock bottom or has felt like giving up and for this reason , no one wants to hear your sad stories. So keep them to yourself.
Finally , but most importantly for me , I learnt to handle rejection. I learnt not to take it so personally. They did not want me so what ? Move on !
If you’re reading this and currently are where I was not so long ago, “You are not alone”. It has been happening before you and will happen after you. Honestly, there are persons who finished school 2 and 3 years before me who still are not employed and the market is not getting any less saturated.
I wish I could tell you it gets better, but in some circumstances you have to take the initiative and make it better. So climb out that bed , Get out that rut and let’s get it !