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Is the Professional World Full of $%#?

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#21 ijs



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Posted 19 August 2012 - 02:02 PM

In America, mediocrity is rewarded. The most successful people professionally/financially are not the most intelligent IMHO

I have certainly found this to be true in the context of a large organization.


You can't find some lame gig as a public defender or something to hold you over?

Unfortunately, there is a mountain of competition for every job, especially DA or PD jobs. I’ve interviewed for DA jobs, but haven’t been hired yet. (Public defense works a little differently in Oregon.)

Have you considered moving? It's generally a bad idea to try and find a job in the same town as the school you went to.

I have considered it, especially to cities where there is a notable Jewish community. Trouble is I am not licensed in any other state, and can’t get reciprocal admission for another two years. And not in all states, e.g., NY does not have reciprocity and requires the bar exam for everyone. I cannot afford to fly to NY & take the bar exam & risk blowing it – too big an investment (and I don’t have the $$ anyway). Jobs I could qualify for that don’t require bar admission I will apply for (and a few that require it), but there aren’t many.

What kind of loans did you take out? I guess it went beyond the regular government subsidized and unsubsidized loans?

Yes, both kinds. And my income does not support being able to pay anything right now, as living expenses are difficult to get, too. (I’ve been getting them, B’’H, but it’s a rough go.)

I have heard a lot of bad stories about people going to law school then when they get out they don't make enough money, work is hard to find etc. I guess there are too many people going into the field anymore.

This is true. From a purely market perspective, there are too many lawyers, which is why I’ve considered non-lawyer jobs if I can find ones I qualify for (rare, but occasional). In contrast, there aren’t enough doctors, though sometimes they find it hard to find a residency.)

On the other subject, one of the most inspirational aspects of Judaism (from my limited understanding) is the idea that we should do the work regardless if it is completed or not.

Essentially, yes. The idea (as I understand it) is that we do the best we can, and HaShem will eventually fill in the holes, so to speak.


It may happen that the person has an uncontrollable vocation to some art or profession, and is really passionate over it - well, in this case I think one should be persistent and try as hard as possible to work within that area. But that does not justify being unemployed while waiting for a better job.

Just to clarify, for myself: I’m not exactly unemployed; rather, I’m self-employed and have my own office. I just can’t get enough clients, in part (at least) because the market is bad. Perhaps if I can learn some marketing skills it could improve, but my preference now (as opposed to in the past) is to simply have a regular job with a steady, dependable income sufficient to meet my needs (which includes paying on my obligations).

[W]hen you're unemployed nobody offers you anything, or else you receive ridiculous proposals - but as soon as you get a new job, you begin to receive attractive proposals to leave your job and join another company!! Thus, it's better to accept a provisional job and keep on searching while earning some money to pay the bills.

I can certainly agree this is true. Of course, it takes getting an offer in the first place.


Hasn't anybody read "The Dilbert Principle?" There's got to be an online copy somewhere...

Yes, I have my own copy – great book. I have a couple other Dilbert books as well ... been reading that strip from the beginning, and it’s the only one I get emailed to me every day. :)


The general Torah view on Parnassah involves the following main points (in no particular order):

Thanks for all the wonderful research.

Chaim Yosef ben Yaakov Avraham

חיים יוסף בך יעקב אברהם

#22 33948



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Posted 20 August 2012 - 10:32 AM

1. Student loans:

I don't understand the complaints about student loan debt. Maybe I just haven't had this experience yet, but from what I understand there are a number of programs the government provides for paying back loans. For example, programs that take your income into consideration. Under these programs it's not possible for your loan payment to be so huge that it is making it impossible to live.

2. Making enough money

Perhaps some people just desire too high of an income. I have noticed that the biggest predictor of wealth is not income, but how one spends it. A person could earn a very low salary and still maintain a pretty high quality of life. Instead it seems most energy is spent trying to impress others, fit into social circles etc.

One could buy a brand new car that runs good, gets them to work etc. for $12,000. Then when they get a raise and make more money they spend $20,000 on a car instead of $12k. Then when they make more money they are buying $50,000 cars etc. There's not really a huge difference between a mercedes and toyota. Both get you where you are going. Most of the reason people buy mercedes is to impress others rather than any inherent superiority in the car itself.

I have notice most Americans always spend more than they make even when their incomes are huge. Then I also watch shows like American Greed where people have multimillion dollar a year incomes and still not making enough. So it seems like in these cases the problem is not income but rather a person's behavior, values etc.

3. Taking a lower job

This was one of the mainstream American values I was raised with. "You should never be too good to take a job". It really hurt me early in life because I actually believed this (along with the idea that hard work gets you ahead. The above example shows that hard work and competency often gets you fired, stabbed in the back etc.).

What happens is you take a low wage job. Then people believe you are a loser, moron, screw up etc. simply because you work there. Your work can be oustanding but people are going to snicker "hey that guy works at McDonalds what a loser" honestly you could be Albert Einstein and double the company's profits, but it doesn't matter- you are a loser simply for taking the job.

From there if you go to get a good job, that lower job may hurt you on your resume.

Also some jobs pay so low that they aren't worth the time. It actually cost me more money to work all the time than it would have to just work part time, because I had to pay twice as much money for everything (no time to shop around, have to eat out etc.). Also I had no time to attend to personal matters etc.

So I know that at some point wages can be too low to make it worth your time and also that taking a job well beneath you can make you drop in social rank. Maybe it's not always the case. But commonly in America we are always lectured about how we should be willing to take any kind of work, that if we work hard we'll get ahead, and a whole list of other false principles that lead to failure.

In fact, I feel like no job will pay me what I'm worth. That's why I wanted to go into education and be a teacher. I could make twice as much money with the same degree and putting in the same effort at school. But I honestly feel on my free time working for myself I can make more money than anybody would be willing to pay me. Also I want to do a job I enjoy and get tired of being worked to the bone, being treated like garbage etc.

But the one thing I realized is that human relationships are more important than the quality of your work. Such as the above example about getting stabbed in the back. It's more important to work for people you can trust. I think that is where a church, synagogue, social club, family business etc. comes into play. Lacking any real trustworthy social circles and given my obervations about the general low quality of society and culture around me, I feel its better to just do things myself, work for myself etc. generally rather than be a part of a corrupt team. I feel the same way about society in general.

4. Marketing skills

I think I wrote pro bono up there when I menat pro se. Too lazy to go back and edit it. Anyway...

You can make more money simply suing companies in the wrong than you would running a small law firm. You don't even have to be a lawyer to do it. Yes a lot of people file frivolous law suits, but in reality as I said most American businesses are corrupt to the core. They are completely irrational.

These guys can make five million a year and will refuse to pay their low level workers an extra ten cents an hour, they will not fix safety hazards, they will make the most irrational decisions imaginable, cheat their customers, provide sub-standard services etc. and all the while be smug and arougant while doing it.

The only reason these businesses are so successful is because the competition is just as bad. And most normal people don't have the money to compete with them. We sort of have a situation like the early 19th century aristocracy. The upper crust have grown really degenerate (morally, physically, intellectually etc.).

It's pretty easy to find legitimate complaints. Then what is funny they'll pay out a $50,000 settlement and write it off as "nothing".

Let me give one example: Years ago my brother worked for an industrial scale company. They checked the scales of a company and told them it that they were bad and needed replaced for $10,000. The company would not do it (despite having plenty of money to pay for it). They were just cheap.

A couple months later the scales went bad. They lost over $10,000 a day when they couldn't operate their business for several weeks. They called up for new scales. Since it had to be done right away the company charged them $25,000.

The decisions they make are irrational and lose the company money.

I worked at countless companies that would not give good workers a raise (usually treated them worse than the stupid ones). So they actually lose all the good workers and retain all the idiots that don't know what they are doing. This leads to theft of merchandise, less customers, more damanged merchandise. All the peripherary expenses are actually higher than anyone's annual salary. In other words they could double people's salary and still save money, but they don't.

Well the list goes on but let's not write a novel.

Yet what one could sue a company for would be essentially forms of theft and fraud that they commonly commit against their customers. Myself I have been fleeced many times but just didn't have the resources to fight it (time, money etc.). No lawyer is going to take such a small case.

Yet I have known people pulling in over $100k a year just filing lawsuits. If I had the free time I would do it. But also I don't know a lot about going pro se and few lawyers want to help (for one because so many people just file frivolous lawsuits anyway).

#23 paganyid



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Posted 20 August 2012 - 08:45 PM

My friend just finished law school and he was lucky that his friend's father took him into his practice. Rough market these days. Every day he goes down to the courts and police station and talks to people there who need lawyers. Kind of skeezy the whole thing but he's slowly building up clientele. He loves it.

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