I will start by explaining something that is simple but also extremely important right now, and it will be the last thing that I say about my financial situation: through many factors, including my own merit, the state where I live, and the generosity of my parents, I managed to graduate from law school without debt. We rent an apartment in a city that isn’t terribly expensive and we don’t have debt of any kind.
A lack of debt has allowed me certain freedoms as I go about my job search. I don’t have to take a job, any job, just to pay the bills. I don’t have to stress over how I’m going to pay the loans when they come due. I don’t worry terribly much about whether I made the worst mistake of my life going to law school. And most importantly, that awful New York Times article that came out last weekend implying that I will die penniless doesn’t apply to me.
At the start of January, I decided the time had finally come to start working. Since jobs are hard to find, I am volunteering. I will admit, I had to talk to a couple of organizations before I found one that both suited my needs and needed me. Even the volunteer market is flooded right now, so it’s a really tough situation. So for the last week, I have gotten up every day and gone to what I refer to as, “imaginary work.” The work I do is very very real, and extremely important, and I take it seriously, and I like it.
As I was doing research and making phone calls, it occurred to me that this is what working like you don’t need the money must feel like. I’m not sure that I will get a real job from my imaginary jobs, but so far, I’ve gotten great exposure and am also learning a lot about professionalism, how to talk to clients, and how to interact with other professionals. This is something I sorely need, and most of my offices have been 3-5 people in size, so my gig volunteering at the state legislature is a great way to learn to act like a grown-up with a busy office. These are skills that will help me in interviews and in the job search, so I’m happy to be getting them now, without the possibility that I will be fired for not having them.