I went to a private high school (mainly because I needed a break from the constant beatings delivered to me at my public junior high school). Once I got to private school, I developed an intense, almost blinding hatred for the spoiled little rich girls that populated my new school. There is nothing more odious than a princess who is given everything yet has the gall to bitch about wanting more.
Later, I got into Harvard, twice. Little did I know that my educational opportunities put me into the very same position as the rich girls I used to despise. You can’t go to Harvard and then bitch about anything that befalls you. Well, you can, but you’re going to piss off a lot of people off in the process.
I think that’s fair. If you are a wealthy dauphin or a Harvard graduate, many forces beyond your control have conspired to your benefit. You have amazing opportunities, and those less fortunate get to hate you; thus, balance is maintained in the universe.
Just know that if you fail to capitalize on the opportunities gifted to you, nobody is going to feel sorry for you. Third-year students at Harvard Law School who didn’t receive job offers are wrestling with that stark reality. One such 3L wrote a letter in the Harvard Law Record:
Joined to this knowledge is the understanding that it is, to be fair, rather difficult as a Harvard Law Student to abandon all self-awareness and immerse oneself in self-pity. We remain conscious of the privileges we enjoy and the opportunities that exist for us even in our darkest moments. That isn’t to say we who were no-offered have no room at all for despair. But it feels impolite. Those of us who had been hoping to become Biglaw associates have been dealt a real financial blow. Must we admit what we were told to leave out of admissions essays and job interviews — that we did come to law school with the hope of making money?
Yeah, see, I’m a fellow graduate, and even I puked in my mouth when I read that….
The no-offered author explains how to rationalize unemployment:
Greater world, on behalf of the Harvard 3Ls with no offers, let me tell you the things we know:
1. It’s not our fault. The economy changed unexpectedly, and things are tough all over.
2. In fact, as Harvard graduates, we have more opportunities. Most people encountering employment challenges in this economy are in worse positions than we are.
3. The loss of Biglaw opportunities means we may find something else from which we derive immense satisfaction, and which we may never have otherwise pursued.
4. People with offers but no start dates are in a poor position as well. Even those with deferrals of specified duration face the possibility of an unexpected deferral extension, or even an outright retraction of their offer. In fact, with things as bad as they are, there’s really no guarantee that even those who manage to start work won’t find themselves laid off somewhat soon. Biglaw right now simply doesn’t offer the degree of security it used to offer. Everybody is in the same boat.
Do you want Robin Williams to give you a hug? You got no offered, you didn’t get beaten with a wrench. Get over yourself.
Sorry, my reflexive populism sometimes obscures my innate elitism. It is a bit of a mind-f*** to be told that Harvard has anointed you one of the chosen, to believe that you are in fact special — and then have the mirage fade away right when you go to cash your “I went to Harvard” check. You need to re-learn that going to a prestigious school doesn’t make you special. I figured that out the first time I lost a bar fight at Charlie’s Kitchen; for other Harvard students, it takes more time:
[T]he rejection has greater bite than a reorienting of our student loan repayment schedule. Not everyone who was a summer associate at a Biglaw firm had partner ambitions. Whatever the reasons we may have had for spending the summer of 2009 as a summer associate, the summer ended by confronting us with our deepest fear. Like many people praised for intelligence, talent, and discipline, Harvard Law Students are prone to the paranoia that we will one day be exposed as the frauds we suspect ourselves to be.
“Exposed” as frauds? Honey, that ship sailed long ago. For whatever reason, a lot of Harvard students — Yale students too, in my experience; not Stanford though — spend an awful lot of time trying to explain to the world why they “deserve” to go to Harvard. But it’s an impossible task. Nobody can “earn” the inflated sense of self bestowed on HLS graduates. Don’t believe me? I’ll simply remind you that the President of the United States is an HLS graduate and people argue that he is a fraud.
In any event, you can’t go to HLS and coast on that for the rest of your life. At least not during a recession:
And so we wonder – what mark on our resume is so bad that it outweighs the Crimson H?
We know the market has shrunk, we know the client base has retreated, we know that everyone is suffering, but we also know something else: not every Harvard 3L got no-offered. We did. We didn’t measure up. Maybe the hiring process was arbitrary. Maybe we really had almost no control over some crucial factor. But most of us got here because we’ve been on a long journey, with increasing momentum. And that momentum just evaporated.
You know what your problem is? Believing that the “Crimson H” — sorry, more vomiting — outweighs anything. It does not. It’s a key, as in door opener, not a key as in “solution.”
Unemployed law student will work for $160k plus benefits [Harvard Law Record]