Try telling a recent college grad to think critically before applying to law school. Just try to do it. It won’t be long before the young person you are trying to help gets inappropriately angry and shouts, “Well what AM I supposed to do, you fat f**k? Seriously oh wise internet blogger, what the hell am I supposed to do, work at Barnes & Noble? Oh wait, they’re not hiring, a$$hole.”
Yeah, recent college grads tend to act like going to law school (or some other professional school or post-graduate degree program) is their only option in a market that doesn’t have enough jobs. Citing the results of a recent poll taken by Twentysomething Inc., Time reports that 85% of 2011 college graduates are expected to move back in with their parents. (Gavel bang: BL1Y.)
Honestly guys, this is how riots start. Unemployed adults living in forced infancy without enough money to start a family of their own. That’s the tinder that has brought down pretty much every society ever.
The report reiterates what we already know: people are turning to professional school to wait out this terrible job market.
In the face of these numbers… well, I still think that people going to law school simply in response to a difficult job market are making a terrible and ruinous choice. Here’s why….
Look, I know it’s awful out there:
Times are undeniably tough. Reports have placed the unemployment rate for the under-25 group as high as 54%. Many of these unemployed graduates are choosing to go into higher education in an attempt to wait out the job market, while others are going anywhere — and doing anything — for work. Meanwhile, moving back home helps with expenses and paying off student loans.
The outlook isn’t sunshine and roses: Rick Raymond, of the College Parents of America, notes, “Graduates are not the first to be hired when the job markets begins to improve. We’re seeing shocking numbers of people with undergraduates degrees who can’t get work.”
You know what’s worse than walking around with a bunch of college debt and no job? Walking around with college debt and law school debt, when you are three years older and you still can’t find work.
I mean, I know we’re dealing with 22-year-olds — or maybe even teenagers — and I know kids have some problems acting with foresight. But having just spent four years for a degree that didn’t help you get a job, why would you throw away another three years? Doesn’t loading up on ever more expensive degrees without really examining the job market sound suspiciously like making the same mistake twice?
And that doesn’t even get us into the three years of lost opportunity cost. You could mow lawns for three and be in a better financial position than where most people are when they graduate from law school.
I’m not saying being a professional day laborer is better than being a lawyer (that’s a debate for another time), I’m just saying that you can do a lot of things for three years that don’t require you to borrow money.
If you want to wait out the terrible job market, consider waiting. Getting additional education isn’t waiting, it’s doubling down on the bet that “education” is the key to professional success.
If you bust out on the bet, you’re probably going to end up buying street supplies at the pitchfork-and-torches shop — the store that will undoubtedly be owned by a very wealthy guy who started his own business instead of spending a bunch of money and time on professional school.