Over the holidays, a certain picture blew up on Reddit. Other bloggers have noted it already, but if you are just getting back into your normal routine, you might have missed it.

It’s just a picture of a guy at what he claims is his first job after getting his law degree. If you are a regular reader of Above the Law, you already know I’m NOT about to show you a picture of a guy in a suit sitting at his desk. But for the uninitiated, this picture is still a jarring reminder of the terrible job market for recent law graduates….

Here’s the picture and attending caption from Reddit:

First job outa law school

Again, around these parts, such stories are not surprising. But the comments on Reddit are all over the map. Some say that the picture is “sad,” some think that it’s a fake, others think that it serves the guy right for not heeding warnings before going to law school. And of course, you had the usual people bemoaning the “entitlement” nature of the kids these days — because how dare they expect to get something useful for all the money they spent on their education.

But one point that you hear a lot from non-lawyers bothered me: the “what else are you going to do” way of thinking. You’ve heard this before. In fact, many of you are in law school because you thought like this: “It’s hard all over, the economy sucks, maybe I don’t really want to be a lawyer, but what else am I going to do with my life?”

I don’t think people should let their lack of intellectual creativity point them in the direction of an expensive education that isn’t worth what law schools are charging for it. It might sound counter-intuitive, but for a lot of people a better career move would be sitting in their mother’s basement for a year figuring out what they actually want to do with their lives before they commit to three years and thousands and thousands of dollars in debt.

One Redditor compared being a lawyer to being a video game developer and noted said that the two industries follow similar trends. Lots of people want in, but only a few will make it, and the work is grueling at the early part of your career. I don’t know much about being a video game developer, but even if we don’t adjust for the three post-college years of incredibly expensive education (and really, you can’t just ignore the cost and time commitment of law school), I’d still imagine that most video game developers want to be video game developers. They have a passion for the medium or the art or the storytelling or whatever.

Conversely, a lot of people in law school and working as lawyers don’t now, nor did they ever want to be lawyers. It’s one of the most maddening things about the legal profession, a whole bunch of people in it would rather not be. They didn’t have burning passion to represent clients or organize documents or draft complex agreements. They just thought, “Well, what else am I going to do?”

Going in to law school because you can’t think of anything better is a ruinous decision when you can’t get a job when you graduate, but it’s also a ruinous decision when you can get a job after you graduate and you end up being something that you never really wanted to be.

First job outa law school [Reddit]


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