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Gradenfreude: Four Hundred Ninety-Nine Job Applications Later, and I’m Still Working in Retail

There are certain milestones or achievements that are rarely obtained. Many times, people strive for these marks as a way to showcase their skill and talent, carefully crafted after years of hard work. For example, in baseball, there’s the perfect game or a fifty home run season, which was a lot more impressive before Brady Anderson did it.

There are also other, less desirable distinctions that many people earn for themselves. Like the 2008 Detroit Lions or Mark Sanchez, many are remembered for just how epically they fail. Unfortunately, I reached a distinction in that category this weekend.

As you all know, I’ve been feebly attempting to find a job for the past several months. Excluding the instant, automatic email responses, all of my efforts during that time have resulted in two interviews, a handful of “we will keep your application on file for future positions, but for now, go f**k yourself” emails, a pretty impressive kill/death ratio in Call of Duty Black Ops 2, and a lot of dead zombies. Also, I am pretty sure that I made one of my interviewers remember to forget my phone number after I possibly called a few too many times as his office no longer even bothers picking up the phone for me.

As for my accomplishment, I’ve amassed a rather long list of employers that have passed on employing me since late summer/early fall. Well, I haven’t kept an exact count on the total, but based on the number of cover letters that I still have saved on my computer, it looks like I’ve applied to 499 jobs….

I don’t know about everyone else, but to me that seems like a lot. What’s even more disheartening is the fact that not all of those jobs have been attorney positions. I’ve also attempted to find work as a paralegal, a legal assistant, a private investigator, and in a laundry list of government positions at a variety of levels. Having such a dishonorable statistic attributable to my name is quite depressing.

In an attempt to cope, I’ve decided to write my next cover letter in honor of this momentous event, and I’m going to share it with you now.


Dear Sir/Madam,

My name is Tristan Taylor Thomas and I recently graduated from a law school that’s currently ranked somewhere between Yale and Cooley. First, I would like to take the time to congratulate you. You are extremely lucky as you are my five hundredth potential employer. That’s right, I am offering you the opportunity of a lifetime, which has only been turned down four hundred ninety nine times so far.

The position that I would like to apply for is office bitch. I am willing to do anything that you need, and nothing is off limits as long as I can add your firm to my résumé. I have extensive training and education that I gained both before and after graduating. Many of the skills I have acquired will be helpful to the firm should I be hired. I have become accustomed to bending over and taking it from the federal government, and I feel that I can apply this skill to anyone in a superior position. I have also mastered the art of facing products, so the office kitchen and supply cabinets will always be clean and organized.

In addition to your office needs, I would also like to extend my services to your home. Since graduating, I have created a house cleaning business. My business only has one customer, but she is very happy with the service and in exchange, I receive a very nice benefits package, including room, board, and notes tucked into my lunch bag. Should I be hired, I will offer these services, day or night, no questions asked, at no additional charge. I have also become very good at video games, so if you have a child that you don’t want to spend time with, I am available for that as well.

Additionally, I have other skills that I was just recently informed of by a very educated group of people connected with the website “Above the Law” that you should be aware of. First, I have little to no testicles, if in fact I was actually born a male. This is best evidenced by the substantial amount of bitching that I do, without taking matters into my own hands and opening up my own firm (but without any money to my name and massive debt already accumulated). I have terrible writing skills, so editing or drafting documents will not be possible. I also have very poor decision-making skills, which you already knew since I went to a TTT.

Even though I feel that my résumé and cover letter speak for themselves, I can make myself available for a meeting or interview at your pleasure. As evidenced by my previous application history, I realize that responding to every desperate law grad is a difficult task, so in order to save you valuable time, I’ll offer to assume your acceptance of my employment with your firm. As such, if I do not hear otherwise from you within one week of your receipt of this cover letter, my employment will begin immediately.

I look forward to seeing you next week, Boss.

Thank you,

Tristan Taylor Thomas

When not writing about life after law school for Above the Law, Tristan Taylor Thomas (not his real name) works at a retail job stocking shelves — which he admits is slightly better than being a shoeshiner. You can reach him by email at

(hidden for your protection)

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