Craigslist, Job Searches, Law Schools, Suicide

Lawyer Threatens Suicide If No Job Is Secured By New Year’s

It’s only funny if it’s NOT true.

I really hope this Craigslist post can be filed under “ridiculous hyperbole” as opposed to “true story.”

A person has placed an ad on the Los Angeles Craigslist board with the subject line: “I will literally kill myself if I don’t have a job by New Year’s.” The lawyer then goes on to explain his professional experience and to express his willingness to do anything that carries with it a salary or hourly wage.

I’m not at all sure that threatening extreme action is the best way to secure a position as a trusted advisor capable of exercising discretion under pressure. And I think that history has shown that things like hunger strikes are more effective at engendering sympathy than straight-up threats of self-martyrdom.

But it is a tough market out there, and I suppose this is one way to get at least a few employers to give you a second look….

Aside from the subject line, the Craigslist ad is a pretty standard “will review documents for food” kind of posting we’re used to seeing. Here’s the screenshot (click to enlarge):

Well… that’s disturbing. I sincerely hope this guy (or gal) is just being extreme in order to be noticed. But what really rings true to me is the edit:

Edit: I appreciate people contacting me with well wishes, or offering advice on how to find a job, but trust me, I have made every effort any of you have recommended to find a job, all with no luck. I am an extrovert with no friends or family, so I will be homeless and hungry if I don’t have a job by January 1. Please do not contact me unless you are hiring. Thank you.

I don’t think people realize how warmed-over “job advice” is received by people who have been actively searching. People act like “networking” is a solution, when really it’s just a tactic, a tactic that often fails when there are simply too many attorneys for not enough jobs. Similarly, telling this person to “hang out a shingle” is a useless platitude: either he has the wherewithal and capital to go into business for himself or he doesn’t. Most people can’t work themselves out of poverty by seeing clients out of their motel room. And telling a person who is trying to stave off homelessness to “take an unpaid internship for experience and contacts” isn’t just unhelpful, it’s insulting.

So much of turning a law degree into a viable livelihood involves luck. It’s not about how hard he’s been working or how skillful he is, it’s just dumb luck. Posting something like this just might be the kind of thing that makes some employer think about giving him a “lucky break,” from which he might be able to rebuild his life.

Assuming he’s joking. If he’s serious… well, I’m probably not the right guy to talk anybody off of the ledge. All I can say is that being a homeless non-lawyer still seems better to me than being a dead non-lawyer. Once you’re dead, you’re in a market beyond the reach of luck. I would hope that somebody can tell this guy that being broke and living off the charity of others (or what’s left of the social safety net) is still preferable to death. “Become a lawyer or die trying” is not an expression anybody should take literally.

The very real possibility of homelessness must be frightening. But people can come back from homelessness. People can recover from debt and bad decisions. But nobody can come back from death. Hopefully this guy can find some help regardless of whether or not he finds a job.

I will literally kill myself if I don’t have a job by New Year’s (Los Angeles) [Craigslist]

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