Where is the Instruction Manual?

I wish life came with an instruction manual. Things would be SO much easier. 

Now, that I’m comfortably unemployed I have plenty of time to think about things…a lot of time. I have no idea what I’m going to do when my lease is up at the end of August. I’m not sure if I’ll stay in my new city and take a gamble that the economy will turn around and I’ll be able to find a decent legal job eventually, or if I should move back to the state where I went to law school, or if I should move back to the state where I grew up. I have absolutely no idea what to do. 

If I stay in the city, I could just keep squeaking by financially, unable to afford to go out and meet new people-and spend a year lonely and poor. This fear is heightened by the fact that my sister, E, is interviewing for an awesome job opportunity abroad. I could find myself totally alone in this city, which would be horrible if I find myself down and out again like I was this past winter. Having my sister around really helped me stay sane when I was super bummed and stressed out with life. 

On the other hand, I hate giving up on things. I told myself when I moved to the city that I’d give it at least 3 years to see if  I could make the city home.  I know that I haven’t been able to give my life here a fair shot this past year because all sorts of  factors have been working against my ability to really enjoy my life in this new city. But who is to say that if I stay around another year things would get better? They could feasibly get worse. The economy isn’t really projected to make a turn around for another year at least. I know I won’t be able to really enjoy living here until I can find a job that would support me financially-otherwise there is too much stress that goes along with trying to pay the bills. I’m not sure another year would be worth it if things don’t actually start to turn around for the better. 

I could look to move back to the state where I went to law school. I have friends from law school in the area and it would be great to live close to friends again. Plus, the state is cheaper than where I’m living now. The only problem is that the economy there isn’t really that much better. Many of my friends from law school are in less than ideal situations with their jobs and I’d face the same uphill struggle with finding a job there as I do here. I could just find myself unemployed again, but in a different location. 

One thing that I never thought I’d consider but that I’m seriously considering is moving back to my home state. My home state has the worst economy in the country right now. So that’s definitely a negative. Also, most young people move out of the state when they graduate college. So if I ever want to settle down and get married, I’d probably have to marry some really old guy for his money-simply because there are not very many young people in the state anymore. However, I do have family and friends still in the state. I could possibly hang my own shingle and start my own practice. Also, living there is really affordable. I could maybe even live in a house-which I would love love love. I’m absolutely sick of hearing noisy neighbors when I’m trying to go to sleep.

My concern is that I’m not really sure what my motivation is to move back. I’m not sure if I’m enticed to move back because I’m just tired of everything being so difficult and it’s my way of curling up into a ball and giving up, or if I’m enticed because it offers a possibility of positive change.  I’m not sure if I’d be motivated to move back because of fear or because it really would offer me the best chance of having a happy, content life. Who knows.

Thankfully, I still have a few months to play around with this next step.  

I think that part of the reason a lot of law students are having trouble adjusting to life after school is that so many of us are Type A personalities and are big planners. When the economy tanked, it put a roadblock in our way that we hadn’t planned for. We went to school, we studied hard, we  interned, we took part in activities, not because they were fun, but because they would help us land a job after school (I mean, who actually enjoys cite-checking for journals).  The next step was supposed to be getting a job where we could start to get solid work experience and build our resume. The next step was NOT unemployment, temping at inane jobs, being forced to start our own practices, or giving up on law all together. Now so many of us are scrambling-trying desperately to figure out what we’re supposed to do, how we’re supposed to survive this recession, how we’re supposed to use an expensive degree that promised so much but has so far delivered so little. We’re all looking for an instruction manual to tell us “what now”. I think the difficulty comes from realizing that there is no instruction manual.  No one really knows what we should do. It’s all a gamble. Hopefully, I decide to play the right cards.

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4 Comments

  1. I think you hit the nail on the head there. We all embarked on this road with solid expectations of what would be at the end, but right when we got close, the whole landscape changed and no one knew what to do. I know I’m not in the same boat as you, but there is still rampant paranoia around my office, everyone wondering if today is going to be the day they get the ax. It definitely takes a toll.

    Anyway, I don’t know what to tell you about those three choices. I think your concerns are valid, both related to staying and related to going. Though, if you did move home, wouldn’t you have to take ANOTHER bar? Ick.

    Love you!

    • I would have to take another bar….I think reciprocity takes a few years to kick in. That is certainly something that will play a role in my decision making process. No one enjoys that crazy bar business.

      I hate that even though you have a solid legal job this recession fear is even seeping into your office. There is just no stopping it apparently. Don’t let the hysteria get you down. Hopefully, the paranoia that’s happening around your office will be a lot like the paranoia that surrounded Y2K….a lot of fear for no apparent reason. Maybe you should stock up on canned goods and water though, just in case?

  2. I think this is the cause of our generation – student debt, lack of jobs, lack of healthcare. We’re the first generation in about 60 years that will largely experience downward mobility from the way we were raised. Have you read Anya Kamenetz’s book, Generation Debt? It speaks to these interrelated problems – we’ve invested so much into our educations, and we were promised “the good life” after graduation, only to find out that the economy’s shrinking or, worse, moving to Dubai.

    Good luck with everything! I’m going to add your blog to our blogroll.

    -Mimi Me

    • Our generation should be renamed. Maybe “The Generation that got the Shaft”.

      Thanks for the book suggestion. I’ll have to check it out from the library (since unemployment means no more buying anything).

      Thanks for the add to the blogroll!

      Good luck with your search for “the good life”.


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