Undergraduates, listen up, it's time to stop job hunting and start taking an interest in a graduate school education! I know it's still the beginning of the year, but for those of you who are seniors, this is the time to start thinking about your future in the "real world."
The last thing I'd want to do if I was in your shoes is try to find decent work in this lousy job market. Instead, take a deep breath and get ready to do what millions before you who couldn't decide what to do with their futures have done: go to law school.
I feel sorry for all of my compatriots in the class of 2007 who are off getting their MBAs right now. Even if they can get jobs on Wall Street, the days of big bonuses are over. Now, you could study something esoteric, I know of plenty of schools that will pay grad-students a big stipend--as much as $18,000 a year--just to study something like political economy or history. If that's the kind of thing you're interested in, I suggest you spend the next couple of years hiding inside of a university before wading into the private sector.
But for those of you who are money hungry, go to law school. Is it boring? I've heard nothing to suggest otherwise. But if you get into a decent place and get good grades, then you're pretty much in the promised land of $200,000 a year salaries as soon as you graduate.
Plus, if you can get a firm job (a job at a real law firm) over the summer, they take you out to huge, expensive lunches practically everyday in order to court you, so you'll work for them when you finish school. They were doing this 30 years ago, as both my parents attest, and they're still doing it today. My girlfriend, who just took the bar exam this summer, would stuff herself with foie gras every day during these lunches (fortunately she has a very fast metabolism).
That's probably about as decadent as you can hope to get in this job market. A year or two ago, all the law students I knew seethed with envy whenever they talked about the kind of money their friends at business school would bring in, but now the shoe is on the other foot, and to extend that metaphor, the business school foot isn't only shoeless, it's also dying of frostbite and gangrene.
I don't know how long it will take Wall Street to recover, I don't know if the jobs with supercharged bonuses will ever come back, but we'll always need lawyers.
Special bonus info: if you're worried about the hours, go into tax law. There's no such thing as a tax emergency!
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