Ok, let's get something clear. I am not a screw up. Sure, I feel like it sometimes, but let's look at things in perspective. I am not addicted to drugs. I've never been arrested. I do not live in my parents' basement. I have, at one or more points in time, been gainfully employed and been good at what I do. I have attended and graduated from not one, not two, but THREE top 50 universities.
But I'm unemployed. So all of the above go flying out the window and I'm officially a terrible person who is lazy, incompetent, untrustworthy, dishonest and doesn't deserve happiness of any kind until I can be a functioning member of society. Well guess what? That's not MY decision. Someone has to hire ME. Do I wish I could walk in to Barnes and Noble and say "Hey, I'm gonna start working here today, hope that's cool with you" and walk out with a check and hopefully a discount on books (duh)?? YES I DO. Can that happen? NOPE.
Since everyone seems to think I make terrible life decisions, let's go through them individually.
1) Going to law school
Never once did I regret this. Not even when I was trying to not be a lawyer. Law school gave me confidence, knowledge, and the ability to form logical and coherent arguments that have helped me immensely in the years since I graduated. Not only that but I made fabulous friends with whom I still keep in contact. It was an amazing experience regardless of what my potential career might be.
2) Moving to Kansas City
If anyone DOESN'T know about the toxic work environment I left when I quit the prosecutor's office in Texas and moved to Missouri then those people are not allowed to judge ANY PART of my life. And although I moved without a job, I got one within a few weeks, passed the bar, and was hired by my second prosecutor's office within three months.
3) Moving to LA
Here's where people get on my shit. "Oh, you shouldn't have moved to LA without a job." I left my job at the prosecutor's office in January, and I didn't move til July. Guess what I was doing all that time? JOB HUNTING. People aren't super willing to hire someone who can't come in for an interview the next day because they have to catch a plane. They also don't want to pay moving expenses, not that I ever expected that. But I also didn't expect that I would HAVE to move in order to be considered for jobs, which was something that I talked about with my parents at length and they agreed I had a better shot if I was local.
Do you know how many people move to LA without jobs every year? Probably more than any other city in the WORLD. And many of them don't even have degrees, let alone two.
I tried SO HARD to get a job here not being a lawyer. SO HARD. Hundreds of applications. No calls. I did film extra work when I could get it and attempted retail (but the way I was treated by my boss wasn't worth $10/hour and it cost nearly that much to get there from my apartment). When I got my document review jobs, I was angry they were in law, but I kept them because they paid money. The nature of said job is that it is NOT STEADY. However, comparing $30/hour for a few weeks a month versus $10-15 for a steady part time job is a no-brainer when it comes to how much money I could make, so I stuck with the less-reliable work that could pay my rent in one week.
4) Going back to school
At the time I saw no other option. I had stuck myself in a very specific corner of a very specific field and I had no experience doing ANYTHING else. No one would hire me. It took two years of looking for jobs before I realized I had to go back to school so I could get some skills and the career services office and networking potential I needed to get a job.
Regardless of whether or not I intend to do PR ever, grad school was a very necessary turning point in my life - I would never have been diagnosed with PTSD if I hadn't had panic attacks my second semester (thanks, accounting) and I wouldn't have been able to get on the right medication and therapy to finally figure out that it was not LAW that I was averse to, but the fact that I had been severely bullied at my first job so badly that it actually affected how I performed any job after that.
So going back to school was necessary for my diagnosis and subsequent recovery process. Despite my uncertainty, I still applied to HUNDREDS (yes, I kept some count) of marketing/PR jobs all up and down the West Coast. I didn't even limit myself to LA. I was being very open about moving, getting a new job, starting over...well that shit didn't happen.
When I was called in August of last year to work on a doc review project for $32 an hour, I jumped at it, knowing I could still apply for other things and leave if I got a real job.
5) Taking the bar
Ok guys, this is where I got my shit together. Getting my shit together means forming a plan, having a path and an idea of what I am going to do with myself, readying myself for potential jobs, studying my ass off (about as much as I did for Texas, which was a decent amount) for two months. This is where you cannot judge me anymore.
When I took the Texas bar, I was completely unemployed. I spent the whole time either studying or laying by my pool. 90% of the time I was studying for the California bar, I was employed full time. Yes, employed. So I studied AND worked AT THE SAME TIME. If that's not NOT LAZY, I don't know what is. People seem to forget the employed part because it coincided with the other big event in my life.
Now that the bar is over, I have to wait. I don't choose to wait, I HAVE TO. I won't know if I passed or failed until November 20th, and NO ONE will hire me before that. That is not an exaggeration. Because of how hard the CA bar is and the low pass rate, literally no one will hire me as an attorney until I have confirmation that I passed. I had friends in Texas who had a job immediately after the bar that just trusted they would pass. That doesn't happen here. Ever.
There are many many jobs out there that I am qualified for and can apply for once I pass the bar. It is not my fault that the graders take 4 months. It is also not my fault that the doc review job I had ended the week after I took the bar and they haven't had anything new since. I do not control the ebb and flow of document review.
As for people telling me to get "any job," let me break it down for you - I either a) leave everything on my resume and don't get called back or b) take everything off my resume and don't get called back because I have a gap of 11 years (assuming I keep college on there). What the fuck was I doing for 11 years? Was I in prison? Was I in a mental hospital? What am I hiding? Do you see why they wouldn't want to even bother with me when they have Tom who has a very straightforward resume that says he worked at Best Buy and Coffee Bean?
Also LA is PRIME for people without degrees having way too many skills in a certain area - see: waiting tables. When I first got here, every single place said they wanted a year of experience to wait tables, some even to HOSTESS. That's because there's too many actors who have been doing it for 10 years and are really damn good at it to hire someone like me and have to train me and then watch me leave in six months when I get a "real" job. Bartenders always need 5+ years experience. I'm not shitting you guys. The most competitive industry out here is the service industry because people work in it for years before they move back home realizing they're never going to "be discovered."
I'm sorry you don't agree with my "lifestyle choices." I'm sorry I don't own property, or have a retirement account, or even a savings account. I'm sorry I don't fit the correct mold of what a 33-year-old should be doing. I'm sorry I bitch on Facebook. That doesn't mean I'm looking for your opinion of how I should live my life, I just need to vent. Or maybe someone would see it and be like "hey, my job has a part time opening, I can put in a good word" - THAT is helpful. Or "I'm sorry you're having a tough time, it'll be over soon."
Let me tell you something. My parents, despite all that I've needed them for way past the time I should have needed them, are PROUD of me. They tell me this. I tell them I'm a screw up and they tell me I'm not. My grandma is PROUD of me, and trust me, that woman would tell me if I was screwing up.
You know who matters? They matter. They know what I've been through and how hard I've tried at everything. They've seen my whole journey for 33 years and know EVERYTHING. They have the right to judge me because they have all the information - but they don't. They just love me. And a certain few special friends who have been at least understanding throughout this whole thing, you don't know how much I appreciate you.