I should preface for anyone new here that I started this blog while I was in law school. That’s where the name came from: the second year of law school is called “2L” and it’s a play on words with being fed up with stress and bs. On top of the craziness of school (at one point I was concurrently enrolled in law school and two masters programs), I was diagnosed with a pretty serious, chronic health condition at the start of my 2L year.
I got so sick that I took a year-long medical leave of absence to figure out what was going on . . . and over the course of that year, I didn’t think I’d physically be able to go back to school. Forget about graduating, taking the bar, or ever becoming a practicing attorney. I started 2LWithIt as a space to deal with (and document) my diagnosis (which has since become a whole slew of diagnoses). It wasn’t until years after my diagnosis that I realized how many young adults, like myself, deal with chronic health issues (but hardly ever talk about them). That’s something I wanted to change by writing this blog.
Fast-forward to now and I’ve graduated from law school (yay), passed the bar exam (on my first try; double yay), and have started to apply to full-time jobs. After everything that’s happened, I thought applying to jobs would be the easy part. The daily volatile flares, exploded veins and countless IVs, hospital stays, ER visits, and everything in-between was the hard part.
Well, I was wrong. That’s not to say I’d prefer a spinal tap over a job rejection, but the experience I’m about to talk about is up there with shit I wish I hadn’t had to deal with. But there’s no point in complaining, because maybe my story will help someone else out there . . . at least that’s the goal.
I’m not sure if it’s the over-saturated job market, or the stark reality that the average time frame for a law grad getting full-time employment (from the time of graduation) is twelve months, but when you’re a new law grad and you get a job offer, that’s a big freaking deal.
Needless to say, when I heard I’d been offered an interview at this firm, I was pretty stoked. Like, I’ve been applying to places left and right (more seriously since I got my license), and in an instant I got this rush of validation that everything I’d been working towards was finally going to pay off.
And then that elation quickly turned into frustration and anger, because less than 48 hours after the job offer was extended, it was rescinded.
WELL. You know the saying, “if something looks too good to be true, it probably is?” This opportunity did and it was and I’m writing about it because I don’t think people talk enough about what it takes to get a “great job.” Sometimes you have to schlep through some shit to get there, and tbh this feels like some shit, ya feel me?
This post is for anyone who doesn’t think they’re enough. There’s nothing quite like getting a job and then having it taken away in the same week to make you feel like complete and utter garbage.
But you know what, you aren’t garbage.
And no employer, or job, or anything else should make you question that. Even though this experience made me question my worth, it also made me realize what had just happened was one hundred percent for the best.
So, if you’re having a shitty Wednesday and want a little cheering up, here’s how it all went down.
I was pretty stoked when I got the call that I’d been offered a second interview. I was so nervous for the first one, my fiancé offered to go with me. To put it in context, it was nearly an hour away, so I was pretty nervous about making the drive to begin with (ya know, anxiety issues related to a car accident years ago, blah blah blah).
Everything went smoothly during both interviews. The office manager was super excited when I walked out of the first one, and the owner was equally (if not more) excited when I left the second interview; so much so, both she and the receptionist said “we’ll see you very soon.”
I was excited. For the first time since graduating from law school, I could picture myself as a real Elle Woods. All of those years of studying, all that gnarly bar prep, it would all be worth it.
I got a job offer two hours later over the phone via the recruiter who had set up the interview.
Fast-forward two more days and I received an email from the recruiter asking me to call her, followed by a phone call saying the offer was rescinded.
WTF. WHAT HAPPENED?
Well, when I got the call that I’d been offered the position, how I was such an incredible fit, the office manager and boss absolutely loved me and were impressed by me, yadda yadda yadda, I started to ask questions.
Before signing any kind of contract or giving a definite “yes,” I wanted to know what I was getting myself into. HELLO, I’M A FRICKEN LAWYER. I READ ALL THE DANG FINE PRINT (usually, not always, but sometimes . . . and definitely if it’s for my first post-grad job).
I’d been given conflicting information about work hours during the interviews, so I asked to clarify: “Is it 8 to 4, with some days working late?” “Or do I work 7 to 7 every day?” “What kind of work/life balance do employees actually get?”
I thought that these were reasonable questions that any employer should be able to honestly answer. I was interested in the job and working hard was never an issue, but I didn’t want to become a recluse in a closet that’s glued to a phone at all times, even when out of the office. The owner mentioned something about needing to answer calls and texts at any time, day or night. I’ve never heard of any of my lawyer friends doing this unless they’re in criminal law and in charge of charging things that can happen in the middle of the night, like DUIs and domestic violence charges . . . so I asked questions about that. That’s not to say lawyers can’t be on-call for their jobs, but this position was 100% transactional, so there weren’t any trials or crazy urgent matters; it was just paperwork, nothing more, nothing less.
I asked about vacation time, because the owner made a comment during my interview that “she was never going to let another employee leave during the holidays because it’s too inconvenient.” Um, what? Okay, let me just tell my family I’ll never see them again because my boss isn’t okay with me planning a vacation nearly a year in advance with lots of notice (and obviously getting work done ahead of time to make up for being gone).
Then I was told by the recruiter that the owner of the law firm didn’t want me to give my current job any notice (at all). I needed to start right away, no exceptions. I thought this was a little bizarre, because any job I’ve worked, or know friends have worked, it’s not only standard to provide time to consider the offer, but it’s common courtesy for new employees to be able to give notice to their current employers.
It blew my mind that I was being asked to leave my current boss hanging when I’ve worked with him for almost two years. Looking back now, this was some shady shit.
In hindsight, it was just one red flag after another, but I was willing to make it work because it felt like a good opportunity. At the end of the day, I just wanted to see what the offer looked like on paper.
In total, I think I spent six hours interviewing for this position. Four of those hours had been in the car, trekking back and fourth; two hours had been in-person conversations with the owner and office manager.
On top of all this, in order to work with the recruiter, I had to jump through all kinds of hoops, like:
-typing tests (apparently I can type around 110 words per minute; I guess that’s a fun party fact)
-legal spelling and vocab tests (like, if I took and passed the bar exam, IMO this is pretty redundant)
-Microsoft word exams (I literally had to prove I know how to copy and paste shit)
-a fluency test (to prove I can speak another language; IMO not the best way to evaluate this, but made more sense than some of the other tests), and
-a video interview (to submit to clients; SO awkward and borderline discriminatory because I don’t think jobs shouldn’t be picking candidates based on race/gender/etc.; they said it was to get to know the candidates’ personalities, but I literally just gave a synopsis of my resume).
HINDSIGHT IS 20/20
Looking back at the situation now, I think the whole thing was extremely unprofessional and shady AF. I’m writing this down because I know in a month, six months, a year from now, it won’t be relevant because I’ll probably (hopefully) be at a great job. But right after going through all of this, the whole experience made me feel really shitty. Like, questioning if I even wanted to become an attorney. Why did this happen to me? The whole bit.
Here I was, built up by everyone involved in the process (all the staff at the law firm, the recruiter and all her staff, etc.), only to be told I didn’t get the job because “I asked too many questions.” Literally, that’s what came out of the recruiter’s mouth. Not that I wasn’t qualified. Not that I wasn’t a good fit. That I asked too many dang questions.
I want other people out there to know you should never take a job because you feel pressured or obligated to do so. I wasn’t comfortably blindly signing onto something I didn’t know more about.
Honestly, no job should tell you to shut up and sign the contract without explaining what their expectations of you are.
Some opportunities fall apart so better ones can fall into place. You’d better believe I’ve been reciting that to myself since this happened.
After all was said and done, I ended up telling the recruiter I didn’t want to work with her anymore. Aside from all of the frustration caused by this flop of a job offer, I hadn’t been too thrilled with how her and her staff ran things. She had called me several times really late at night (like 10pm, late). She had told me I had to be available for interviews at the drop of the hat. I had to call her office before and after every interview; sometimes multiple times before and after. She had made it seem like everything was so urgent, so much so, I came back early from a trip because the office manager had to meet me on a specific day and it couldn’t wait until the following week.
The whole thing, in hindsight, was rushed and ultimately made me feel super uncomfortable. I guess the moral of the story is if something doesn’t feel right, trust your gut; that knot at the bottom of your stomach might be more than indigestion from last night’s dinner. GI jokes aside, there will always be more opportunities for jobs, relationships, experiences, whatever you’re looking to make happen. It’s shitty to say this, but sometimes you just have to ride out all the crap that comes your way to realize everything truly happens for a reason.
Maybe the saying’s true: “good things come to those who wait.” Or maybe it should say, “good things come to those who deal with a lot of bullshit first.”