July 23, 2003
THIS IS PROBABLY THE WRONG reaction to have, but when I read the Washington Post’s front-page tale of an lawyer who lost his job in June 2001 and has been working as a temp in a cubicle job since December, my thoughts were not “How sad that this fellow hasn’t been able to find a job in over a year” but “Wait a second: he learned Monday that his Level 2 interview for a prominent government job would be a ‘written assignment’ due Thursday at noon, and he didn’t start on the required six essay answers until ‘Wednesday after dinner’?” For heaven’s sake: the man is a lawyer. What exactly was stopping him from using his savings to open his own office and hang out a shingle once the first three months of looking for a job proved fruitless? Or from moving to Cleveland or Cincinnati and finding a public school teaching job? I’m not especially impressed with the “350 resumes” figure, either. That’s less than four resumes a week. What was he doing for the first year of his unemployment that he couldn’t devote himself full time to finding a new job? Even if you wanted to devote your legal unemployment full time to your golf game, there are employer-paid headhunters who will do the work for you (at the risk of losing some job opportunities at the margin when the employer doesn’t want to pay the huge headhunter fees).