Sunday, February 15, 2009

It's the economy, stupid!

As graduation looms closer, the halls of law school are filled with worried whispers and furrowed brows. The economy is scaring the crap out of all of us. Workers are watching their 401(k)s dwindling. Companies are trimming off fat and muscle. Law firms are hemorrhaging attorneys by the thousands. People are preparing for a long winter that doesn’t seem to have an end in sight.

People deal with life struggles in all sorts of ways. Humor is an antidote to misery and misery loves company. My classmates and I joke about starting our own law firms, moving to New Zealand, opening up a laundromat-library-bakery, and using our expensive law degrees to flip burgers. There’s a note of seriousness in all of our wild fantasies but mostly, they serve as temporary comic relief to the harsh reality around us.

The economy is like a hazing ritual gone terribly wrong. Now we're all in it together. But rather than shirking our responsibilities and putting off the inevitable, maybe now we can finally confront our problems head on. Today’s economy challenges us to reign in decades of excess spending and to return to a simpler time. Americans should take the time to look inside themselves and to reevaluate their priorities.

I like a good challenge; I like a challenge that unites us. It just inspires me to work harder. I grasp onto hope. Bad times bring out the best and the worst in us; nonetheless, I always believe the good outweighs the bad. I’d hope that when we find ourselves in dire straits, we can reach out to those less fortunate than ourselves.

I don’t carry any job offers into the hazy future; nonetheless, I am still putting in the time and work and trying to secure employment. Maybe I am na├»ve, but I believe that there is always a place for someone who is young and healthy and educated and willing to work hard.

Maybe Evelyn sums it up best when she writes: “I have absolutely no answers though I like to pretend that I do… I feel strangely resigned or not particularly interested in being worried anymore, since it’s been done before and bears no real fruit.” At this point, it’s really too late to complain, to worry, and to bemoan past mistakes. Now is the time to take charge, reevaluate personal budgets, cut back on spending, and get back to what is most important in life.

Of course, I will probably regret writing this when I am forty and still eating week-old spaghetti. Haha!