Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Recent Law Graduate: At a Crossroads (Librarianship or Government) and I Don't Know What to Do

Hi Everyone. I'm 26 years old. I'm a really blessed pe seanha07/23/17
get a full time paying job, in any field, and support yourse whiteguyinchina07/23/17
Thanks for your response. So, what about government jobs? seanha07/23/17
definitely. anything. the thing with experience is, it alway whiteguyinchina07/23/17
Three words: University of Washington. hairypalms07/23/17
We all have dreams. Eventually you have to come down to real mrtor07/24/17
LOL. I adore the advice here. OP, if you want to be a librar wolfman07/24/17
Sean, Not understanding your issue. What do you want to d nighthawk07/24/17
Hi Nighthawk, Thanks for your reply. It's not that I don seanha07/24/17
There are transactional legal jobs that entail research. Man nighthawk07/24/17
Take the librarian gig. isthisit07/24/17
What I get from this is that you want: A: to live in Hawa y2zipper07/24/17
Thank you so much! Very reassuring advice. seanha07/24/17
If you get the job in the library, I'd do the library degree soupcansham07/24/17
My greatest regret in life is not becoming a librarian. therewillbeblood07/24/17
seanha (Jul 23, 2017 - 10:33 pm)

Hi Everyone.

I'm 26 years old. I'm a really blessed person, but I am still burdened with fear. I recently graduated Boyd Law School in Las Vegas on May 13, 2017 with no debt. Never took out a student loan. I am currently living with my parents until I can secure employment and finally get the autonomy I want. My parents are so patient with me, but I have no patience with myself in getting my life on the way. I plan to take the Hawaii bar exam rather than Nevada's in February 2018 because I intend to live close to my family in Hawaii by the end of next year. Recently, I've grown inspired with the prospect of becoming a law librarian as I love legal research and libraries from having worked two years at a library. My career goal now is to become a law librarian at an academic or a government organization in Hawaii, while also perhaps getting the opportunity to teach a course on Cyberlaw as the literature on the subject grows in the future. I've recently applied for an Adult Services Specialist at my local public library that I'm thinking of accepting because of my two years' experience for the purposes of gaining more circulation and reference experience. I've also been thinking about either volunteering or applying for work at the library at Boyd Law School or UNLV's if there are any opportunities available.

I've been applying to jobs in Hawaii and Henderson, NV for the last three months. I got a Skype interview with the State of Hawaii (but no offer), and one bite with a law firm in Las Vegas. I know Hawaii is incredibly insular and pricey, so I've decided to perhaps wait it out for a year until my parents finally settle in Hawaii and I can transition with them to find employment there. Although, I continue to apply for jobs in Hawaii in case something hits. I decided not to take the Las Vegas position as it was too far from my home in Henderson, and the work and the attorneys seemed unpleasant. Additionally, I contacted the faculty at the law library at Boyd Law School, and they expressed interest with me wanting to help volunteer or work at the library while helping me out with my career goals. I've been looking into Law Librarian Fellowships, such as the one in Arizona, for prospectively getting a Master's in Library Science next year. Alternatively, if I get the job at my local public library, I might just get a Master's in Library Science online while studying for the Hawaii bar exam in February 2018 to get those credentials under my belt. So, by the time I'm 28, I'll have passed the bar, worked at my public library for another year, and gotten a Master's. Then, I would be moving with my family to Hawaii.

So, I'm at a big crossroads in my life, and I have no idea what I should do RIGHT NOW. I'm really anxious, fearful if I take the wrong path it could screw up my future. I'm hoping that the federal government, state or academia jobs in Hawaii might come through, because the job security is so good. I recently applied for the "Recent Graduate" program in Human Resources, and the starting pay is really nice. I've firmly decided I don't want to take the traditional career path and become an attorney with no work/life balance and being constantly stressed. I want to do something more meaningful in my life than draft motions all day and deal with a-hole opposing counsels. I'm a mild-mannered, introverted type of guy, so the adversarial side to law has kind of turned me off to that profession.

Thus, could anyone please give me any advice what I should do? Or is what I'm trying to do sound like a good plan for the time being? Should I do a fellowship in Library Sciences or should I simply get volunteer experience at my law school library while getting an online degree in Library Science while working at my local public library for another year? Or should I enroll in the "Recent Graduate" program in Human Resources for the federal government in Hawaii if I should get accepted?

Any advice, counsel, reassurance, criticisms, are welcome.

Thank You,

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whiteguyinchina (Jul 23, 2017 - 10:44 pm)

get a full time paying job, in any field, and support yourself. stop going to school. now there is a premium in the labor market for actual real life work experience, not internships, fellowships, volunteer positions, or certificates/degrees.

sounds like you are doubling down on a law degree to be a law librarian. so if the law librarian thing doesn't work out, you would be a regular librarian? do you want to be a librarian at any cost? how portable is a MS in library science degree? seems like it is even more narrow than a law degree.

seems like you want to be near family and have a decent life. there are many ways to earn money in the world, and just because you get a master's of science in X, doesn't mean you'll ever work in X industry.

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seanha (Jul 23, 2017 - 10:55 pm)

Thanks for your response. So, what about government jobs? The "Recent Graduate" program for human resources where you get your foot in the door, and it can lead to job security with a long-term career in government where you move laterally through the departments. Is that a good alternative as well?

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whiteguyinchina (Jul 23, 2017 - 11:31 pm)

definitely. anything. the thing with experience is, it always broadens your opportunities. so if you find out you dislike HR govt work you already have 1) govt work 2) HR work under your belt. so you can then try to apply for other govt depts. playing up #1 or try to apply for private companies playing up #2. even apply to private cos. playing up your govt experience in general. maybe there is a developer in HI who needs help getting permits from the bureaucracy and someone who understands administrative things and how the govt grinds can be useful.

always always get work experience over volunteer or internships, unless those internships/fellowships are amazing. volunteer work at your uni law library is not. fellowship under a supreme court justice is. you know what I mean.

to be honest, I don't think you can think of 'long term careers' anymore and I don't think its appropriate for someone your age who just got out of school. if you don't want to do law, then you should try to get as broad of experience as possible and find a niche you like.

a JD has usefulness for many other positions, except that it becomes useful typically only after you have worked in those positions for a while. so it's not really useful for entry level to those posts, but it's never a bad thing to have a law degree under your belt. so don't feel like you completely abandon your law degree by doing something unrelated. pass the bar, and look at your options.

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hairypalms (Jul 23, 2017 - 11:24 pm)

Three words: University of Washington.

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mrtor (Jul 24, 2017 - 9:41 am)

We all have dreams. Eventually you have to come down to reality. At 26 years old, you shouldn't be some third wheel chasing your parents around the globe. You are never going to mature, settle down, or start your own family if you're always clinging to your parents. You need to get out on your own, find work wherever you can, and support yourself.

FWIW, librarians are a dying profession. There will probably always be a few, but the field is contracting at breakneck pace as it is supplanted by technology. And, let's face it, few other professions are actively seeking librarians or their skills, so exit options are null.

Another hard reality is that you will probably never find a profession with truly meaningful work. Associate attorneys drum up petty disputes to over-bill their clients. Government attorneys half-ass everything knowing they can get away with it and that their omnipotent client will never suffer any tangible harm. Human resources pushes paper and fields baseless employee complaints. When it comes down to it, you simply punch the clock, enjoy as many aspect of your job as you can, and find happiness outside of your work in your family, friends, and hobbies.

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wolfman (Jul 24, 2017 - 9:58 am)

LOL. I adore the advice here. OP, if you want to be a librarian, you should probably do that. If you want to be a lawyer, you should probably do that. The two are very different.

I don't know anyone who really wants to be an HR person, but if that's you, by all means....

One of the reasons this board exists is because too many people thought law was the safe responsible choice. It's anything but... unless, and only unless, you really want to be a lawyer.

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nighthawk (Jul 24, 2017 - 10:36 am)


Not understanding your issue. What do you want to do? You don't have debt and are willing to live with your mom and dad. You don't like law. Then you should become a librarian. Apply to public libraries, universities and places that hold archives. Stay in Nevada for the time being and then go to Hawaii.

If you want to be a lawyer then we can talk about that.

Best regards,

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seanha (Jul 24, 2017 - 2:23 pm)

Hi Nighthawk,

Thanks for your reply. It's not that I don't like the law. I really like the study, research, and investigative aspects to law. I just don't like the litigious angle and having no work/life balance. I'd rather have a more balanced lifestyle, one that allows me to still do intellectually challenging work. I really want my autonomy, however I don't mind being close to my parents in Hawaii. My father is planning on building a separate room/house on the property for me and my future wife (if it ever so happens I get married). What I was thinking is combining my experiences in libraries with my legal work experience and education to pursue more academic or research related opportunities. If that does not come to past, then I don't mind working for the federal or state government in Hawaii.

I probably will stay in Nevada for the time being, take the Hawaii bar exam as a credential and for showing the Hawaiian people I'm committed to staying in Hawaii, then eventually move to Hawaii with my parents and take whatever opportunities are available.

Thanks again.

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nighthawk (Jul 24, 2017 - 5:21 pm)

There are transactional legal jobs that entail research. Many of those transactional jobs are in house where people do not work ridiculous hours. I don't understand why you are hung up on governmental work. There is a world out there that you are not pursuing.

Not clear, but seems to me that you feel guilty about going to law school and going the librarian route and want a JDU stamp of approval for becoming library guy. Perhaps you think it is beneath a lawyer to become a librarian.

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isthisit (Jul 24, 2017 - 11:17 am)

Take the librarian gig.

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y2zipper (Jul 24, 2017 - 2:52 pm)

What I get from this is that you want:

A: to live in Hawaii close to your parents.
B: to have a job there that offers you some work-life balance.

It's good that you have these goals, but you also seem unsure how to connect these into something you can do as your career, and right now that's perfectly okay.

First, the mental stuff. You have nothing to fear or be super-anxious about. It takes a long time for your career to get going sometimes, longer than ever now for most people, but you have no students loans and parents that are willing to support you. As long as those things are true, you really can't make a decision that's going to screw up your life unless you decide to get convicted of a felony really soon. :-) Take advantage of the fact that you are ahead of the game here and try to figure it out.

Whiteguyinchina is right about one thing: you need work experience. If the offer to have paid work is on the table, you have to take that and then schedule whatever else you want to do on the side. Paid experience is always a good thing because you don't want any gaps in your resume and as said above, experience broadens you. You can also volunteer on the side if you find yourself interested in something. Take the paid gig now and if you really want to move to Hawaii with your parents, keep applying for jobs and move when they move. If your goal is to be in HI and they're moving there, there's nothing wrong with moving with them.

What I'd say RE: "intellectually challenging work" is that I'm not really sure it exists in the day-to-day of any career, which is the part of a job you should try to learn about no matter what you feel like you want to do. If you can, shadow somebody or volunteer somewhere where you can see how the work gets done every day. That gives you better insight to what you're doing as a job when you take a job.

As far as more school goes, I would say don't go to school unless it is going to qualify you for a specific license or credential that you need for a position.

I guess what I'm trying to say is...

1. Stop worrying so much.
2. Take paid experience because you can get it now. (This should be what you do immediately)
3. Explore and figure out what kind of job gives you what you want while you're working.
4. Profit.

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seanha (Jul 24, 2017 - 3:48 pm)

Thank you so much! Very reassuring advice.

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soupcansham (Jul 24, 2017 - 4:47 pm)

If you get the job in the library, I'd do the library degree online while working.

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therewillbeblood (Jul 24, 2017 - 5:09 pm)

My greatest regret in life is not becoming a librarian.

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