Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

If I Can Make It There

with one comment

Total Black: $2,647.57
Total Red: $228,960.74

Just started my morning reviewing documents and came across an analyst report that cited ol’ Blue Eyes in its title. Got me thinking.

There’s truth to the old song. If I can make it in New York, presumably I can make it anywhere, right? This has got to be one of the toughest cities in the country. Perhaps being a politician in Washington, D.C. is comparable. But just scratching by in New York is difficult.

It’s funny to have just seen that lyric reference. I’m in New York because of that advice: everyone said to move here, that you can always downgrade from New York to another location, that it’s more difficult to break in here after having practiced for a while elsewhere. In retrospect, their snobbism is apparent. I had an offer to work at a small law firm in Washington, D.C. I passed it up for the big city lights. Might have been happier in D.C. But I had been making it here. Associate at a large, international law firm. Six figure salary. Black sedan car rides home in the evenings. Business travel abroad. But is that really “making it”?

What does it mean to make it? Plenty of celebrities made it big only to end up penniless or out of favor. Or both. Politicians make it big only to end up defenestrated later. Certainly the only measuring stick applicable here is your own. So how do I know when I’ve made it?

Getting out of debt isn’t it. Really this year is a test. A chance to see what I’m made of, to see if I can stick to something and see it through to the end, to test myself. And let me tell you the amount of self-restraint it requires to not grab the two thousand dollars above and throw it at my four thousand dollar student loan and just slash it in half. But that’s a separate matter. And returning to BigLaw isn’t it. Once bitten, twice shy there. Sure having a lot of money would be good, but then you just end up worrying about losing it.  Making it for me would mean making a significant difference in the world. Leaving a lasting impact. It would probably involve a few minor “made-its” along the way: benchmarks of success like a judicial clerkship, a prestigious job, published articles, in demand for speaking gigs / presenting at conferences. And then ultimately becoming a judge.

At least right now, that is.

For the longest time I fought this city. Now I’m wondering if that’s necessary any longer. I’m here. I am making it, if only in the most fundamental sense of that phrase. And I know that since I have already made it here, I can make it anywhere. So maybe it’s time to drop these little town blues I’ve been whining about and make that brand new start of it. I’m here for the foreseeable future.

It’s all up to you, New York. Time to make it, if only for a short while longer!

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

February 18, 2010 at 08:58

One Response

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  1. What’s that saying?
    You should leave California before you get too soft.
    You should leave New York before you get too hard.

    If you stay in New York long enough your heart does get hard. Yikes just looking at the ugly people on the subway is enough!! Even if I am having a nice day just a glimpse of those hard cold surly faces makes me feel sick.


    February 18, 2010 at 19:21

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