Sunday, August 26, 2007

Because "Legally Brunette" doesn't have the same ring to it

Do you ever wonder if people suggest you should enter a specific career because it's either what they do or what they want to do? In "The Graduate," Benjamin was urged into the growing field of plastics, probably because Mr. McGuire had found some amount of personal satisfaction and monetary gain in the field of plastics. Likewise, I suspect my grandmother's sporadic suggestions that I become a lawyer stem partly to her own thwarted (the 1940s and the Nazis tended to derail women's dreams of the bar) career aspirations.
This advice comes with recognition of my opinionated nature and my lack of fear about voicing said opinions, and with praise of my ridiculous ability to memorize seemingly useless information. All skills that serve a lawyer well. However, my grandmother also knows I recently graduated with two master's degrees in fields wholly unrelated to law - she even went to my graduation ceremonies - and knows I have two years left on a commitment to working in Jewish federations.
My standard protests to her prodding include the financial (I never paid for undergrad or grad school so why start paying tuition now?), the chronological (I'll be 29 when I finish my existing indentured servitude, putting me a few years beyond the average first-year law student) and the self-preservational (why subject myself to endless lawyer jokes?). Beyond that, I simply have no interest in pursuing the legal professions.
All this career-based navel gazing has, well, made me navel gaze about what I really do want to do with my life. I do enjoy working for some sort of greater good, no matter how disconnected I sometimes feel from that lofty goal. So in the short term, I definitely see myself doing some sort of nonprofit, foundation or philanthropy-type job; likely with a development and fundraising focus. Beyond that - who knows?
My fanciful notions range from wine store owner (with my sister) to professional foodie to paint chip color namer (seafoam frost anyone?). With full understanding of my original statement that people often recommend either their own jobs or their optimal jobs to those soliciting career paths - anyone got some ideas for me???

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi darlin,

No ideas for you, but I will tell you that as a lawyer's daughter, I too have had the same half-baked advice thrown my way as well. My mom says I would be a good lawyer because I'm argumentative. That said (or typed), she also once told me that I was pursuing a career in medicine because I'm materialistic. Obviously not the best mother-daughter understanding existing there.

However, it does bring up an interesting point, that our parents/grandparents/older relatives tend to give unsolicited career advice when they stumble across something they think we'd be "good at." My grandmother recently advised my horrified sister, who is a journalism student, that she would be "good at" being an airline attendant. Now, because my sister is cute and friendly and I'm sure could be talked into wearing a tacky shade of orange lipstick, I'm sure she would make a good airline attendant, if she temporarily lost her mind and wanted to do such a thing. It just seems that the desire to pursue a given career doesn't seem to enter the equation when a family member is poring over the classifieds on an unwitting lovely lady's behalf. I'm reminded of the scene from I Heart Huckabees, when Albert's mom tries to show him an article she cut out on marketing internships.

Chin up. I find people jobs all day long, and never, not once, has a candidate called me after I've placed them to say, "Thank you so much for this opportunity! It's exactly what my grandmother told me I'd love doing!"

Talk soon,