Friday, September 26, 2014

100 Book Project: Book #80 - Way Worse than Being a Dentist....

Way Worse than Being a Dentist: The Lawyer's Quest for Meaning
by Will Meyerhofer. J.D., M.S.W.

I picked this book up to fill the restless empty feeling from having finished Kitchen Confidential, not expecting much. Seriously.  A book about lawyers? Whatever.

This book had me hooked from the beginning, and I read it for three hours until I fell asleep holding it, then woke up two hours early to finish it.

 No other non-fiction book has held me so captivated.

 I knew the point of the book in the first twenty pages, and never tired of the author repeating his thesis over and over and over and over using different points, different analogies but with the same conclusion.


Law school isn't for everyone.

It isn't for most people.

There are too  many lawyers, many of them are unhappy, and it's very hard to get a job doing anything after you've been lawyering around, so don't go to law school unless you love law and you can pay for the school without loans.

 This man knows, because he was an excellent student who went to a top tier law school and got a great job with a top firm.

 He soon quit and became a practicing therapist who specializes in helping attorneys and blogging (The People's Therapist. Look him up). The universe gifted this man with great insight,  buckets of compassion, tremendous honesty and a advanced storytelling skills.

The author points out that in the past two decades a situation has emerged where  there are so many law schools (some second and third tier, whose graduates shouldn't even imagine quickly getting a job making what they'd need to make to pay off their loans)  and so much financing that law students are recruited to programs that barely prepare them for the trivia test (The Bar).

 Perfectly smart, wonderful people (who probably don't know what else to do with themselves and have no idea how they will pay off these loans but they magically expect to) go to law school and graduate with $170,000 and more in loans and have to take (and keep) soul destroying jobs to pay the loans that got them the education that landed them these jobs in hell.

One of my favorite parts is the discussion of this career on partnerships where one person works 12-15 hour days at a job they hate (but which is prestigious!!) so they can be the provider to a partner they never see.

 In one passage that is scarier than all the Stephen King books put together Meyerhofer explains:
"At some point, your dreams bifurcated. She still wants all the stuff you used to want together. But now she wants more of it... A bigger house. Private schools. A vacation with the family in the Bahamas. A Mercedes. Summer camp for the kids. You want to sleep -- and to quit this god-awful job. But you know you can't. Ever." (115)
I want you to read this book, and I hope you'll pass it on to everyone you know who is unclear about where they are going and what they want in life.

The author does a great job of distilling great wisdom into advice.
"Creating happiness on your own terms is not like signing up for law school.  That was easy. Taking charge of your life doesn't require just hard work - it takes imagination. This s not a path for the risk-averse.  The good news is you have no choice.  This is not a dress-rehearsal. This is your actual life - the only chance you're going to get to be happy.  If you aren't happy now, you'd better get on the problem, pronto."(179)
Will Meyerhofer's words and insight are worth your attention.

 I'm binge reading his blog now, and savoring every bit of what he has to tell me.