Wednesday, January 26, 2011

One Reader's Plea to Michelle Obama...

Michelle Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

January 26, 2011

Dear Mrs. Obama:

Pretend you’re taking a walk with me; that we’re just two people chatting. I’d like to ask you some questions.  Can we speak honestly?

Arguably, an education is the most important thing a person can have. The day I graduated from Law School was the biggest day of my life, and it always will be. Some of my friends think it will be replaced by my wedding day. But I disagree because no one can ever take my education away from me.

I am proud of my degree, considering 1/3 of US students don’t graduate high school, and only about 3% of Americans receive a doctorate degree (US Census Bureau 2006). But I’m sure you already know these statics. And you know all too well how hard it is to get into law school, complete law school, and pass the bar exam, and no one can take those accomplishments from me.

You might even agree, since you’ve been quoted as saying that an education will make children better people, and give them a better, brighter future. You’ve said that as Americans we need to encourage children to dream a little bigger and reach a little higher (Your speech honoring the recipients of the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards).  Your husband has said, “Education is … a prerequisite to prosperity,” and that, “In the coming decades, a person’s success in life will depend more and more … on a higher education.”

At the Anacostia High School commencement you said, “Part of being a mature and functioning adult in this society is realizing that life is a series of trade-offs. If you want a career that pays a good salary, then you have to work hard. You've got to be on time; you've got to finish what you start.” Mrs. Obama, I’ve always agreed and believed in everything you said.  I’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I worked hard. I’m always on time and I have ALWAYS finished what I started. I watched as my friends started to get married and have children, while I hardly had time to leave the law school library to go on a date.  I am persistent, and while waiting for my bar results I volunteered. But it’s been eight months since I graduated, and I still do not have a job.  In the absence of employment I have started dedicating at least 8 hours per day, 5 days a week, to applying for jobs, following up with people, and networking, but I still do not have a job.

You told the Anacostia graduates, "Don't ever scale back your dreams. And don't ever set limits on what you can achieve. And don't think for one single moment that your destiny is out of your hands, because no one's in control of your destiny but you." I never scaled back my dreams. I did everything everyone told me to do in order to achieve my goals. I stayed in school, earned good grades, and stayed away from drugs. I graduated from college with honors, and went to law school.

My question to you is, why are you urging people to strive for a higher education (necessarily encouraging them to go into mountains of debt) when there are no jobs waiting for them when they get out of school? Why is it that I did everything you are telling America’s youth to do, and I don’t have the successful job you speak of? Can you look me in the eye, and tell me why?

Mrs. Obama, you’ll probably never take a walk with me, but I really hope you listen to this one last thing I have to say: The thought that no one could ever take my education away from me was once inspiring. Now it feels like a jail cell. When you can’t afford your mortgage the bank takes your house away, and you are unsaddled with the crippling feeling of being buried in debt.  I can’t give back my education, so I’d like to make a proposal.

President Obama signed into law a $787 billion stimulus package on top of Bush's $700 billion TARP bailout.  Since 2008, the government has paid out trillions of dollars in bailouts, handouts, loans and giveaways, with no end in sight.  Instead of giving trillions of additional dollars to banks, financial institutions, and other greedy institutions responsible for the economic crisis, the Government should forgive student loan debt, which would have a stimulating effect on the economy. Hard working Americans who pursued a higher education, at your behest, would have thousands of extra dollars to spend, spurring the economy.

I am asking you, since I have done everything you said to do but cannot find a job, can you please help me?


Julia Harris, Esq.

You can put my electronic signature on that one!  /s/ Angel T. Lawyer


  1. "Don't ever scale back your dreams. And don't ever set limits on what you can achieve. And don't think for one single moment that your destiny is out of your hands, [i]because no one's in control of your destiny but you[i]."

    I like that quote, at least the last phrase- it’s too bad it’s meaning is all but lost on our generation. This generation - our generation - is the first one to equate education = destiny alone, forgetting about who is really in control of that destiny beyond the point of education.

    We have come to believe that good grades, good schools = good jobs and good lives. That the in-between, intangible “control of ones destiny” simply means letting our education, or our educations credentials - create our destiny for us. We are now seeing it’s not that simple.

    Getting stars on all our papers, a pizza party after every little league game, win or lose, and everyone being gifted is not how it really works once we get out of our limited confines of adolescence and education.

    We have been taught from our earliest experiences with education that if you work hard, do your homework, put in the effort, at the end waiting for you is the reward, the high grade that allows us to advance to the next piece of our puzzle, the next best school, the best college, the best law school.

    That part of the equation has all ways ended in predictable results, we work hard - we get good grades - we get what we deserve.

    But real life is not school. There is no predictable result all ways waiting at the end of the rainbow. Getting good grades, going to the best schools does not all ways result in optimal employment.

    Why? Real life, work etc. is not school. There is more to your destiny than your educational credentials, realizing that, when all you have done and all your rewards have been predictable lockstep results of everything you have been told since kindergarten, is a bitter, bitter pill to swallow.

    But that is the what the phrase “no one's in control of your destiny but you” really means.

    It means that at some point you have to leave the comfortable predictability of education and guaranteed results and step into the reality of the unpredictability of life beyond education.

    At that point your educational destiny is over, and the results of your future destiny become yours and yours alone. You can either ride the coattails of the fading importance of your credentials or create your own path in a brave new world were everyone is not going to get that star on their papers and that A+ grade.

    This realization comes very slowly to a generation taught by our parents that education is the key to all success in the world. It’s as if they forget that their generation was more successful than ours has been with less education and more self-reliance than they taught us.

  2. Julia needs to take a class in grammar and punctuation.

  3. And Julia also needs to get a clue and direct this to the right person/entity....focus and direction may be part of her problem. Michelle Obama has zero to do with Julia's errors and the results of them. Look in a mirror and start focusing there and rebuild. Writing a letter to the WH, akin to a 3rd grader, is not the proper start.

    Daft doesn't begin to describe this letter/person. Yeesh.

    BIDER, you can do better than this...I've seen it a slow week for info? This person should have never been given a forum here and to think she would be sending this woman-to-woman to Mrs. Obama....? So apparently the Michelle Bachman, Sarah Palin sh*t-for-brains-no-education/no common sense is the camp she aligns with....God help us....

  4. She also needs some help with proofreading and capitalization. Come to think of it, there may be a connection between her writing skills and her employment status ...

  5. Re: Matt with the 20-20 hindsight:

    I know someone who has made a lot of money selling Porn, and with no education. I hope you are not implying that we should all start doing stuff like that.

    And Re 3X Anon: (12:26, 1:12, 1:20)

    --you are so pedantic and self-conscious, it is a wonder you even get past thinking about it, and actually do get out of bed in the morning.(If you even succeed in doing so, that is)

    For Christ's Sake! Let Poor Julia send her letter to the First Lady.

  6. Kanye West: "George Bush don't care about Black people."

    Me: "The Obamas don't care about young educated people with soul crushing student loans."

  7. Anon -What’s wrong with some quality porn?

    I mean if your choice is to get shit upon at some crap firm for $12 bucks and hour or create your shit by making something happen for yourself - like I said on Kimber’s blog - my personal preference is to the be shiter and not the shitee.

    Tell me this would got get a bazzlion views: Third Tier Toilet Media presents Two Unemployed Lawyers – One Cup. Letters to the president’s wife don’t pay students loans, but porn, as you say, can be very lucrative!

    The above is only slitgly sarcastic...

  8. Notice that during Obama's SOTU address he did not mention the "student loans" at all. Obama thinks that since he went to school and became POTUS that education is the key for the majority of Americans. The reality is that the majority of the wealthy people that I know either dropped out of college or didn't even finish high school. In fact, the majority of the wealthy people that I know did not go to college. My dad went up to 2nd grade, is illiterate in the English language and is worth millions of dollars. My neighbor is a college drop out and earns over a million dollars a year. In fact, the manager of my neighbors company has a GED, went to jail several times for gang banging and is now making $160k per year managing a 90 staff company. My other neighbor is a law school drop out who made millions with his medical supply company. Talk about a blessing in disguise.

    More examples:
    High school graduate: is a franchisee of 2 successful restaurants.
    High school drop out: runs a successful construction company
    High school grad, felony conviction: owns a call center making 200k plus
    High school grad: sales manager over 130k
    College drop out: marketing director, 200k salary
    High school only: general manager of the local Best Buy
    Some college: equipment leasing, 100k-150k

    College actually makes people less creative. We need to unlearn all the bullshit they put in our heads.

  9. Have to agree with subprime here.

    If you have worked in the legal profession long enough to actually meet clients you will start to see that many of them make far more money than you with far less education. They are coming to you because you provide them a service, not unlike an accountant, or a plumber or a painter, the law is, like it or not, a service industry.

    There are basically two types of lawyers out there, those that create legal jobs and those that work for those that create legal jobs.

    Nothing is wrong with being either, but knowing what category you fit into and what the limits are of your skillset/willingness to take risks is a big part of your job search.

    If you’re a leader then working as a nameless associate writing memos all day is not going to be a great match, if you’re a follower a firm looking for someone to create rain and move up quickly is not going to be great fit.

    Knowing your own strengths and weaknesses, and how to capitalize on them during your job search, is as important to finding a job as is knowing how to use file and serve. Neither of which you learn in law school.

  10. Subprime, you nailed it! Obama did not mention student loans - but everyone should "get more education," according to Obama the Spineless Weasel. (Did he need to shave the hair on his vagina before he gave that address?!?!)

  11. Porn is a rough, rough business Matt. You will have to deal with organized crime people.They really are out there, and you will sleep with a gun under your pillow. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. Everything has a price in this world.

    Education should matter. If not in the US, it will in some other country on the ascendancy, as we sink.

  12. I am in complete agreement that something needs to be done to stimulate education and provide relief to those former students restricted from progress by golden handcuffs of school loan debt. For many, the cost of higher education is not worth the price. I am of the mindset that the "Educated Stimulus" plan could provide relief while simultaneously stimulating the economy. See the details at .

  13. The porn idea is a red herring. If that's what you really think of when someone suggests not going to college, then you are a hopelessly flawed person and should probably consider that occupation. Or go to law school.

  14. Posting here, too. I just can't believe this letter is making the rounds.

    I do know I'll be flamed for this.

    But, seriously Julia, do you think a person who likely had to overcome two massive disadvantages: being African American and a woman is going to have a drop of sympathy for your caterwauling? The woman dragged herself and her husband - saddled with being mixed race with a "Muslim" name in a country like ours - up the food chain and into the White House. Can you fathom the second to second scripted effort that must have required? Instead of whining at her why don't you take a page from her playbook and try harder? You said it yourself: 3% of Americans have advanced degrees. 3%...think about that. So you're better educated than 97% of the population, you're probably white, and you're reasonably articulate. If you CAN'T "make it" then you either don't want it enough because you thought it would be handed to you if you behaved and went to school or you have some massive, alienating personality defect that's not obvious from your letter.

    Start reading sites like wall st oasis or any others related to getting a "big job" in finance and you'll see that you lawyers are major whiners who have no idea that most of us have been battling the best, brightest, and meanest to get that big payday. And once we do, it's often pulled out from under us and you're back to the battle but this time you're older and the jobs are fewer. But the game is a joy so you keep at it.

    Survival of the fittest, Esq., if you don't have the stones that's fine but don't blame the system.

  15. Nando, you're the last person to talk about shaving hair on ones vagina. All you do is whine and whine. Actually, you're probably not at the stage where you even have hair on your body. You sound like such a bitchy, little girl. It's entirely possible you're not even a bitter law graduate but rather a precocious child who blogs between classes.

  16. Anon @4:13

    Hey I’ve got three out of four of those skillz!!!

    I’m very organized, I have a familiarity with crime from my youth, I own a gun, I’m just missing the pillow.

    Perhaps I can write the Obama’s and push for a pillow stimulus package that will allow me to follow my dream of practicing constitutional law in the free speech arena for the porn industry.

    I worked hard, I got good grades in law school, I watch a lot of porn, its unfair that my student debt is holding me back from affording that key piece of the puzzle to follow my dreams - a pillow.

    Walk with me, let’s talk, lawyer to lawyer, look me in the eye and tell me how I am supposed to achieve my destiny without my pillow?


  17. To the cockroach who posted at 6:28 pm,

    Just one observation - I would run out of space, if I commented on all of your grammatical errors:

    What precocious children are blogging between classes? In grade school, breaks are maybe five minutes long. LEARN the definition of a big word BEFORE you attempt to use it, moron.

    For your information, a pussy is someone who always backs those in power, and never speaks out on issues of importance. It doesn't take ANY nuts to do that. (If you actually want to see a pussy in your lifetime, just take a look in the mirror.)

    By the way, don't shave too closely, sissy. You might get a rash.

  18. I have a pussy and I'm willing to stand up to people. Why is my body part thrown around to imply weakness?

  19. Ah, Nando. Thank you so much for the grammar lessons and, also, for entirely missing the point. Maybe you're well poised to be an English teacher? I mean, we all thought our English teachers a bit humorless because surely they failed at something before teaching - why else would they be so bitter at so young an age? I know it's hard to be criticized when you're a superstar in your own little self perpetuated drama but man up a little bit and create a better response. I mean, you're gonna call Obama a pussy? Why? Because you're a total angry failure and he's President?

    And in rereading my post--yep, some errors but in this day of lax grammar rules...not so bad.

  20. Nando - as an aside. Just who are you standing up to? You write a blog. That dude in Uganda who was openly gay and was just murdered stood up to people. Mandela stood up, Harvey Milk stood up, Elizabeth Stanton, stood up...etc. You are one arrogant dude to think you're even in the realm of people who stand up for others.

  21. I still don't have a pillow. I think my big porn law dreams are over.

    I blame the outsourcing of porn to cheap East European counties and the high cost of pillows.

    How I am supposed to fulfill my density if my student loans prevent me from affording my pillow!!

    Help me Obama-Konobi your my only hope. Give us pillow forgiveness before its too late and I must take some craplaw job doing M&A at Cravath

  22. @8:35 pm,

    Did you shave too closely, and get an ingrown hair on your pussy? Who cares about Obama? He is a puppet, a figurehead. (They are all puppets, but this empty suit takes it to another level.) You can look up to and worship that, if you want.

    To 9:23,

    Did I compare myself to those people you listed? I have stood up to this industry, and challenged SEVERAL law deans and "professors" to debate me on the state of "legal education." Until the NYT piece came out, I had received not so much as a single response. What does that tell you?! At this point, one faculty member has agreed to discuss the issue. We'll see if he wimps out.

  23. All the colloquialisms and strawman answers don't debunk the fact that college graduates on AVERAGE make more than non-degree holders. I believe its something like a median of 66% more earning power.

    What colleges and law schools don't tell you is there are no guarantees. The degree simply gives you a shot. A shot to get that job you want, that shot at the bar exam - whatever opportunity would not be available to you without it. We acquired the tools to be lawyers now its up to us to make it happen.

    Face the facts people: If you can't find legal employment when your barred, you are clearly not cut out for this profession.

    I generally like and support BIDER because I feel that my student loan debt and less than ideal salary choices right now are due to my LS having been less than candid with me about certain things. That being said, if I was unemployed I would not blame them for it.

    Julia needs to stop writing fantasy letters and give some serious thought as to why she can't find legal work.

  24. So, a bunch of supposedly smart people signed contracts to enable them to finance the gamble of attending law school. Neither the law school application nor student loan agreements guarantee anyone a job or that the economy will always be robust enough to provide shelter for every grad. Yet, instead of doing something else, changing direction, or using that well earned law degree to provide legal services to the 90% of America that is not Fortune 1000 companies or wealthy individuals, these whine blogs proliferate. Maybe you Gen X and Gen Y'ers should not have gotten gold stars every time you blew your nose.

  25. I understand what Julia says. I feel like I did everything that I was supposed to and even graduated from law school in the top 20% of my class. But what has this led to? Making a joke for a salary and working ridiculous hours to make the peanuts that I make.

    I would have been better off I hadn't gone to law school. I now really warn people of pursuing a JD degree unless they have rich parents who can support them after they graduate and can pay off their student loans for them.



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