265 thoughts on “Calling people in instead of out

  1. This article uses cancel culture and calling out interchangeably, but they are two different things, too different to confuse with each other.

    I entirely agree with calling out hypocrisy—once someone has made a point publicly and insisted on it, if they do something opposed to that position, that should be pointed out as loudly as they staked their claim.

    Calling someone out for something generally acknowledged to be wrong—eh, there are more productive ways to deal with that.

    Shoving something under the rug and leaving it there because it’s uncomfortable to discuss problems? That’s a major problem. We’ve got to be able to talk through differences without resorting to name-calling or drawing up teams, so you’re either on “our” side or not.

    This piece expresses my thoughts on cancel culture. It is not behind a paywall. https://verysmartbrothas.theroot.com/why-every-joke-tweet-and-essay-whining-about-how-canc-1845689430

  2. I think we have lost the ability to civilly discuss almost any issue we more than mildly disagree on with another person. It either gets very heated or pushed under the rug as too uncomfortable. I think the more you try to publicly call out or shame someone – a peer or subordinate – that you are not open “discussing” the issue, you are trying to punish or quiet them. As it notes in the article, calling out someone who has more power is a different scenario.

    I think when you can be open to discussing a topic rather than just arguing different points of view that while you may not change your position, you may be able to understand theirs.

  3. I read something a while back that said politicians and the media are, for a variety of reasons, really into Twitter. The problem is that the vast majority of people are not. As a result a sort of self referential culture develops that gives a false impression of where the average person/voter is one the issues.

    You can see in this article the NYTimes having the issue it usually does with Smith College grads being really into the issues that drive a certain segment of Smith College undergrads.

  4. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve developed my own working theory on political discussions, and it goes like this: there’s a critical ratio — yet undefined, but definitely greater than 1.0 — of how much friendly, non-political, actual caring interaction you have with the person before there’s any enjoyment, or even value, in some sort of back and forth disagreement. If I don’t have some level of real, personal relationship with you, then I don’t give two shits about your political insights or your thoughts on why I’m wrong. I’ve “hidden” some more Facebook contacts, and quietly left a Messenger chat for this reason — it didn’t meet the critical ratio.

  5. Most people aren’t on Twitter or, if they are, don’t care about Twitter ‘culture’.

    That part that really shocks me is how many Twitter culture types have no idea that Twitter isn’t an accurate representation of reality.

  6. Milo – I agree. If I don’t already have a relationship with you, why do I want to discuss something we may disagree about that may prevent me from building a relationship? However, there are forums for discussion where that is not true. Example, there is a neighborhood traffic calming meeting where people are there to discuss (for and against) the need and/or the plan.

    I do have agree, Twitter is not something I use or follow. I find it surprising sometimes who does and doesn’t. DD#1’s best friend (21 years old) has been a big Twitter follower since sometime in high school, but she doesn’t tweet or retweet often.

  7. actual caring interaction you have with the person before there’s any enjoyment, or even value, in some sort of back and forth disagreement.

    Then there are people you know sharing memes like this:

  8. I never used to go to the faculty union meetings, but this year I have, because there are so many things happening that really need to be addressed at the union level. I learn many interesting things at these meetings. At the most recent one I learned there has been a huge increase in the number of faculty facing bias claims against them. These are typically filed by students, and evidently most have to do with readings that the student doesn’t agree with. In the vast majority of cases, the faculty member is cleared. This was a huge issue at the union meeting, with many people telling their stories and saying the felt it was a form of harrassment. All I can say is that I thank my lucky stars that in my classes, the most controversial we get is when we hit the endless argument as to whether Python or Java is better.

    There are good things about the new focus on terms we use that may be offensive. For example, there is an architecture for distributed systems that uses the term master/slave. This semester, I went to a good bit of effort to find references that describe the architecture using different terms, and redid all my visuals to use the new terms. I am glad I did because the master/slave terminology always made me uncomfortable. I also had an assignment based on the 2020 census data, and had to explain carefully that the reason gender is only marked as male or female in the assignment is because that is how the official census records it.

    We are also seeing a huge uptick in official grade complaints, which has nothing to do with bias complaints. I have served on those committees several times this year, and in all but one case, the students didn’t have any grounds for complaint, and seemed more to just want to vent to someone. Perhaps the increase in bias complaints and grade complaints are related. Maybe the students just feel angrier.

  9. I use Twitter for a few things – getting storm warnings quicky, announcments of interesting things in my research field, feeds from conferences I am interested in, and news from ymy university and my kid’s schools. I never post on it. Twitter posts are so dangerous.
    I think of Twitter as a place for companies, institutions, and individuals to promote their “brands”

  10. A Powerball winner who gave away 1.3B would owe a federal gift tax of about $520,000,000.* The winner wouldn’t have the money to pay it; s/he would have to declare bankruptcy and would then be living in poverty! Very, very bad planning. ;)

    (The gift tax would be slightly less, as $15,000 of the $4,330,000 gift to each individual would not be taxable, and beyond that the first $11,580,000 of the 1.3B gift would also not be taxable. But still, the tax would bankrupt the giver.)

  11. Powerball meme is bad math:
    The real # is $4,333/person (gross) NOT $4.3 million. As was mentioned when it was originally circulating whenever the jackpot was $1.2B.

  12. Oh, well, if it’s only a $4,333 gift per person, then there’s no gift tax at all!

  13. NoB,

    Would there be a way to send them all a1099-MISC and call it a prize or a non-employee gift?

  14. The real # is $4,333/person (gross) NOT $4.3 million.

    Since Finn’s still in bed… Don’t you mean $4.33?

  15. “Then there are people you know sharing memes like this”

    Do you think that’s worse than the people who are so eager to school everyone on Order of Operations?

    60 / 5*(7-5) = ??

  16. 60 / 5*(7-5) = ??

    Yes because that would be like doing that problem and being off by a factor of 1 million. And the thought that 6 million seems a little off never occurring to them.

  17. 60 / 5*(7-5) = ??

    Yes because that would be like doing that problem and being off by a factor of 1 million. And the thought that 6 million seems a little off never occurring to them.

  18. Twitter is indispensable on COVID research. You can follow scientists from all over the world who have the ability to explain their work in layman’s terms, and who correct and question one another in real time.
    It’s true that most people aren’t on Twitter, but most people aren’t political anyhow. Everyone who does research it makes policy is there. Even if they don’t post.

  19. Rhett — The recipients haven’t provided any services to the giver, so there wouldn’t be any 1099s. These are just gratuitous transfers that fall under the gift-tax regime.

  20. The recipients haven’t provided any services to the giver,

    They were just random strangers? I’m thinking if I won Powerball and I wanted to give my aunt $5 million couldn’t I just give her $5 million and send a 1099 saying, “For dog sitting 1/15/20 to 1/20/20.”

  21. “Twitter is indispensable on COVID research. You can follow scientists from all over the world who have the ability to explain their work in layman’s terms, and who correct and question one another in real time”
    I really cannot fathom having an intelligent discussion on any kind of research on Twitter. It is just too choppy. It is good only for announcments of things.

  22. Rhett – yeah. Apparently I wasn’t awake either. In either case poverty is not really solved.

  23. MM,
    Most of the useful posts have links to papers or studies.
    Then there can be long threads of explanation. Often each separate tweet has its own link to data.
    If you follow the wrong people — yes, it’s a dumpster fire. It takes some time to sift through the noise to find the good signals.
    People who post garbage will inevitably get called out by those who have done better work. The best folks, like Michael Levitt, will post questions and ask for critical comments on theories.

  24. I like Twitter. I rarely post unless it is for a desperate customer service situation with an airline or similar. I like it for news, but I also like it for shared experiences. For example, I checked Twitter at the end of the Undoing.I disliked the final ten minutes of the series and I wanted to know what other people were thinking at that moment.

  25. Tangentially, I have recently noted the decay of the online forum. I suppose this function has been (imperfectly) taken over by Facebook. Like MMM – the forums used to be a firehose of new posts, but now things have slowed to a trickle. There are a few other places I have found good, specialized community chat (homeschooling, whole30, breastfeeding) when I needed conversation and didn’t have anyone to have it with.

    FB has its benefits, but it often doesn’t provide the ongoing back and forth that forums can. I suspect I could write a killer Medium article about FB killing online conversation.

  26. Ada, I agree. The only online support groups DW could find for Myasthenia Gravis are all on FB.

  27. “Tangentially, I have recently noted the decay of the online forum.”
    There have been a number of blogs I used to enjoy reading for the discussion they engendered. However, as the blog gathered popularity, it inevitably became an advertising site, where all the content was really an ad for sponsored products. To me those blogs became unreadable. I appreciate that in the beginning, WFI resisted all suggestions on how to monetize this blog, and Kim and Meme have never followed that path.

  28. Ada, a good example for your article would be the decline in useful content when the pediatric cancer community moved from ACOR (closed, listserv focused on cancer patients, founded by Gilles Frydman of “participatory medicine” fame) over to Facebook. On ACOR, the discussion could be very technical, with a lot of posts on upcoming clinical trials for example. It could also be very helpful and practical – how do you get your kid to take a big nasty Accutane pill, or what to do abount mouth sores. The corresponding Facebooks posts, however, are mostly photos of sick kids, and emojis about cancer sucking. Not the same at all.

    https://medicinex.stanford.edu/conf/conference/speaker/14#:~:text=Gilles%20Frydman%20is%20a%20pioneer,groups%20for%20individuals%20with%20cancer.

  29. That wasn’t very clear. I meant Kim and Meme followed WFI’s path of not monetizing this blog.

  30. Ada, not disputing that some FB threads tend just to be a series of “nice x”, but I’ve been in several FB groups where we did get to know one another and had ongoing conversations, sometimes within threads, others over the course of many threads. I don’t know what you mean by forums, but some publications have better discussion sections than others. I posted to an article from The Root earlier in this thread; it usually has comments sections worth reading—the regulars know each other, there is some joshing around, some discussion of ideas from the article, and usually some tangents. Works for me. At the other extreme, comments on local news comments are worth reading only if you need a laugh, or to raise your blood pressure.

  31. Mooshi, so it went to the kind of FB group that everyone can see? Now that I think about it, the best discussion tends to be in groups that don’t let you see content unless you join.

  32. Oh, and there’s one other blog where I recently invited a riot by engaging with everyone who posted on my thread. A lot of it was “you mean like this?” But sometimes I said “how would that work?” There are now people there who don’t comment on my threads; those who do (unless they’re newcomers) are generally there for the back-n-forth. Most of the threads on that blog are full of the “nice x” kind of comment that I find useless.

  33. Medical support groups seem to be hard hit by the FB groups. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m president of a local chapter. We have to follow the National Chapter in a lot of ways, including online support communication. There are many people out there that we are not reaching because they aren’t on Facebook, don’t want to join Facebook, etc. What is more interesting is that many of our members are more easily prone to being victims of scams, depression, anxiety, etc. Facebook is not necessarily a great place for them, and I know of several who have been victims of online bullying. But, FB Groups is what we use. A few years ago there was a push to use Team Inspire, but it just hasn’t gotten the momentum like FB.

  34. No, the FB groups are private. But FB’s model is picture heavy,so people tended to write less. Also, even in a private FB group, there is the understanding that data is being mined. That is pretty much the norm for all social media, and is quite different from a closed mailing list run by a nonprofit that is dedicated to cancer support. On ACOR, you could trust that data was not being mined, and each group was moderated so crap posts didn’t get through.

  35. I find Instagram to be even worse than FB. Its model seems to be that you post a photo – if you are a teen, a photo of you making sexy face – and if you are a mom, a photo of your spongecake or flowers in the backyard. And then you get a whole slew of like,like,like, you go girl, like,like comments. I have never seen anything of interest on my Instagram feed.
    My DD uses it for the chat feature. It is popular among teens who aren’t allowed on SnapChat or Discord.

    One more thing – I do not get “Story”. What is the point of those weird rectangles? I just ignore them

  36. Story – It’s all about ME, showing all the great stuff about ME, making me feel so good about ME, with everyone liking ME.

    Mooshi – get it?

  37. “quite different from a closed mailing list run by a nonprofit that is dedicated to cancer support. On ACOR, you could trust that data was not being mined”

    Some email providers do mine email content.

    TMK, that is how Google will, e.g., find airline flight information and put it in your calendar.

  38. Arg, I hate stories. Comments on them go only to the person posting the story—zero conversation.

    Ada, so you mean something like Reddit? Funny, when I asked my kid for an example of awful comments, he came up with a Reddit site that I waived off for the local news idea. But the blog I mentioned at 3:15 is also a forum like that.

    Mooshi, I have an account that I use for posts about our life in Berlin, sometimes heavy on the “our lives” part, sometimes heavy on the “Berlin” part. There is no conversation, yet I feel it connects with people in a way that other social media doesn’t. The whole “picture worth 1000 words” thing.

  39. Reddit is very forum-like. It reminds me a lot of old school Usenet from the 90’s. I rather like Reddit.

  40. Finn, absolutely some email providers mine (here’s looking at you gmail). But if privacy is a concern, you simply use a paid, private email service.

  41. Kerri – that is an interesting and succinct way of expressing the story aspect. I started using Instagram about 2 years ago – my account is my artist persona. I post a photo of my latest painting or a link to the latest exhibition I am participating in. As an artist it’s kind of satisfying for someone to see my art. I don’t have many followers but I occasionally get an interesting comment because my hashtag got someone to see my painting. I’ve also gotten opportunities to donate my art to an auction and I’m getting more and more inquiries about buying my paintings. (I usually gift them.) Anyway, that seems like a good use of such a picture heavy media.

  42. I am also able to follow other artists and learn from them and be inspired by them, and hear about workshops, exhibits, etc. In short, it’s great for artists.

  43. It reminds me a lot of old school Usenet from the 90’s.

    Me too. I like the simplicity of the interface.

  44. Mafalda – It is definitely an excellent branding tool and can get your work out there. Sarah Cooper – the lady that uses Trump’s voice – went viral and now has a Netflix special from her use of social media.

    FB and other social media sites are designed to make you happy with the focus on you, how many likes you get, etc. so you spend more time on them. The screw turns though and that approach can become a huge negative when others get more likes and seem to live a life better than yours.

  45. The screw turns though and that approach can become a huge negative when others get more likes and seem to live a life better than yours.

    Making people feel bad about themselves is a time-tested method for selling things to them.

  46. Mafalda, I didn’t know you were an artist. What kinds of painting do you do? Can you tell us your site, or would you rather not cross the streams like that?

    Another kind of artists who use social media are models, photographers, makeup artists, etc. I’ve seen private Facebook groups where they arrange meetups or to work together and they all seem to have public IG accounts to show their work.

  47. The “brandiness” is part of the reason I am not into Twitter or Instagram so much. It just feels like everyone is promoting their brand, from the pseudo-sexy 14 year olds showing off their makeup to the restaurants posting constant photos of food styled to look good in a photo to the “influencers” (what the h#ll is an influencer anyway and why do I care? Sounds worse than a celeb) pitching shows and handbags. Yuck!

  48. Instagram provides me endless amusement of cats and dogs. My cat has his own account. He has several hundred followers, mostly other cats.

    I’ve only posted three times on my own account – only nature photos.

  49. Ireland made the right call on COVID today. The parliament declared that Santa Claus is an essential work so he is exempt from the 14-day quarantine requirement and may enter and leave the country and individual houses without restriction.

  50. S&M- I’m not sure when I started calling myself an artist. I retired from Wall Street very early and did non profit boards, hobbies, learned to sail, etc, I also started taking art classes amongst all my hobbies. Fast forward 12 years and I have taken probably the equivalent of a degree in art worth of in person and online classes, have made 100s of paintings, exhibited a few times and have some 50 friends and family who like my work enough to hang it in their houses. I’ve sold exactly 2 paintings, because I always insist on gifting them. I’m not sure whether it’s appropriate to call myself an artist because I’m not trying to make a living at it but I do spend many hours a day making art, and I like my progress over time….

  51. “The parliament declared that Santa Claus is an essential work so he is exempt from the 14-day quarantine requirement”

    No direction to kids to stay in bed if they hear Santa in the house, to maintain a safe distance?

  52. ” have made 100s of paintings”

    What do you do with all of them?

    That kinda reminds me of my former woodworking hobby. I built a bunch of stuff that we wanted for our house, but was running out of stuff to build when the kids came. I’ve only had one big project since then.

    I’d like to resume more woodworking when I retire, but I’m not sure what to build, besides some shelving to organize a little better.

  53. https://www.wsj.com/articles/which-schools-leave-parents-with-the-most-college-loan-debt-11606936947

    Posting this article. One kid, I know have attended Savannah College of Art and Design. The kid had a short lived job in the art field for about a year. They were cut from their job. They needed to start earning a paycheck, so had to change careers. The job situation was also a factor of not majoring in the type of sub field that was in demand and also it may have been easier to stay in the field in a larger metro area.

  54. I know another kid who is attending Berklee College of Music but their parents are UMC and will be able to support them. I wanted to add that both the art and music kid started on the path in middle school. The art school kid attended our public arts magnet school. The music kid played two instruments at a very high level and won state level competitions. My point is, that these kids were really interested in the field but the job scene is a different story.

  55. Louise, really, you think undergrad major matters that much? Seems to me we’ve seen employers say time and again that the skills they look for are not the kind of thing taught explicitly in classes, that they can use employee trainings to get people up to speed on specifics of their job, as long as they can communicate orally, in writing, and now digitally, and hit markers of professionalism like being punctual, accurate, tidy, etc.

  56. Finn- interesting comment about woodworking. Those projects must be harder to put to use- what kind of wood do you use? I imagine each project takes a long time no? More entertainment value.
    re my paintings-
    Besides being displayed in people’s homes, my paintings are either on the walls of my studio (floor to ceiling smack against each other) or stored in racks in the storage part of my studio, I take them out and gaze at them to decide whether to reuse the canvas. I recently applied to see if Miami-Dade could use them in their affordable housing projects….

    I also knit and it’s much easier to find good uses for all those items- I make elaborate dresses and tops for myself – but scarves, shawls and baby blankets are handed out like candy to friends, family, mere acquaintances and staff!

    P.S. the reason I know how much I’ve painted is that one of DHs hobbies is programming- I have an amazing artist database to catalog all my work, with all the attributes, etc…

  57. “The corresponding Facebooks posts, however, are mostly photos of sick kids, and emojis about cancer sucking.”

    Oh man, that is terribly similar to many posts in the medical FB groups to which I belong. Not kids, but adults posting creepy photos for other members to diagnose or sappy photos about a disease-free scan. However, among those posts are some really useful ones about types of treatments, side effects, and new developments so I keep monitoring and occasionally post a question.

    I must be the only one here who enjoys frivolous IG photos and stories. I follow a few celebrities, major and minor, to get a window on their personal life as cleaned up for social media. It’s a fun diversion. Some families I know have private IG pages similar to FB private groups where only members can see and share photos.

  58. Louise, I was going to post that same article. Unlike student loans, parent loan amounts are virtually unlimited and granted with no regard to ability to repay.

    These numbers don’t include the loans the student took out individually. In many cases, parent loans dwarf what students can borrow through the federal government, which is capped at about $31,000 for dependent students…

    The Education Department requires only a scant check of a parent’s credit history before extending loans, and it performs no assessment of the ability to repay. The result: Some parents have taken on amounts they have little hope of repaying, student-debt researchers say…

    The maximum students can borrow hasn’t changed in recent years. Parents, on the other hand, can borrow any amount needed to cover tuition and living costs, amounts that are determined by their schools.

  59. “Seems to me we’ve seen employers say time and again that the skills they look for are not the kind of thing taught explicitly in classes, ”

    I hear this over and over, and certainly I know of lots of people working in jobs for which this would be true, but I always wonder what the percentages are of general-skill jobs vs specialized-skill-job. I would imagine that college major doesn’t matter much for business positions in areas like human resources or purchasing or product support or business analyst, or for fundraising or grant writing positions in nonprofits. But when I start thinking of specific jobs, most the ones I come up with are highly skills based. You need to have gone to law school to be a lawyer, you need a degree in accounting to be an accountant, you need very specialized training to be an electrician or plumber, you need a degree in physical therapy to be a physical therapists, and so on. Economist, policeman, doctor, speech therapist, civil engineer – there are tons of job categories that require specific skills and training. I just wonder what the percentage breakdown is between generalist jobs and specific skills based jobs.

    A few years ago, we had a career workshop at which the CEO of a particular Internet software company spoke (not one of the well known companies, but the more typical kind with a very bland name), and did the usual “What we really value are soft skills like communication and writing, rather than specific skills” that they always say at these workshops. I was laughing, because I had interviewed for a position at that company about 4 years earlier, and the people who did the interview had no interest whatsoever in soft skills. It was a heavy duty tech interview, with lots of questions on the specifics of particular Internet architectures and programming language minituae.

  60. Kim, I like Instagram. I didn’t use it for a long time, but then I had an account because of DD. I find it very useful for posting photos that I don’t want to be “public” on facebook. It is easier to control the privacy on Instagram. Also, I find it very useful for information both sales at local shops etc.

  61. Mafalda, I’m sure your advisors have told you already, but I would recommend doing a Deed of Gift into your revocable trust to cover all your paintings and your other tangibles…you don’t want all of that going thru probate! ;)

    Louise, I also find that my friends/acquaintances who went to school at an ‘arts’ school have struggled to find work in the field and/or to be successful $$-wise at it. The most successful is a person who went to a SLAC, not an ‘arts’ school, and has a dual career of performing as an actor (including a few years on Broadway) and teaching – multiple jobs are always necessary since the arts gigs are sporadic and poorly paid.

  62. Is Instagram privacy easier to control than with FB? It seems to me that the Instagram model is that you have followers, and the followers can see your photos. In FB, you have friends,and only the friends can see your photos (unless you are silly enough to post to the world, but not many people do that). You can put photos in private FB groups and then only those people see the photos. You can also set up friend groups, which I have done so that I can share kid photos with relatives but not to the wider space of friends. Can you accomplish similar things in FB?

    Also, in Instagram, can you create a post without a photo? I don’t think I have ever seen that.

    And of course all of these platforms are mining your content like crazy. Instagram and WhatsApp are owned by Facebook, TikTok was Chinese but I guess Microsoft has it now? Slack was just acquired by Salesforce, cementing its postion as the corporate app that managers love because they can use it to make sure their underlings never turn off their phones.

  63. Dh has a cousin who made it in the arts world – a dancer who worked his way from community productions all the way up to being in the original productions of some major Broadway shows. He didn’t go to a college, but had a lot of very specific dance training. After he had kids, he and his wife (also a Broadway actress) bagged it and opened a dance school in the Midwest.

    My mother had an MFA and ended up teaching art and design in a private school. That is what a lot of people with art and music degrees end up doing.

  64. Mooshi, I specifically mentioned undergraduate majors. You are talking about a few Bachelors’ level jobs, but also a huge cubic others that require either trade school (obviously specialized) or professional school/grad school. I believe both law schools and Med schools, to use two of your examples, are wide open as to the undergrad degree a student can take, although there may be some course requirements (such as chem and bio/zoology for pre-Med students). What do you think about the necessity of a specific major for jobs that require a bachelors degree?

  65. “I must be the only one here who enjoys frivolous IG photos and stories.”

    I’m right there with you, Kim. Instagram is how I get my daily dose of pretty pictures of two of my girl crushes — Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark. You can’t get any more frivolous than following members of Scandinavian royal families to see what they’re wearing, but I own my frivolity.

    My DD posts quite frequently to her Instagram story. She will take a photo of something that she finds amusing, and add a caption. Her posts are actually pretty witty, and I enjoy seeing them — they give me some insight into how she sees the world.

  66. *a huge amount of

    Mooshi, as to your interview being different from what the guys said they look for in new hires just starting out, I am not at all surprised that after years in industry and as a prof, you’d be asked about your tech skills. Or were you actually interviewing for one of those entry-level positions?

  67. My vision of Twitter is a car racing down the street with it’s occupants yelling things out the window. They don’t really care to engage in any meaningful dialogue. They just want to get their POV out there for everyone to see and in short period of time they are posting something else. I started using Twitter because I wanted to see first hand what Trump was posting. I also follow a couple of people that DD is into, including Father James Martin. More than once I was astounded by the sheer volume of Trumps tweets and retweets in a single day, According to Wiki, the record is 200 tweets in one day.

    My father passed away yesterday. He was almost 90, had advanced dementia, was slowly declining and had recently suffered another stroke. On Tuesday he took a turn for the worse. After assessing the situation (with the help of my sister who’s a hospice nurse), we just tried to keep him comfortable. Fortunately, the nursing home allowed us virtually unlimited bedside visits with him the last two days. It’s a good thing we were there because he frequently needed more morphine and Ativan than was prescribed. He had been in the nursing home since August but prior to that he was at home with my mother.

  68. Ginger, I am so sorry! It sounds like your dad had what’s called a “good death”, but it still must be hard for you. Thanks for letting us know. Hugs to you & yours.

  69. S&M, I know you said undergrad major but you then went on to say that employers are mainly looking for skills not taught in classes. That is what I am questioning. If employers are not looking for specific skills taught in classes, no one would bother to go to (and spend lots of money on) specialized graduate programs like law school or MBA programs.

  70. S&M, trust me, our undergrad who interview for entry level positions get those same tech interviews. It is so daunting that at many schools, kids band together to practice. At my son’s school, they have an official program that prepares kids for tech interviews.
    I know tech is a weird area, but don’t entry level accountants get asked accounting questions? People applying for jobs in entry level digital media are usually expected to have some kind of portfolio of their work, at least that is what our digital media grads are encountering.

  71. Ginger, I’m sorry about your dad. It is never easy to lose a parent, no matter what the circumstances.

  72. One other thing – in the admittedly weird software industry, potential hires at every level are “teched” (the term for technical interviews). My DH was interviewing candidates for a very senior position in London last week, so I got to hear a lot of technical questions being answered as I walked through the dining room on my way to the kitchen for snacks. He was asking both financial algorithm questions and programming questions.

  73. So sorry Ginger.
    It’s always too soon to lose a parent, but how blessed you were to be at his side for the end.

  74. Ginger, I am so sorry.

    Scarlett +1 Even in non Covid times, we don’t always get to be with our family in a situation like this one.

  75. Entry level interviews for accounting and some of the other formally credentialed professions are not usually technical. There are historical feeder schools. There are internships or summer work positions. There are coursework requirements to qualify for the credentialing exams. There is GPA. Fit is a big consideration. So hiring initiatives for less represented groups, which in my day included women or career changers, not just URM, are still required and resisted.

  76. The large accounting, consulting and financial firms are focused on hiring all of the group that you mention in your post. This is at the undergraduate and graduate level for training programs. Even when I was working full time, I had to explain why if I chose a white male over every other potential candidate. Recruiting for large bank training programs (then and now) includes coaching about how to hire and recruit less represented groups. Whether these folks stay with these firms is another question, but certainly the big four and their smaller peers are trying to recruit all of these groups. Even I get “pitched” for the big four to do consulting or accounting through return to work, and I am old for these programs.

    I agree that fit is important, but it is evry hard to just hire anyone you want for a training program at the undergrad or grad level. Several of my friends have kids that graduated last year and are working for the big four in consulting or accounting. They have shared photos of their kids and the trainman classes are diverse. They can also wear jeans!!! Even in the office. BIG difference vs. my interviews with the big 8 when dress code was a big deal.

  77. Meme, do you have to have passed any of the credentialing exams before you go on the job market? And are all entry level candidates expected to have internship experience?

  78. Lauren, Facebook has a program where they “embed” a software engineer as a temporary faculty member at public universities with high URM enrollments. They pay the salary, and the engineer teaches courses at the university, and more importantly, is expected to spend time getting kids ready to interview and find jobs. My oldest is at one of these schools and took a couple of classes with the FB guy. They also set up programming contest teams at these schools and help them practice. My kid is very involved with one of these. Doing well in programming contests, as well as contributing to open source projects, is considered to be a good way of getting noticed when applying for software development jobs at the entry level

  79. Mooshi – Lawyers do not do technical interviews. (Thanks goodness.) We just assume the new hires know very little about the specific practice area they’re entering and teach them along the way. They must pass the bar and be licensed within a year of hiring, but that’s it. The screening process to get the interview is the weed-out stage.

  80. Kerri, I assume you require a law degree, though? That would be a way to ensure that they have the basic lawyer skills. I would assume you wouldn’t hire a person with a MFA, for example, right?

  81. Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.

    Did she know he was in the bar before they met? I’ve heard conflicting stories. Wiki says he didn’t tell her until sometime after they met.

  82. Kerri, I have to ask – what do you talk about when interviewing an entry level lawyer? How long do interviews last?

  83. IME for science and non-CS engineering jobs “tech interviews” per se are not common. More likely the reputation of the school (for new graduates) and the resume (for experienced workers) convey technical skills. Also, the interview will usually include conversation about the field that should uncover an applicant’s knowledge. “So, what did you think about xyz’s new development last year?”

  84. MM,

    Think of a decent size software company. You have sales, marketing, documentation writing, consulting, customer service, project management, management management, HR, training both internal and of customers. None of those require any particular major.

  85. Good Lord! From the wsj:

    UPS Slaps Shipping Limits on Gap, Nike to Manage E-Commerce Surge
    Delivery giant instructed drivers not to pick up some packages on Cyber Monday as pandemic fueled online shopping

    ____________________________

    United Parcel Service Inc. imposed shipping restrictions on some large retailers such as Gap Inc. and Nike Inc. this week, an early sign that the pandemic-fueled online shopping season is stretching delivery networks to their limits.

    The delivery giant on Cyber Monday notified drivers across the U.S. to stop picking up packages at six retailers, including L.L. Bean Inc., Hot Topic Inc., Newegg Inc. and Macy’s Inc., according to an internal message viewed by The Wall Street Journal and confirmed by UPS workers in different regions. “No exceptions,” the message said.

    The move comes during a holiday season when retailers are increasingly dependent on delivery companies to move online orders, as store traffic has plummeted during the coronavirus pandemic—a dynamic that has shifted power significantly. UPS and rival FedEx Corp. have raised prices and promised to hold merchants to volume agreements.

    The temporary limits, which some drivers say they haven’t seen during previous holiday seasons, are a sign that UPS is metering the flow of packages into its network to preserve its performance during one of the busiest shipping weeks of the year. The National Retail Federation estimated that online shopping jumped 44% over a recent five-day stretch that included Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

    For years, one of the biggest days of the holiday shopping season was Black Friday. But in 2020, that could change. The coronavirus pandemic is fast-tracking big changes in retail that were already underway, pushing consumers into a digital future. Illustration: Jacob Reynolds/WSJ
    A UPS spokesman, without commenting on any customer-specific directive, said the company will pick up packages from customers whose demand exceeded allocated space once more capacity becomes available.

    Shipping levels tend to jump the week after Thanksgiving, then slip a bit until another big increase in the week before Christmas.

    “We are happy with the performance of our parcel delivery network following the higher cyber week demand,” a Gap spokeswoman said. “Knowing the unique constraints the industry is facing this peak season, we worked with our carriers early on to collectively build a strategic plan of execution.”

    Some shipping consultants said they expected such limits would be imposed temporarily if retailers exceeded their allowance for packages. Earlier this year, delivery companies were overwhelmed as extra trailers full of parcels arrived at some facilities and waited to be unloaded due to the unexpected surge in e-commerce and employee absences due to the coronavirus.

    FedEx and UPS both prepared their customers for tight capacity for this holiday season, as consumers, fearful of venturing out to stores due to the virus, are stocking up on household essentials from online merchants at the same time the holiday shopping season kicks off.

    The combination is expected to create a surplus of as many as seven million daily packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas, according to ShipMatrix Inc., a software provider that analyzes shipping data. FedEx’s big retail customers include Walmart Inc. while UPS counts Amazon.com Inc. among its biggest shippers.

    Some retailers, meanwhile, continue to push for more orders. Walmart plans to offer free shipping on all online orders for members of its paid Walmart+ service. By removing a threshold of $35 for free shipping, the program will be similar to Amazon Prime.

    The UPS spokesman said the company is working closely with its largest shippers to steer volume to locations with available capacity and making sure that large customers know how much room is available.

    “It is critical that UPS and its customers execute the plans built through our collaboration,” the spokesman said. He said UPS also wants to maintain the network for other customers, including small- and medium-size businesses and for medical shipments, including Covid-19 vaccine distribution.

    The limits imposed by UPS are a change from past holiday seasons when the carrier had wiggle room to take on extra shipments, often at higher rates, from customers due to the addition of sorting capacity.

    But FedEx and UPS for months have been processing packages at levels more common during the Christmas season and were preparing to layer another surge of orders on top of that. They have responded with restrictions on capacity and surcharges to offset higher costs from hiring tens of thousands of workers and renting extra equipment.

    Data collected by analysts at Citi showed UPS’s average on-time performance during the week of Thanksgiving was 90.6% compared with 97.6% for FedEx. “We are sensitive to the potential for anomalies in our data and believe it’s too early to suggest UPS’s network is stressed,” analyst Christian Wetherbee said in a research report.

    The UPS spokesman declined to comment on the data, but said that so far the company is pleased with how its network has performed in handling record volume.

    According to ShipMatrix, UPS picked up 81% of packages on the day they were ready between Nov. 15 and Nov. 21, compared with 95.4% for FedEx’s Ground network, which handles most of the company’s e-commerce volume.

    Some of the shippers whose pickups were restricted said there have been some delays due to the high number of online orders but that they were managing them well.

    UPS said it is pleased so far with how its network has accommodated record volume.

    An L.L. Bean spokeswoman said that while there have been delays for pickups at a few of its stores, UPS is “actively picking up packages from our warehouse facility and our retail locations daily.”

    A Nike spokeswoman said the sportswear maker expects “the majority of these orders to meet estimated delivery dates and are communicating with consumers any changes in delivery.”

    “We’re actively working with UPS to best manage customer deliveries,” a Macy’s spokeswoman said.

    FedEx said it has worked with its largest shippers to plan out daily volume. It has asked shippers to spread out promotions, including in October and November, and to also process orders for pickup during the weekend to limit the spikes. “We continue to work closely with our customers to manage their volume and help ensure we provide the best possible service,” a FedEx spokeswoman said.

    On Wednesday, FedEx said it had agreed to buy online-shopping platform ShopRunner Inc. to bolster its e-commerce capabilities. ShopRunner charges a yearly membership fee of $79 for two-day shipping from more than 100 retailers. Terms weren’t disclosed.

    Delaying pickups and metering capacity is one way to prevent delivery problems later in the peak season. “They are being very disciplined in what they pick up, and that is what they need to prevent a collapse,” ShipMatrix President Satish Jindel said.

    Some retailers are warning customers to shop early and expect longer delivery times this holiday season.

    Abercrombie & Fitch Co. tells online shoppers to place their orders by Dec. 4 if they want items to arrive by Christmas using its standard shipping option. A spokeswoman said the early deadline is “to encourage early shopping given current challenges surrounding parcel capacity and associated delays” and the chain will reassess the date.

    _____________________________

  86. MM, I think tech is a different animal. I was specifically talking about the recruiting process for large accounting, consulting and financial firms. I should ahem been more specific, but I wasn’t talking about the tech recruits. Some programs want heavy quant students, but they come form a variety of majors. One of my former employers looked for students that played chess or won chess tournaments. They didn’t care about the major, but they wanted someone that could strategize etc.

  87. Ginger, I’m so sorry.

    I’m not quite sure what we’re arguing about about hiring and such. Is someone who graduates from a music or art school qualified for a generic entry-level job in a company? Sure. Will they get one of those jobs? That’s a tougher call, because (a) how many businesses are interviewing for business-ey jobs at a music/art school, (b) that’s probably not the world that the alumni network operates in, and (c) it’s probably not what the kids are interested in — they’re more likely to look for job opportunities that allow them to use their music/art degree. Can a kid going to one of those schools improve his chance to get a business-ey job? Sure; learn some basic Excel and Powerpoint skills on your own, take whatever kind of practical business/accounting kind of class the school offers, look for internships with local businesses, etc.

    IOW: a specialized art/music school isn’t exactly the death knell for kids who need a “regular” entry-level job; but it can also be a harder path than going to a school that prepares kids for those kinds of jobs and has connections with those kinds of companies. How much of it is that the school doesn’t provide the path, and how much of it is selection bias, with the kids just not being interested in that path?

    Self-serving side note: I distinguish here between the specialized art/music/etc. schools and SLACs. There are many, many people who go from SLACs to business-ey type jobs, either with additional study (e.g., me) or without. But that’s because those schools have the business connections and alumni networks and a reputation for turning out the kinds of kids who do well in those jobs. I just don’t know the extent to which a school that focuses on fine arts or some other non-business-ey area has the same kinds of connections and reputations. So I could be completely wrong here. I also assume it varies from school to school.

  88. Mooshi – I was interviewed as a 2L for a summer job at BigLaw between 2L and 3L. So my 1L grades, school and resume were key. I worked with a prof on a research project/paper my 1L and had done an internship with a non profit the summer between 1L and 2L. We talked about that project, my background, what areas of law I was interested in, anything on my resume. The point of the interview was to get to know me and for the interview to decide do I want to work with this person at 3 am, do they look and act professional and would I be comfortable having clients meet and work with this candidate. I got the summer job. Over the summer the firm could evaluate my work and answer all those same questions about whether I fit. At the end I was given an offer. So all of my 3L year I knew I had a job lined up.

  89. Mooshi, according to your 9:34 post, undergrad major is not as important as acquiring the skill set needed to work at a company like Facebook. If I’m understanding you correctly, then we are in agreement. To your 8:20 post, obviously when you talk about grad/professional degrees, they’re expected to teach professional skills. That’s a whole different kettle of fish. Law is not an undergrad degree in the US.

  90. For my switch to in-house, in the first round I met with the general counsel and another lawyer. In the second I met with the CFO and two members of senior management in the area I would support. Maybe at some point I met with HR to discuss benefits and paperwork? It was rather quick (which is unusual but they needed someone to fill a departure). No technical questions, all background/resume stuff. Interviews lasted about an hour first round, maybe half an hour each for second round.

  91. Ginger, I’m so very sorry for your loss. I’m glad you and your sibling were able to make your dad comfortable.

  92. MM: Piling on to what Kerri said: law school hiring at big firms is almost exclusively through on-campus interviews and summer jobs. IME, you get the interview based on basic things like class rank and the ability to write a sentence; then in the 20-minute interview, they assess whether you’re a “fit” — which seems to come down to “are you human and chattable and seem like not a Charles Manson type or total weirdo.” The real assessment comes with your work over the summer — not just the work product, but again, how you fit with the office culture, are you willing to put in the late nights, do you participate in all the “team” event-ey stuff, etc.

    My firm now is a little different. We are a weirdo specialized firm, and so our two primary concerns are (1) can you do the work, and (2) are you going to be happy at a weirdo specialized firm. We look very, very closely at people’s writing samples, and we want to hear the story for why they’re interested in what we do and why they want a firm like ours. We want people who will stick around and become partner, so we’re not looking for people who will be using us as a stepping-stone to some other job.

  93. ““are you human and chattable and seem like not a Charles Manson type or total weirdo.” ”

    Geez LfB I think the standard is a tad higher than that! LOL. Although I have heard candidates being dinged for what shoes they wore and for looking rumpled.

  94. Kerri, that’s a fairly typical progression, right? It sounds like such a huge trade-off–on one hand, it must be wonderful to know so far in advance that you’ve got a job when you graduate (from what’s generally an expensive program) but in exchange you don’t get to use the summers to check out various options–you’d want to stick to the one you were most certain you want to work in it. Then again, what I did with my summers, undergrad and grad, was nearly always related to what I wanted to do later, whether I was doing an internship, research, or teaching (except for the very first one, when I was on the aquatics staff of a summer camp in Michigan’s UP; even the travel I did after undergrad turned out to be fodder for my Master’s thesis). I don’t know how many people just hang out and have fun in the sun during college summers.

  95. When I was an associate at a law firm, I interviewed dozens of applicants, mostly for the summer associate program. They scheduled them to go up and down the halls, spending 10-15 minutes with each person (nonbillable billing code so we tried to keep it short) and then being taken to lunch by a group. We had already seen the resumes, but they were pretty interchangeable, unless the person spoke Mandarin or had a PhD in something. Then we had to fill out an evaluation form. There were no technical questions, and it was assumed that if the applicant was on the Law Review at a top 10 school, he/she had the requisite “intellectual horsepower” (a term that the hiring partners like to use).

    DS interviewed at some tech and consulting firms that had elaborate “show us how smart you are by doing this puzzle really fast” hiring procedures. He got his job at a fintech firm with an economics degree and no particularly relevant coursework. It was definitely a “learn on the job” situation.

  96. Man, I think y’all really misunderstand what law school teaches! It does not teach “technical” skills in the slightest!! Probably the closest class is civil procedure, where you go through the court rules and generally learn how the court system works. I mean, sure, you take a variety of courses in different areas of law — property, Constitutional law, contracts, etc. But by and large what they teach is how to do the research and how to analyze unclear and conflicting sources to find the right answer or make an argument. It is far more three years of critical thinking skills than it is “learn to practice law.” (Sure, they do have clinics and such where people can get more direct experience, but those are generally not required). It was much closer to my English degree than, say, my intro physics class.

    For ex: I took one class in my current area of work. They spent an entire semester going through the statutes. When I started at my job, it was 3-4 years before the statutory language became relevant to *anything* — turns out, my area is driven by about six linear feet of regulations, none of which my law school even mentioned, and which I could never have learned in the allotted time if they had tried. I was fundamentally worthless for at *least* my first two years as I was figuring things out.

    That’s why law schools teach as they do. No one can actually learn all of “The Law” in three years. So they teach you how to teach yourself.

  97. I have heard candidates being dinged for what shoes they wore and for looking rumpled.
    I recall a conversation between a bunch of lawyers at Corporette (granted, it’s a fashion site, but they still were lawyers talking about hiring other lawyers) where they said wearing a watch is a big plus because it shows attention to detail. I don’t understand that enough to know if I agree with it.

  98. “but in exchange you don’t get to use the summers to check out various options”

    S&M – most law students are deeply in debt and are very focussed on doing what it takes to get a good paying job. There’s very little time to mess about and “find oneself”. There are also very few choices available for students if they’re serious about getting into competitive jobs like government agency positions, criminal prosecution or Biglaw.

  99. Laura, I think your 10:12 post may be a huge help in conversations with a certain young man who is talking about becoming a lawyer! But if that’s what law school is about, then what does the bar exam cover?

  100. Lfb -good point. Imagine hiring a med student to be a surgeon in a subspecialty and asking them about surgical techniques for different procedures for that subspecialty in the interview. The student would have no clue. No, it’s all about getting a general background in how things work and then learning on the job the specifics of what you do.

  101. The bar exam covers the state law in which you want to practice and a generalized federal portion. It’s simply a weed-out, credentialing process.

  102. Kerri, that’s the trade-off I meant; you’ve got a job to cover the expensive program you’re in debt for, but no hot fun in the summertime. I wonder how many people actually do hang out and “find themselves” over summers. Like I said, I generally didn’t.

  103. LfB,

    I was fundamentally worthless for at *least* my first two years as I was figuring things out.

    If you’d just graduated from college and did Barbri to pass the bar and started as an associate – how much longer do you think it would have taken to get you up to speed?

  104. “Is someone who graduates from a music or art school qualified for a generic entry-level job in a company? Sure.”

    I do not have much artistic talent, but I have quite a large number of close friends who are artistic. They went to specific art/music schools to hone their craft. Some have dappled in the traditional business career – marketing, HR, customer service. They didn’t last, mainly because they didn’t like it. The traditional office politics, traditional 8-5 hours, and TPS reports did not jive with their personality. It is possible that people that when to Rhode Island School of Design go on to be CEO of some company, but I don’t think the personality traits of a very artistic person fit the generic entry-level job.

  105. So if law school doesn’t teach law, how do you learn the specific laws for the bar? Entirely on your own/in Kaplan-type courses?

  106. S&M – if anyone is thinking about becoming a lawyer they should think long and hard about whether they really want it. (Same for doctors.) It is a long arduous road without a lot of room for faffing about and potentially a lot of debt.

  107. Kerri, the fact that it’s a grad degree in the US certainly gives one time to consider. Same with medicine. My suggestion is a law degree at a German university (which is an undergrad program, with no tuition) and then, if he still wants a US law degree, go to law school in the US. Same amount of time as undergrad in the US, but less expense. He says “but I don’t want to learn German law; I want to learn American law”.

  108. Rhett – I think that’s like asking how long it takes a HS basketball star who turns pro at age 19 how long it takes to make it in the league. It’s so off the normal path. Can it happen? Sure, but it’s rare.

  109. S&M – One path for non-US lawyers is to do an LLM at a U.S. school. Some do an LLM and then a JD. If he’s American, that would be unusual but possible.

  110. Kerri,

    Is it possible that law school isn’t adding much value? If barbi teaches you what you need to pass the bar and it takes two years of on the job training to start adding value at a firm, could law school be 2 years? 1 year? No years?

  111. Ginger – sorry for your loss.

    In my first year in a business related job, there were some smart people who had graduated with non business degrees. As things started to get more specific more tedious and more pressured, they decided to go do something else. It helps to have a perspective of what the day to day in different jobs involve. Internships/summer jobs/projects etc. give students some idea of what to expect. My kids school has parents come in and talk about varied jobs, it’s a good informal way for kids to get a flavor for what jobs entail and be able to ask questions.

  112. Kerri, I’m off to Google LLM—have never heard of it before.

    One other question while we are here though; how likely is it that a US company would hire someone with a law degree in a different country for nternational law (maybe trade or environmental accords) and pay for them to get a degree in the US?

  113. I personally like the fact that med school and law school tend to weed out some of the weakest links. It takes time and effort to graduate from law school even if it isn’t a top 10 school. Also, it seems that a lot of my college and local friends are lawyers/graduated from law school. Many of these friends have strong writing and analytical skills. Most of my friends never see a courtroom, but they are able to clearly express themselves when they speak and write. Two years might be enough, but I don’t want to see law school eliminated or reduced to one year. Several lawyers saved my butt when they read, commented or drafted deal documents. I relied on them and they came through almost 100% of the time.

  114. Lauren, I think a lot of law jobs are not in courtrooms. HM likes to point out that it is possible to work in those various fields without a law degree, but the fact is, most advertised jobs in them require or at least strongly prefer law degrees. I don’t anticipate my son appearing in court, and don’t think he does either.

  115. “if anyone is thinking about becoming a lawyer they should think long and hard about whether they really want it.”

    Yes, this. I have had a version of this conversation many times with college students or recent grads considering law school (including a few in my household).
    First, I ask them whether Someone Else will be happy to pay for law school. If yes, then it’s a question of whether they will actually enjoy the law school experience and are willing to give up three years of earnings to have that experience. And adult life, if they are married or thinking about starting a family soon.

    For everyone else (which is everyone), the question is whether they actually want to practice law. If they don’t have parents/siblings who are lawyers, they usually don’t know what lawyers really do, and they often have extremely unrealistic ideas of how they will spend their days and nights in the early years. Although some law schools still give generous financial aid, most students will be facing six-figure debts and repaying those debts usually require working at a large-ish law firm doing tedious work for long hours. If Biglaw firms are still hiring recent college grades as legal assistants, that is often the best way to figure out really fast what lawyers do and whether you want to do it.

    Here is something I hear a lot from potential law students — “Well, I might not want to practice law but there are a lot of OTHER things you can do with a law degree” to which my response is always “yes, but you don’t actually need a law degree to do those other things.”

  116. Lauren,

    Would you be surprised if we tested top 10 ten law school students on the ability to speak and write when they started and 3 years later and there was little change? That’s certainly the case for non-graduate schools.

  117. Rhett, I worked with plenty of lawyers that didn’t graduate from the top ten. Many of my friends that live nearby didn’t graduate from the top law schools. Law school is a slog. IMHO, the people that graduate and pass the bar had to learn certain skills to successfully finish. It is just my opinion, but this is my personal and professional experience.

  118. Also, “practicing law” covers an awful lot of things besides arguing cases in court. Do any of the lawyers here regularly appear in court? I would like very much for my son to be able to experience what kind of things lawyers actually do, not the Perry Mason version

  119. S&M junior hasn’t even attended college yet. He will hear about different fields, majors and professions once he has the ability to take classes. He will meet people from all over the country and globe depending on where he attends college. He might change his mind about his major or graduate school.

  120. It is interesting the degree to which grades and coursework factor into hiring decision for lawyers. In tech, having a really high GPA is important at the top tier companies like Google, but isn’t really a factor at most jobs. No one ever asks for a transcript. I think the attitude in tech is they don’t trust grades given in courses, nor do they trust what people claim they have done on their resumes, so they rely on technical interviews instead.
    And Scarlett, yes, those puzzle questions!! I cannot tell how many combinations of snakes, tigers, and donkeys I ferried across rivers while interviewing.

    Typical tech interview lasts several hours because you get passed from person to person. The longer the interview lasts, the more likely they are going to make an offer. That is because as you are being passed around, each person gets to email out “yes” or “no”. Usually there is some kind of initial tech screen, which even before COVID was often done remotely or by telephone. When you come in, the interview focuses more on whiteboarding solutions, explaining algorithms, and so on. At some companies, the interview is in front of several people at once, and at others, each person on the interview chain has their own set of questions. If you make it up to the team lead, you are at the end and have a good shot at an offer. The offer comes fast – either right then, or the next day by phone. It is probably a slower process at the big companies.

    Years ago, I interviewed at a financial software company and got hit with a whole slew of financial questions on top of some very badly designed C programming questions. Needless to say, I did not get an offer, nor did I want one (those bad C questions really turned me off). I have steered clear of financial companies ever since.

  121. S&M,

    Why lawyer vs. say a product manager at SAP? Has he looked at the set of all professional jobs and found lawyer is the best fit. Or is that just one of the few professional jobs he’s aware of?

  122. “No one can actually learn all of “The Law” in three years. So they teach you how to teach yourself.”

    That is totally true in software jobs too. Everything changes so fast. You have to be able to teach yourself new things all the time. YOu also have to have research skills because you will be evaluating solutions all the time. I did a lot of writing back when I was at the software company, mainly comparing approaches to systems we were working on.

  123. “Law school is a slog. IMHO, the people that graduate and pass the bar had to learn certain skills to successfully finish. It is just my opinion, but this is my personal and professional experience.”

    This is my opinion as well.
    It has become something of a cliche, but a good law school does actually teach its graduates how to think like lawyers. There is absolutely no way I could have gone from college to my firm with only a 6 month bar review course in between.
    And most lawyers never set foot in a courtroom. Most cases and controversies, including civil/criminal/administrative, are resolved outside of court. Even most young lawyers who are working on large litigation are sitting in front of screens all day, not in courtrooms.

  124. When I talk about skills, I really mean the concept of “think like a XYZ” that Scarlett mentions above. I consider “thinking like a lawyer” and also “writing like a lawyer” to be a skill, a skill very specific to the legal field. Doctors are trained to “think like a doctor”. Medical education is also very specific skills focused, but by the time you have gone through all the years of post med school education and are interviewing for that surgeon job, interviewers can presume that any candidate has those specific skills or would have been booted out of his or her residency.

    The skills that tech companies interview for are similar. When candidates are asked to whiteboard a solution to a difficult problem, the whole point is to see how the candidate reasons about the problem. Sometimes the problem is something that the candidate should recognize – “Yes, I would use a hashmap here and store the elements as encountered” and sometimes it is more amorphous. At a conference for women in CS a few years ago, lots of companies showed up to recruit undergrads who were at the conference (many schools have budget to send kids to this conference) and I listened in on a interview proceeding at the hotel coffee shop. The interviewer posed a software system specification and asked the candidate to propose and explain an object oriented design that could be used for the system. That is “thinking like a software engineer”

  125. As a head paralegal in a litigation department and later at a general firm I used to help new associates learn the nuts and bolts of practicing law. New lawyers know how to research and draft briefs, and do a lot of that. But when faced with drafting a document, they haven’t learned how in law school. SM, if your son is really interested in becoming a lawyer, he should try to find a part time job as a runner for a law firm while in college. Cheerfully make copies, scan documents, distribute the mail, deliver documents to the courthouse, witness wills, answer to door when the receptionist is out, and generally be around a law practice, get to know some lawyers, and see if he likes that atmosphere. Lawyers have to drum up business. Associates have to stay late when LFB drops a brief due in 2 days on their desk at 5 PM. The young man who was the runner for 2 years at my last firm is now a lawyer and knew going in that he wanted to practice business law and not probate or civil litigation. The “fly on the wall” type scut work job really helped him plan his future.

  126. 11:04, exactly! I’m startled at the pushback from lawyers against the idea of a kid even starting undergrad with the idea that they might want to go to law school. But I know it isn’t personal—I’ve heard it before. Whereas most people in most fields (assuming they’re happy with their lives) are happy to tell kids about what they do and encourage them to consider it (academics have been criticized on here for doing this), lawyers tend to have a very strong “we the chosen” attitude and tell whoever, not just me about my kid, that law school really might not be a good idea at all. That’s why Laura’s comment about the kind of skills taught at law school was so valuable. It gives a peek beyond that wall.

  127. Hmm – I don’t think its “we the chosen” more like “we the survivors” and “we the lucky who’ve seen others lives made harder by law school debt”. Law practice ain’t what it used to be.

  128. Kerri, ok, strong enough to get through what kills ordinary students.

    Rhett, those job ads are amazing! Do they mean anything to anyone?

  129. “I must be the only one here who enjoys frivolous IG photos and stories. I follow a few celebrities, major and minor, to get a window on their personal life as cleaned up for social media. It’s a fun diversion. Some families I know have private IG pages similar to FB private groups where only members can see and share photos.”

    Not the only one, I love Instagram! I know it’s all the cleaned up version of things, but I love the kid, pet, vacation, food photos. It’s a little window into people’s lives, and I love it! I also don’t take it too seriously.

  130. Rhett, the rising law school tuition is a reason for my question earlier about a US corp hiring someone with a law degree from another country (maybe an LLM) and paying for them to get a US degree/pass the bar. The initial law degree in Germany is just another undergrad degree, paid for the same as any other German degree.

  131. “lawyers tend to have a very strong “we the chosen” attitude and tell whoever, not just me about my kid, that law school really might not be a good idea at all.”

    Umm, wow. If that’s what you’ve taken from the conversation, then I don’t know what to say. The reality is that if you decide to become a lawyer, you are bombarded with stories of how hard the job is and how many lawyers hate their jobs and how many drop out. Some of us enjoy the work and find it worthwhile; many, many others do not and have left. But even those of us who have stayed recognize the significant drawbacks that come with the big salary — number one being that that big salary is really hard to get, number two being that it’s even harder to keep, and number three being that even if you achieve 1 and 2, you will be devoting — and I do mean devoting — 60+ hrs/week of your life to the job, every week, for as many years as you decide to keep practicing.

    And the problem is that there is a very, very steep price of admission even to find out whether you are one of the people who enjoy the work. Every single one of us who has practiced for more than a short time knows someone who didn’t like BigLaw but who had to suck it up to pay off six figures in student loan debt, or who stayed in a job they hated because they felt trapped by the lifestyle and golden handcuffs. And they are *not happy*. When I went to school, you could work your way through UT and pay off the small debt quickly. That is simply not possible now.

    So, yeah, I warn people off about the law, unless they have a serious reason for wanting to do it. Not because I think I’m somehow better than them, or they’re not worthy of joining my ranks. More because I care about them and don’t want them to saddle themselves with $200K in debt that is not dischargeable in bankruptcy, if they’re just chasing an ideal of something that they may well not like. Like they say about marrying rich: you’ll earn every penny.

  132. Do they mean anything to anyone?

    They are admittedly a little buzzwordy. SAP sells software to logistics companies. So for example HAVI GmbH is one of Germany’s largest logistics companies and they specialize in managing the supply chains of Germany’s manufactures. They make sure that the windshields made by Schott make it to Mercedes factory in time to be fitted to the cars as they roll down the assembly line.

    If they land a new customer like Tesla, which is building a new factory near Berlin, a person in that job role would we working for example with Tesla and HAVI to spec out an interface between HAVI’s logistics system and Tesla’s inventory control system. Or if Tesla needed certain data points that weren’t being captured how can the system be modified to capture that data.

    The lawyer job would be providing legal support to the team working with HAVI. What sort of contracts need to be in place between HAVI and Tesla for the interface for example.

  133. The lawyer job would be providing legal support to the team working with HAVI. What sort of contracts need to be in place between HAVI and Tesla for the interface for example.

    And also, as far as I can tell, the lawyers spend a fair amount of time telling everyone else “Oh my God, don’t do that“, because avoiding boring and time-consuming regulations is so much easier than following them. So they’re often not the best friend to the people producing, marketing, and advertising the product.

  134. I’ll chime in too – Totally agree with the above information. If someone wants to do medicine, they should really really want to do it. It is an unforgiving path – students commit to a lot of debt before they have a real understanding of the destination. Most physicians would not encourage their children in the field.

    On interviews, NZ actually standardly asks a few technical medical questions in interviews -I’ve been on both the hiring and being hired side of this. It is weird and surprising, and I am not sure how much it adds to the candidate selection. America never does.

    If my kids stay in NZ, I will be more encouraging of law, medicine, vet school – no crushing debt and much more sustainable careers.

  135. And the problem is that there is a very, very steep price of admission even to find out whether you are one of the people who enjoy the work.

    @Lfb – that is such succinct way of saying what I think about medicine (and maybe related to why you are good at what you do). It is hard to know if you like the work until you your practice becomes somewhat routine. For most, that is a few years after training. For an 18 year old to commit to 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, 3-7 years of residency and 3 years of early practice (and easily 500k in debt) BEFORE they know if they are really suited for the job is problematic. There are not many easy ways out once you start school. I grew into liking medicine, but it was more than 15 years after I started college. Not everyone is so fortunate.

    The path is NZ is less linear – easier to work part time, take time off, change direction. Which means we have a lot of partially trained 32 year olds, and aimless junior doctors. I’m not sure it’s better, but it’s more humane

  136. Laura, no, that attitude is not what I got out of this conversation! It’s present here, as it always is when asking lawyers about their career, but you all have been unusually open and I appreciate it. Can you think of any other career in which people bombard others who are interested in it with the negatives a Ott the profession? If Mooshi’s son wanted to see what architecture and planning are really like, and asked Kerri’s husband to let him shadow for a few days, do you expect he’d highlight the worst parts of the job? The architects I know work crazy hours, and I’ve never actually heard them describe their job to a yo g person who is interested in the field, but I have a hard time imagining they hours are what they would highlight. I don’t know why lawyers do this. There are drawbacks to any profession, but I’ve rarely heard professors warn students about the pay or doctors focus on what residents are put through.

  137. “And the problem is that there is a very, very steep price of admission even to find out whether you are one of the people who enjoy the work. Every single one of us who has practiced for more than a short time knows someone who didn’t like BigLaw but who had to suck it up to pay off six figures in student loan debt, or who stayed in a job they hated because they felt trapped by the lifestyle and golden handcuffs. And they are *not happy*.”

    +1000

    It would probably make a lot more sense to shift law into the undergraduate curriculum, as many other countries do. That is probably not going to happen any time soon, so young people thinking of law school need to regard it as a nonrefundable investment of time and money, rather than as another academic consumption item.

  138. In any event, should my little duck decide law is what he wants to do, he has several years to check it out. Not by doing the job, but through other jobs and experiences working with or shadowing lawyers. It’s entirely possible that he might find a different way to do the things that interest him. Also, his interests might change—that’s part of the reason for a gap year—but I doubt they will change as extremely as suddenly developing an interest in logistics.

  139. DH would not recommend architecture to anyone unless they really wanted to do it. He’d be happy to let a kid shadow him for a day. From what I can tell, that means sitting at a desk, on zoom calls, with engineers and other architects most of the day dealing with problems, dealing with BS managerial stuff and maybe looking at some drawings – ya know actual work.

    (WFH has been enlightening.)

  140. I don’t know why lawyers do this. There are drawbacks to any profession, but I’ve rarely heard professors warn students about the pay or doctors focus on what residents are put through.

    Not all professions are equal in terms of drawbacks. Being a lawyer seems to have an usually large number of downsides compared with all the other jobs that a smart kid could do.

  141. Scarlett, yes. As I’ve me filmed a couple of times, it is an undergrad degree here. If he goes to undergrad in the states, earlier discussion highlighted the kinds of jobs he could do without law school. If he goes to undergrad in Germany, he’d have a German law degree, and I don’t see anything that would block him from doing any of those other jobs. Either way, US law school is a decision he doesn’t need to make for several years.

  142. “There are drawbacks to any profession, but I’ve rarely heard professors warn students about the pay or doctors focus on what residents are put through.”

    Even in grad school a few decades ago, professors were warning us about the realities of the job market. I’ve known a number of doctors who are very upfront about the challenges of practicing medicine.

    Every career has significant drawbacks, but people’s preferences vary and so characteristics that make a career a no-go for one person are not huge disadvantages to another.

    One of the benefits of this site is that we can all get an inside view to a number of different professions, warts and all.

  143. Can you think of any other career in which people bombard others who are interested in it with the negatives a Ott the profession?

    Medicine. Every doctor I know actively discourages anyone they talk to from going into medicine.

  144. Rhett, “drawbacks” are subjective. Drawbacks in a logistics job for my kid would be that he wouldn’t enjoy it and wouldn’t feel he was contributing anything to making the world better. I know you think it’s stupid to want a job that you feel makes the world a better place. That’s why I said it’s subjective—not everyone agrees on that. It clearly is important to my kid.

  145. For most kids, law school (or medical school) is a decision they need to make when they are quite young. People do not meander into competitive professional graduate programs. In my class of 120 medical students, all had been working for the position since they were 19. My school was very competitive and state schools are somewhat different. But you don’t have a few years of poor grades a community college, transfer to State U, get a psychology degree, take a few night classes and the MCAT and end up in medical school. Sure, people come with a diversity of experience, but those experiences generally don’t involve anything other than hard work.

  146. Cass, I very much agree with your last two paragraphs. What is your degree in, and are you doing what you expected when you chose that course?

  147. Most people only need a lawyer when something has gone wrong. Death, divorce, litigation, jail, fraud. That means lawyers deal with unhappy people a lot. A big part of my job is telling people, “no you can’t do that” and trying to figure out what they can do, which they often don’t really want to do. And the hours are long and it is expensive.

    IOW the negatives are rather negative and people considering it need to know what they’re in for.

    Last, lawyers are trained to give advice particularly on worst case outcomes. Basically, here’s all the bad stuff, and the risks involved, here are some positives, and alternatives, now you decide. I don’t see the advice given here as any different from that.

  148. my kid would be that he wouldn’t enjoy it

    He wouldn’t or you wouldn’t?

    Logistics doesn’t make the world a better place? Do you think the food at the supermarket just appears by magic? Do the drugs and medical supplies at the hospital just appear in the supply closet fully formed from the ether?

  149. S&M… Being able to live in comfort with adequate food and warmth is a good thing. Logistics is one of those things that make food, warmth and shelter more affordable.

    What professions do you think make the world a better place? Why isn’t logistics one of those things?

  150. Ada, to get grades in a strong program, you don’t need to know what you want to do next. That’s one of the strengths of the system of gen ed requirements at US universities, and of liberal arts requirements at liberal arts colleges. They give students a chance to decide what direction they want to go. German universities are different. You are admitted to a specific major; changing generally means starting over.

  151. Rhett, lol, I had a feeling you’d try to argue with me about that, even though I made sure to express it as subjective!

  152. “Drawbacks in a logistics job for my kid would be that he wouldn’t enjoy it and wouldn’t feel he was contributing anything to making the world better.”

    I think that’s a really premature judgment for you, or him to make. And thinking of Rocky’s example, how is the person who’s working out the logistics somehow contributing less to making the world better than the lawyers who are working to ensure regulatory compliance?

  153. Kerri, thank you! That last paragraph was a lightbulb moment for me as to why lawyers represent your profession the way y’all do.

  154. even though I made sure to express it as subjective!

    That the logistics industry makes the world a better place is not subjective. It’s a fact.

  155. Cass and Milo, check out what I said to Rhett. Of course logisticians are objectively necessary to get things done. Doesn’t mean it’d give every single person in that position the same job satisfaction. I’m sure there are jobs you would find necessary but not desirable for yourself. It’s a good thing we are all different.

  156. Rhett, yes, that is a fact. Go back and read what I wrote before; a person’s satisfaction is subjective. Do you think Cass and Milo’s jobs make the world a better place? Would you want to do them? It’s a good thing we are all different

  157. One of the lessons of the pandemic has been that logistics is a really important field!!!

  158. That the logistics industry makes the world a better place is not subjective. It’s a fact.

    LOL ! I had only one logistics class but I was fascinated and I thought it would be very interesting. I missed my calling.

  159. Rhett beat me to it. I was going to point out that logistics people are the reason everyone has been eating and obtaining their necessities during this pandemic. Logistics people are going to be vital to distributing the vaccines. I could go on and on.

    I remember a conversation with a friend whose daughter was really good at math and science but had floated the idea of going into social work “to help people.” This was in a time following a hurricane flooding event, and the army corp of engineers had devised a way to prevent the largest city in the state from losing all water service for the foreseeable future. Friend pointed out to daughter that those engineers had helped a lot of people.

  160. Do you think Cass and Milo’s jobs make the world a better place? Would you want to do them?

    I don’t really know what Milo does. But I sure as shit think Cass’s job makes the world a better place.

    I’m more curious what you mean by, “wouldn’t feel he was contributing anything to making the world better.”

  161. We tend to think of logistics as a business-y type field, but many people with degrees in systems engineering go into logistics. Some areas within logistics are highly quantitative.

  162. “It’s present here, as it always is when asking lawyers about their career. . . . Can you think of any other career in which people bombard others who are interested in it with the negatives a Ott the profession?”

    Perhaps it’s not because people are snobbish about being lawyers, but because they have years of first-hand experience in the downsides of the job?

    Also, if he’s interested in law to make the world a better place, then he needs to focus on getting excellent grades in college so he can get a free ride to law school somewhere, because the jobs that he would think make the world a better place don’t pay for shit. If that is the primary factor, because law school is so costly, it would be worth his while to investigate other ways to help that will make comparable money and require less up-front investment in time and money.

    Also, Ada is right; there is very little “taking a few years to find yourself” anymore. Y’all know that DD goes to a pretty good SLAC, and she is rooming with several pre-med types. They have to really struggle to get their pre-med courses in and also hit the divisionals required to graduate. DD gave up that idea in her first year because she literally could not fit in the required coursework for that and engineering in her first couple of years in order to make up her mind which she preferred.

    Of course there are a lot of college kids who are playing around and still finding themselves. They’re just not the ones trying to get into med school/law school/business school/engineering. Again: not to be discouraging. Just to be clear about the tradeoffs of different paths.

  163. What does your son want to do? Has he specifically said “I want to be a lawyer” or something more general like “I want to help people”. Does he like working with people or independently. Does he like structured work, or does he want to do things his way? These are questions he should be pondering.

    Going off the logistics tangent, I’m thinking of my industry of disability benefits. There is my job, in that I help fix problems that would prevent a benefit from being paid. There are people that are committed to preventing bottlenecks that cause benefit payments from being paid – that could be an issue with our internal systems that cause delays, or thinking of way to use technology and bots to speed the process, whatever. The point is that I don’t work with a single person that went to college dreaming of insurance. But we all fell into a place and moved around to different departments and the end goal of all of us is Helping People.

  164. Ginger, I’m so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family.

    I enjoy IG as well.

  165. We have a degree program in actuarial science. A lot of the majors in that program minor in CS, so I see many of them in my classes. They tend to be super smart. I have to admit, I don’t really know what kind of job a degree in actuarial science buys you. Is it one of those fields with certification exams? I assume they work in the insurance industry?

  166. I thing the majority of jobs help make the world a better place. Some seem to have a more direct impact than others, but I can’t think of very many jobs that aren’t making things better in some way.

  167. Interesting that your impression is that actuaries tend to be super smart because that’s what I observed. And believe it or not they were some of the most interesting people I worked with. One of the actuaries I worked with closely tried to get me started on the certification program but I didn’t think I was that “smart” in that way. I’ve tried to convince someone I know to consider that field. IMO the work is actually quite interesting.

  168. Rhett, the emphasis in that sentence is on the word “he”. As important as logistics is, I don’t think he would feel that it made any difference whether he was in that spot or if someone else was. My question about a couple peoples’ jobs was assuming that you’d find what they do important, bt wouldn’t necessarily want to do it, just as a way of saying that the two are not linked—it is possible to agree something (logistics or growing food (which requires a lot of logistics)) is important yet not be interested in doing it yourself. I think this holds through for all levels of education. My schoolmate who works in a hospital cafeteria and my Sous in’s husband who drives a semi truck don’t think they are uniquely qualified for those positions, but they do clearly feel that they are the right people for those jobs, and that they’ve found their niche, the jobs that are right for them.

  169. Actuarial careers can be very lucrative. Lots of math and statistical modeling of risk and behaviors. It is a really interesting field.

  170. Denver, yes—that’s part of why I like talking to my kids former basketball coach so much. He is the only person I know who will plainlynstate that his career was in something unimportant. He openly denigrates “chasing a ball around” for 11 years in comparison to other work. It’s fun to pick his brain about it. One thing is for sure though—his height and natural vertical leap ability made it clear that he was well-suited to it. It’s that feeling of “this is where *I* matter”. You made a fairly dramatic career change yourself. Would be right to guess that you felt both were important, but the latter is a better fit for your own skills?

  171. Two of my friends have kids that are actuaries. This is one major where it probably doesn’t matter where you go to college. There are jobs waiting for the actuary grads because it is like nursing grads – demand for the new actuaries is greater than supply. There is a rigorous exam process to get credentialed, and being an actuary isn’t for everyone.

  172. “ I don’t think he would feel that it made any difference whether he was in that spot or if someone else was. ”

    Oh, everyone is replaceable.

  173. S&M,

    You’ve mentioned in the past that you son is aware that he won’t have the same resources to fall back on that you’ve had. I just worry that you’re approaching this as if he would. Or that you’re encouraging him to think like you did back in the day without fully adjusting to how much different his reality will be from yours.

    Or I could be totally off base. That’s always a strong possibility.

  174. @Milo – full agreement.

    That’s part of the flaw in the “medicine ACTUALLY helps people” argument. It’s more true in some specialties that others, but most doctors are cogs in a big medical machine. Someone I know is fond of saying (about Emergency Medicine) – “If you get killed on your way to work, the ad to replace you will go up before your obituary”. If you want a job that only you can do, medicine is not right. (And, I would suspect, neither is law).

    I’ll actually volunteer that DH probably doesn’t make the world a better place. As he is fond of saying, “Your job is not your work”. He is currently doing data analytics for a internet company. He’s helping them sell more stuff. It is not clear to me (or him) that the internet company actually adds value to the universe. On the other hand, he has higher job (and life) satisfaction than most of the doctors I know.

  175. “Is it one of those fields with certification exams? I assume they work in the insurance industry?”

    Yes and yes. It is a very long process to get fully certified. My mom started as an entry-level actuary, but she eventually left the field for a variety of reason – one being that studying for 10 rounds of professional exams wasn’t very compatible with motherhood in the 80’s.

    I completely agree with the people defending logistics. Most definitely something that makes the world a better place!!! And also – it’s not really about “trucks” or “container ships”. It’s about planning, problem-solving, applying math to real-life situations. It is exactly the kind of career that someone who is smart about all those things would be good at and enjoy! There are lots of people who enjoy solving a good puzzle or problem, and it can be very fulfilling to “fix” things – especially because there are measurable results & projects END.

    One thing to think about is whether a person likes to work in shades of grey and uncertainty and lots of subjectivity or in an area where there are more clear-cut answers and outputs.

    And to go back to the interview/qualifications questions. When I started out in my career, I was in a somewhat prestigious training program, and we would take a chance on non-Accounting/Finance grads and try to “teach” them Accounting/Finance. It was a formal training program with company-taught classes for 2 years – not just taught “on the job” by their manager. Most of the HSS Poli Sci major types either ended up getting an MBA (i.e., actual classroom training) or moved into less specific tracks. Since that role, everywhere else I’ve worked, entry-level jobs were exclusively filled by people with an Accounting/Finance degree. I would call “fit” closer to what LFB described. I always think of it as “no douchebags, no crazies, no whiners, no a-holes” but same difference.

    And most people get their first accounting job and then sit for the CPA while working – IME. If you don’t pass within a normal amount of time, you are shown the door.

  176. Ada – in a roundabout way, people presumably want the products he’s helping to market because they will make their lives more enjoyable, or easier somehow. I remember an essay about capitalism that was somewhat related to this topic and the author noted the improvement in kitchen garbage bags that you now simply grab by the installed drawstring, and it cinches tight automatically. How easily we forgot about finding the little sheet of twist ties and having to close the bag ourselves 30 years ago. (Although I personally go up in a household that rarely, if ever bought garbage bags.)

  177. “As important as logistics is, I don’t think he would feel that it made any difference whether he was in that spot or if someone else was.”
    Why on earth would you say that? You seem to have this bias that any field that is technical or engineering oriented is very rote and uncreative. But that is far from the case. I have a good friend who is a systems engineer PhD who worked on a lot of logistics oriented problems in the airline industry. A lot of the work involves getting planes and crews together at the right times, in the face of bad weather and mechanical problems. He designed algorithms for some of those problems that improved on time performance at his company AND that he got to present at research conferences. I think that is pretty darn creative. He was really involved in new ways of tracking baggage, and was very proud of that work. It wasn’t boring rote stuff at all – it was very design oriented.

  178. “Most physicians would not encourage their children in the field.”

    How about other people’s children?

    Both my kids, but especially DS, have had many physicians encourage them to go to med school. DS’ pediatrician pitched that to him when he (DS, not the pediatrician) was in HS.

    A couple years ago, DD asked her BFF’s mom, a practicing MD, about medicine and med school, and she (the mom) was so delighted that DD was thinking about it (BFF is a physics major with no plans for med school, although BFF’s dad, also an MD, seems to be making sure BFF keeps the med school option open). I think BFF’s parents enjoy being MDs and the lifestyle it affords them.

    We also know quite a few kids of MDs who are also targeting or attending med school. Some of the MD parents that we know well have encouraged their kids. Some of those kids seem to have grown up assuming that med school is their default path, i.e., their MD parents did not appear to dissuade them.

  179. @ Finn, I think we’ve previously established that the practice of medicine where you are is a different animal altogether :)

  180. He is the only person I know who will plainlynstate that his career was in something unimportant.

    But it was still making the world a better place by providing entertainment for people.

    He is currently doing data analytics for a internet company. He’s helping them sell more stuff. It is not clear to me (or him) that the internet company actually adds value to the universe.

    He is helping facility the transfer of goods to people who want/need them. That is adding value to the universe.

  181. You made a fairly dramatic career change yourself. Would be right to guess that you felt both were important, but the latter is a better fit for your own skills?

    I wouldn’t say they are “important” but they both help make the world a better place. I would say IT was probably a better fit for my skills, but I am enjoying healthcare more.

    I still think if I could do it all over again, systems engineering is where my talents/abilities would be best utilized. But I had no idea that even existed back in the day.

  182. Oh, for gods sake Ivy, read the rest of the thread and figure out that the whole “defending logistics” thing is a bunch of crap. No o e ever said it was a useless field.

  183. “ There are lots of people who enjoy solving a good puzzle or problem, and it can be very fulfilling to “fix” things – especially because there are measurable results & projects END.”

    Yep. It’s perfect for them. No one needs to feel pushed into it. Leave it to the people who get that dopamine hit from doing it.

  184. But I had no idea that even existed back in the day.

    Many new fields have opened up apart from the more traditional fields. I’d like my kids to be open to them. My DH took computer science BITD in the home country when no one had heard of that major and thought he was making a bad mistake by not taking mechanical engineering. DH also was into data security when it was unheard of. Logistics and actuarial science would have been interesting to me had I known about them.

  185. Mooshi, damn, that is one hell of a distance how did you manage to make the leap from “not *his-* thing to “I creative and rote”?

  186. No o e ever said it was a useless field.

    It came across like you feel it’s beneath your dignity. Maybe that’s not what you intended. But that’s how it came across.

  187. Louise, I agree that actuarial science and logistics both sound like possible good fits for you.

  188. Rhett, and as soon as I realized it had come across that way, I posted a correction. And another. Then another. And more. But no one gives a crap, because it is much more fun to chase a straw man.

  189. “I think we’ve previously established that the practice of medicine where you are is a different animal altogether ”

    We have?

    The practice of medicine that I experienced on the continent was pretty similar to what I’ve experienced here.

    Note that I’ve never been on Medicare or Medicaid.

  190. “If you want a job that only you can do, medicine is not right.”

    One could easily spend one’s entire life searching for such a job and never finding it.

  191. “You made a fairly dramatic career change yourself. Would be right to guess that you felt both were important, but the latter is a better fit for your own skills?”

    Most of the engineers I’ve known who left the profession, other than for retirement, did not do so because their skillsets were not good fits for their engineering jobs. They were good at what they did, but didn’t enjoy their jobs enough to stay.

  192. “Most people only need a lawyer when something has gone wrong.”

    Am I unusual in that so far I’ve only used lawyers for wills, trusts, and estate planning?

  193. “We have a degree program in actuarial science…. They tend to be super smart.”’

    My understanding is being super smart is a prerequisite to completing an actuarial science degree program and passing the required tests to work as an actuary.

  194. Denver, I agree with you about the entertainment. The fun part for me though is seeing how the guy weighs it himself. I think that for him, the value then was in getting out of the other things he was doing and in working with young people now. He has mentioned the role that coaches played in his life, and has very intentionally chosen not to become a father, so I think he sees himself as giving the guys a lot of guidance and finds value in that. My son was der not the best player on the team, didn’t even start; I think his changing teams was so upsetting because he thought they had more of a connection that way.

  195. “For most kids, law school (or medical school) is a decision they need to make when they are quite young. People do not meander into competitive professional graduate programs. In my class of 120 medical students, all had been working for the position since they were 19.”

    I’ve told the story before of DS’ HS chem honors class, taken summer after freshman year. The class informally polled themselves, and all but two kids were planning to attend med school.

    It seems to me that most kids who end up going to med school were planning that well before HS graduation. When they start HS, a lot of kids seem to want to become MDs, and while many kids drop off that path for various reasons, it seems a lot fewer join it.

  196. “I think y’all really misunderstand what law school teaches! It does not teach “technical” skills in the slightest!!”

    IOW, learning ‘legalese’ is done via OJT?

  197. “We had already seen the resumes, but they were pretty interchangeable, unless the person spoke Mandarin or had a PhD in something.”

    IOW, undergrad major didn’t usually matter?

    Are there sub-fields within law in which non-legal SME matters? E.g., would an IP law firm look specifically for lawyers with technical undergrad degrees?

  198. “the pandemic-fueled online shopping season is stretching delivery networks to their limits.”

    I’m wondering if/when any merchants will offer incentives for in-store or curbside pickup.

  199. “Am I unusual in that so far I’ve only used lawyers for wills, trusts, and estate planning?”

    Wills, trusts, and estate planning involve preparation for death. That’s why most people put them off for decades. With the possible exception of those who help with adoptions, most attorneys who work with individuals are planning for, trying to prevent, or reacting to negative events.

  200. “Are there sub-fields within law in which non-legal SME matters? E.g., would an IP law firm look specifically for lawyers with technical undergrad degrees?”

    Yes. Yes.

  201. “In tech, having a really high GPA is important at the top tier companies like Google, but isn’t really a factor at most jobs. No one ever asks for a transcript. I think the attitude in tech is they don’t trust grades given in courses, nor do they trust what people claim they have done on their resumes, so they rely on technical interviews instead.”

    My experience has been quite different. Transcripts were often scrutinized and discussed, in addition to using technical interviews.

    Time for technical interviews was limited, so a common approach was to ask in interviews about one subject area, and extrapolate to other areas based on the transcript. E.g., someone got As in circuit design class, but didn’t do well in technical interview questions about circuit design, then all other As come into question. Or, if that interviewee did well, then it was assumed the other As on the transcript similarly indicated excellence in those areas as well.

    OTOH, there were typically multiple interviewers, so there was coordination so interviewers would cover different topics.

  202. From what I can tell, that means sitting at a desk, on zoom calls, with engineers and other architects most of the day dealing with problems, dealing with BS managerial stuff and maybe looking at some drawings – ya know actual work.

    (WFH has been enlightening.)

    In other words, you didn’t realize there was that much negative in his job, because when he talks about work, that’s not the part he talks about.

  203. “most attorneys who work with individuals are planning for, trying to prevent, or reacting to negative events.”

    I read Kerri’s post (“Most people only need a lawyer when something has gone wrong.”) as indicating most consultation was reactive rather than proactive.

    I guess I’ve also had other experiences with lawyers WRT real estate transactions, which in my cases were not negative events.

  204. Finn/Laura, I don’t know what SMEs are, but my niece who is in her third year of an engineering degree is planning to go to law school, because there is apparently a growing need for lawyers who understand engineering.

  205. “IME for science and non-CS engineering jobs “tech interviews” per se are not common.”

    Interesting. My experience has been the opposite. Both as an interviewer and as an interviewee, nearly all my job interviews were/included what I would characterize as technical interviews.

  206. Anon- the part he talks about the most is the stuff I can relate to and maybe help with – office politics and salary. I’m his wife, not a colleague. Of course he’s not going to talk to me about technical calls with engineers, drawings for a specific project or issues a project is running into.

    I was surprised by how much of DH’s job is management of his team and project management. In earlier years it was far more technical. I was also surprised by how much of his job is sitting at a desk and not on job sites (for which I am thankful). Again, a change from earlier years.

    If he were talking to a prospective architect he might emphasize different things. He wouldn’t recommend it as a career though unless the person was very interested.

  207. “Fit is a big consideration.”

    IME also. Fit (e.g., no douchebags) and technical competence were the two main things we tried to evaluate.

  208. I think most people’s experience with the law is with divorce/custody and traffic court, followed by real estate transactions and wills.

  209. Yes, there is demand for engineering and science knowledge combined with law, especially around patent law. I knew a math PhD who went to law school to get into that area, and a former student of mine, who did his PhD in CS at NYU, now runs a lucrative consulting business in that field. He employs both lawyers and engineers.

  210. “that’s not the part he talks about” – There is so little I can talk about with my job – confidentiality ya know – that what most people can hear about are the hours, the pay, the debt, and some generalizations about what I do. The positives – other than salary (and that’s not discussed – EVER) – are hard to convey when you can’t go into the details.

  211. The practice of medicine that I experienced on the continent was pretty similar to what I’ve experienced here

    You have practiced medicine? Wait, you’re a doctor? How have I missed that all these years. I honestly thought you were an engineer.

  212. I once worked for a bank that had a system for Talent Inventory. The reason is that employees would get dinged on compensation if they didn’t exhibit certain skills. It was a culture (at that time) of move up or out. In order to protect the SMEs, they were placed in a corner box on the grid. They were still promoted and given a raise, but they sometimes had no interest in moving up the ladder to become a manager etc. They were happy in the SME role, but the Talent Inventory system would have produced negative results about some of the SMEs without this designation.

  213. “You have practiced medicine? Wait, you’re a doctor?”

    No, I experienced the practice of medicine as a patient.

  214. “There are not many easy ways out once you start school.”

    At a college info session, the engineering school rep from DD’s school told me that most of their biomed engineering majors were actually premed.

  215. Fit – in both the home country and here, the people I have worked with have had similar personality types. There are outliers here and there but by far we are similar. This has transcended culture, race, gender etc.

  216. “I cannot tell how many combinations of snakes, tigers, and donkeys I ferried across rivers while interviewing.”

    I can tell how many I had– zero.

    This discussion tells me that within technical fields, there are a lot of different job interview practices.

  217. “One thing to think about is whether a person likes to work in shades of grey and uncertainty and lots of subjectivity or in an area where there are more clear-cut answers and outputs.”

    ITA.

  218. “that’s part of the reason for a gap year”

    Has your DS decided on a gap year? If so, what will he do during that year?

    Vaccination news is making it look like a gap year would’ve worked well for DD in many ways, but the one big issue would’ve been what she could do during that year.

  219. “At a college info session, the engineering school rep from DD’s school told me that most of their biomed engineering majors were actually premed.”

    That’s a very popular path at DS3’s school, also.

    Medical school is still a very popular aspiration around here. Most of the young doctors don’t seem to object to the things the older MDs, who know what it was like to practice in a different time, find intolerable. I know three people currently doing medical school courtesy of the Army, as Louise posted. Seems to work well for them, and the debt is paid off by 4 (maybe 6, not sure) years of service, so they don’t worry about loans.

  220. Mafalda, I built stuff mostly using flatsawn oak. I like the look of wood, and flatsawn oak has very bold grain patterns, and I usually use finishes that accentuate that.

    How long those projects took depended on the complexity and how many new techniques I needed to learn. Simple bookshelves might take 2 to 3 weekends (Norm Abrams notwithstanding, nothing was done in one weekend because there’s always some time needed for things to dry properly). Some projects took many months, although in part because I wouldn’t work on them every weekend, especially during ski season.

    How do you feel about giving away or selling your work? I’m reminded of a line from American in Paris, when Gene Kelly’s character, a painter, reflects on how once a painting is sold, it’s gone, not like with a songwriter who can still hear the song after selling it.

  221. Most of the young doctors don’t seem to object to the things the older MDs, who know what it was like to practice in a different time, find intolerable.

    The big complaint I hear from the older generation is about documentation/charting and having to use an EMR. I find this to be a big positive to the job – I can chart much quicker than I could by hand, and it’s much easier to find things and read back that it is with paper charts.

  222. Finn- flat sawn oak is beautiful. I bet your work is stunning, given how you come across as so precise. I do give away a ton of my work. It’s just trying to find good ways to do that without foisting it on people/organizations that don’t want it. It’s hard to tell whether someone truly likes something or is just being polite. If someone compliments my work spontaneously, I just give it to them!

  223. Other than different medicare reimbursement rates, I don’t think medical practice is much different here than on the continental US.

  224. Finn, nope, no decisions on either of those yet. He is starting to narrow choices by eliminating things he’s not interested in. Physics and biology are both based in “that’s just the way things are” with no deeper explanation—not interesting to him. Several people in this thread have mentioned flattening reality into a binary (“black/white decision”). Also not interesting to him. And before anyone reads too much into that, not interesting to him doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing, just that it’s not what he wants to do.

  225. “Several people in this thread have mentioned flattening reality into a binary (“black/white decision”). ”

    That’s not what I was trying to say at all. I was saying that there are jobs where the expectations and responsibilities are very clear cut and precise (e.g., get these goods from one state to another as efficiently as possible). And there are jobs where there is a lot more grey (e.g., write a deck that conveys our strategy and holds people’s attention). Within that spectrum, it’s good to think about the right fit. (knowing that the more into management you go – the more you go toward the grey side)

  226. Ivy, what makes you think I didn’t understand? The only thing I don’t understand now is whether you realize that management is far from the only type of position where you don’t have to deal with b/w thinking.

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