Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Be Prepared

This post may seem off-topic at first, but if you bear with me, I think it’s relevance will become clear. A recent front page article in the Wall Street Journal discussing one of the dirty little secrets of the American legal profession made me start thinking long and hard about the tremendous shifts which our society is undergoing, and the affect those shifts will inevitably have on personal relationships.

Entitled Hard Case: Job Market Wanes for U.S. Lawyers: Growth of Legal Sector Lags Broader Economy; Law Schools Proliferate, the front page article published in Monday’s Journal set-off something like shockwaves in the legal blogosphere because it formally unmasked one of it’s bitterest, most high-profile “celebrities”: Scott Bullock, who is better know at sites like JDJive and JDUnderground as “Law is for Losers” or “L4L.” Mr. Bullock is a 2005 graduate of Newark’s Seton Hall University School of Law, a school ranked in the “second tier” of all accredited American law schools by the all-knowing U.S. News and World Report. In the article, Mr. Bullock candidly acknowledges having accrued more than $118,000 in law school debt which he is forced to support on an income of $50,000 a year as a personal injury attorney in Manhattan, despite having graduated in the top 1/3 of his law school class. Mr. Bullock, who asserts that high school friends employed as electricians and plumbers earn considerably more than he does, deems his law degree a “waste.”

The article includes a number of other similar tales of six-figure debt, unemployment, temporary work for $20-$30 an hour, and entry-level positions offering $33,000 per year with no benefits. Though few people outside the profession seem to recognize this fact, most lawyers know that while the number of positions available for attorneys and the average salaries achieved by most attorneys has stagnated or shrunk, the number of law schools and law school graduates, and the cost of paying for a legal education, have all exploded.

This state of affairs has produced incredible bitterness among many law students and lawyers, who are typically people who have spent their entire pre-law lives succeeding and being rewarded for their success. They have always gotten the best grades, and the highest scores on standardized tests, and thus they have usually grown to believe quite fervently in the legitimacy of these measures of quality and merit—after all, it is easy to believe that a system that says you are the best is judging properly. They have always done the “right thing” as the system has defined it, and now the system has made it clear that they are failures. They are sure that the problem is the law schools have misled them by encouraging them with false reports about the rates of employment and earnings of their graduates to overinvest in a worthless degree.

What most of those people complaining can’t (or won’t) recognize is that what we're undergoing here is a shift in the structure of our economy, not simply in the structure of the legal profession. As the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman loves to point out, globalization has created an economic system where there is a tiny elite of “winners” and their elite class of servitors (doctors, lawyers, bankers, etc.) and a huge population of “losers.”

Of course, Friedman likes to pretend that the sorting process is controlled by “merit”--but the reality is that this is the way the world has worked through most of human history--small elites control most of the power and resources, while the masses who actually do the producing own nothing. The reality is that now, middle and upper middle class white Americans, who at least on a global scale thought that they were part of the elite, are realizing (or should be) that they are actually part of the mass--and they don’t like it.

They want to pretend the problem is that they were sold a bill of goods by dishonest law schools, without acknowledging that they really had no meaningful alternative to going to law school to achieve what the ultimately were after--an elite lifestyle. The problem isn’t that the schools lied to them (though they did)--the problem is the schools couldn’t deliver what they promised, whether they admitted it or not, because the system can no longer deliver--the sham of “upward mobility” is itself being exposed as a fraud. And while more people are recognizing the fraud, most can't face it's true nature--that it’s not about choosing the “right” educational program or buying a house in the “right” market with the “right” kind of loan, any more than it was about choosing the “right” internet stock in 1999. It’s about a system that's breaking down, irretrievably, a way of life that's over: a world in which white middle-class American children who can always expect to do better than their parents.

What does all this have to do with personal relationships? As Evia often points out, the choice of a partner is crucial, and I think it is more so now than ever before. I’ve always been loathe here to give advice about what to look for in a man, since I think who a woman is attracted to and why she is attracted to him is so individual, and rightly so; nor do I consider myself an “expert” on picking a man for anyone other than myself. But I have been reading some handwriting on the wall that I think some other people may be missing, and it is relevant to the issue of choosing a partner.

There are some qualities that I think are consistently important across time: WHAT WAS HIS RELATIONSHIP LIKE WITH HIS MOTHER? Loving, respectful, affectionate—but not tethered? WHAT WAS/IS HIS FATHER'S RELATIONSHIP LIKE WITH HIS MOTHER? I remember my husband telling me not long after we met that his father truly adored his mother. When a man grows up in a home where he sees his mother being adored, he learns how to adore. DOES HE LIKE WOMEN? No, not is he heterosexual (though this will come in handy too). Does he genuinely like women as people, not just as potential sexual targets? Many people, men and women, don’t really like women, and such people will usually end up treating you as a woman quite shabbily. DOES HE THINK YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL? Do you want anything less?

HOW DOES HE DESCRIBE HIS DISPUTES WITH OTHERS? Is anything ever his fault? Does he ever play a role in the problems he experiences in life? Or is he a perpetual victim, constantly being abused and taken advantage of by the maliciousness of others? Please believe—one day YOU will be one of the malicious “others” who is out to get him if you get involved with a man like this.

In terms of a partner who will help you thrive as our society undergoes tremendous change, WHAT IS HIS WORK ETHIC? IS HE PERSISTENT? IS HE FLEXIBLE? Is he easily defeated in the face of adversity? Does he expect everything to go his way, and fall apart when it doesn’t? The New York Times recently did a story on the number of American men who have simply dropped out of the job market, and usually the marriage market as well, who have essentially given up on doing anything more than subsisting in the face of struggle. A man’s work ethic and persistence are not just about the income he earns—they’re about his unwillingness to give up when the going gets tough. The going is getting tougher—are you prepared? Is he?

HOW DOES HE HANDLE HIS RESOURCES? Is he thrifty? Efficient? Does he understand the value of investing for the future? Is he overly concerned with impressing other people or enjoying transitory material pleasures? IS HE GOAL ORIENTED? Is there some significant achievement in his life that he can point to that he undertook to accomplish and then went on to actually attain—a degree, a job, a triathlon, anything?

These are some the values that I have found key in making a man a potentially attractive long-term mate. We all have our own individual list of qualities that we find appealing, but as our world changes, we have to be aware of how those changes can affect our lives, and how we can prepare to meet the challenges they present. One of the most important ways to prepare is to make sure that the man by your side has as complete an understanding as you do of what you’re up against.

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

Aimee said:

HOW DOES HE HANDLE HIS RESOURCES? Is he thrifty? Efficient? Does he understand the value of investing for the future? Is he overly concerned with impressing other people or enjoying transitory material pleasures? IS HE GOAL ORIENTED? Is there some significant achievement in his life that he can point to that he undertook to accomplish and then went on to actually attain—a degree, a job, a triathlon, anything?

Oh my God I can totally relate. For over a year, my ex-husband "talked the talked" but when we actually got married, I found out this was just a ploy to marry me. I spent the next 7 years trying to encourage him to live up to those claims. What a waste!

arthur said...

I was reading a book by Peter Drucker about 10 years ago about the future of business and management, and he remarked that he couldn't predict what the world would be like in the 21st century, except that "it would be more competitive than any we have ever known"

That sounds right to me, and I'd go further; I think we are heading into hard times, harder than any of us have ever known. The strength and determination, and loyalty, of those we are with will have a profound effect on our ability to establish and maintain our families.

Aimee, I second everthing you say and would advise every woman reading this to look at a proposed mate as you have counseled. My hat is off to you for a very perceptive article.

Anonymous said...

While these are all valuable qualities, waiting for a man who possesses ALL of these qualities is a recipe for spinster-hood.

gatamala said...

Aimee you are speaking the truth. I think Anon is missing the point. The point isn't perfection, it's minimum standards and more importantly, the knowledge and ambition to improve.

About families:

I urge every woman - esp those of us who are highly educated and ambitious - to consider the role of women in his family. Is he used to working women, educated, speak their mind, who are valuable PEOPLE in their own right? For instance, to this day, my dad & I will go back & forth over a political point (even when everyone else got tired of it)!! Beware of the man who is intimidated by women. If every chick in his family dropped out of high school or had a baby by 19 and can only be found in the kitchen or ONLY tending to kids, you need to run. He's not used to it, and won't get used to you. *I learned this the hard way. I will be as interested in family dynamics as much as the fam will be interested in me.

This also ties into whether he likes women. Guys who talk about loose women/bitches/hoes/sluts/slits have serious issues. Even.if.he.is."not talking about you/mama/sis!" (Where have we heard THAT before?!)

Miriam said...

(small squeeky voice) sometimes the woman has to be the one in charge of the money, if needs be.

Anonymous said...

I wished someone had of wrote something like this years ago before I married this fool.

When you have to constantly push and prod someone to better themselves, it gets old and you lose respect for them as an adult. I wound up breaking it off, and only then that's when he decided to get off his behind. When he "got ahead", he made sure to tell me, like I was supposed to be "proud" of him. I wasn't impressed. Do it because you want to accomplish something positive in your life, not to impress me hoping I'll come back!

The parent situation, good grief, his father has no respect for his mother and is verbally abusive to this day. Looking back, each one of the kids have had relationship problems because of the lack of respect the parents represented. This trickled down into our relationship which became verbally abusive and immature on his part (doing things, mostly hurtful, to get an response out of me that would satisfy his emotional needs). To this day he still thinks I overreacted and he didn't do anything wrong. What????

I cannot stress enough that women really take what Aimee has posted to heart. I would rather be alone than deal with another man like this again. He still blames everyone else for putting up roadblocks that prevent him from achieving more out of life.

What is so bad is that I know there will be women out there that will see him as a "coupe de gras" because he is a BMW with a "nice car" and they won't care about the rest. SMH

Anonymous said...

I consider most lawyers to be elitist, status-driven imbeciles with the lowest motivation to actually help people. Bitching and moaning about their shrinking income just goes to show where their true focus & motivation lies. These people bore me to death.

Anonymous said...

Hey Aimee, this WSJ article had the legal blogosphere on fire a couple of weeks ago. You should check out some of the legal profession blogs about it (including moneylaw.org).

I do believe that we are entering into a bold new world...the new world order, I believe Bush I called it. There are probably too many ABA accredited law schools anyway. We could probably do with about 100 or 150 instead of the 250 that we have. Unfortunately, people think that a law degree is an automatic ticket to success and wealth...it never was, and won't ever be...some law schools are ranked more highly (and funded more liberally) than others. It's just that now, the folks who are in the "majority" are no longer automatically assuming positions at the top of the food chain, although I still think that most of them are doing pretty well when you compare them to folks not in the "majority" in this country.

Anyway, I've seen more and more often sistas who presume that a white lawyer or a white doctor/professional/MBA will be stable and a good spouse just because the person has a particular degree. I've seen these sistas become particularly disappointed when their dream mate doesn't turn out to be such, especially when you consider income. So, your advice is dead-on. Money is important, education is important, but so are a whole lot of other qualities, including how he treats others and ambition.

JJ said...

Boy you hit the nail on the head with the, "Does he like women" remark.

And the sad part about it is that soooo many men don't. And I'm talking educated, professional types because that's pretty much all I deal with.

I could tell you some stories.

And here's the other part to that: Don't be fooled 'cause the guy is charming and wines and dines you.

A man who doesn't like women isn't just the one who is calling you "Bitches and Hoes" it's also the one who is respectful and charming but when you talk to him realize that he doesn't view women as anything more than possesions to be had and won.

Beware the man who solely values u because of your body or looks. Because if that's all he values you for you are easily replaced.

Also as the white majority begin to lose their hold on what they thought was their birthright you find that their is a HUGE backlash against those they perceive as "stealing" it: i.e. women, blacks, latinos...you get the picture.

Evia says : said...

Thank You!! Aimee. This is some serious knowledge you've stated here. These are definitely the basics and then there's a whole other realm when it comes to his personal and intimate relating skills--emotionally, not sexually.

The fact is that even when all of the basics are in place, if he's is not willing and ABLE to relate to a woman on an emotionally intimate level, the relationship can still crash and burn or at the very least be as dull as dishwater, in the case of SOME women. For ex. many women would be supercharged about having sex a lot more if their man could be more emotionally intimate because the woman would get a lot more enjoyment out of it. If a man genuinely likes women, this could be talked about and worked out.

Actually, I'm often dismayed about the number of women who don't like themselves or other women much at all. Some women definitely minimize the worth of women or even self-hate their gender (due to oppression, probably) just like some folks of color self-hate due to oppression.

Anonymous said...

Let's be real.

Black women who focus on shallow markers - a car, a profession, a home, a degree - of status (as determined by a white, racist and propogandist society), tend to be shallow themselves and attract equally shallow people with nefarious intentions.

Sorry to stray from the topic, but I just realized why I don't like these blogs. Although I am a black woman, I don't seek to elevate statusy people. I usually find them tremendously ignorant and they have a hard time thinking outside of the box. For themselves. As individuals. My biggest pet peeve.

It seems folks are confused. A degree does not make you intelligent. A degree qualifies you to be at a table. I KNOW TOO MANY STUPID PEOPLE WITH DEGREES. I smell their lack of divergent thought and it makes me crazy! Please, stupid people, stop posing as "intellectuals" when all you do is google OTHER PEOPLE's information and regurgitate it as your own. A monkey does that. Not a thinking human being.

Sorry if I offended anyone. Just had to get it out. My words are inspired by reading a collection of these preachy, egocentric bloggers like evia and halima, and others. Not necessarily this one.

Evia says : said...

Sorry if I offended anyone. Just had to get it out. My words are inspired by reading a collection of these preachy, egocentric bloggers like evia and halima, and others. Not necessarily this one.

LOL! I wonder why you felt it necessary to tell us that you're a woman. You're too obvious!

How intelligent is it to continue reading blogs you don't like? Don't bother to answer.

And Aimee, now that the trolls can't post on my blog, and Halima's blog is being moderated, they are going to infest your blog--just like roaches!! So get ready.

JJ said...

Okay Anon, while I'm gonna ignore some of your more ridiculous comments, because they're just that ridiculous...but can we stop pretending wanting a man to have a formal education is asking too much?

Damn nobody said having a degree makes you smart. But you're also a fool to believe that in this hyper competitive world not having one (particularly for black people)automatically makes you smarter or better than those who do.

Get real.

Anonymous said...

It's funny Evia. Anyone who disagrees with you is either male or a troll. You can't be this insecure?

Anonymous said...

jj, what the HELL are you talking about?

Breathe.

Then re-read.

missy said...

Sorry to feed the troll, but I have to respond to this - "google OTHER PEOPLE's information and regurgitate it as your own."

If cited from a scholarly journal, accredited newspaper, etc., it's called research. Anon 4:23pm, would you rather have people (or shall I say trolls) simply make up numbers to support their biased posts?

Aimee said...

arthur said...

I think we are heading into hard times, harder than any of us have ever known. The strength and determination, and loyalty, of those we are with will have a profound effect on our ability to establish and maintain our families.

I really wish this wasn't true Arthur, but unfortunately, I think you're 100% correct. Many Americans and Europeans really have no experience coping with the kind of changes that are coming to our way of life, and one of the most important survival mechanisms for facing that change will be the people standing by your side.

Aimee said...

Anonymous said...

While these are all valuable qualities, waiting for a man who possesses ALL of these qualities is a recipe for spinster-hood.

Really? I think I described a set of desireable qualities, but I don't think I described someone who was somehow "flawless." I think you just have to choose your flaws in a mate as carefully as your assets.

My husband is ALWAYS running late; he has to befriend EVERYONE, including our next door neighbors, who bring to my mind an image of what Christofuh and Adriana from the Sopranos would look like after they got married, had a kid, and she gained 20lbs. He's from Jersey, and it shows in his drving ('nuff said). Shocking is it may seem, I am also far from perfect (put away your smelling salts).

But beside being sexy and funny and talented, he's a grown up, and I think that's essentially what I described. It's not impossible to find a mature, WHOLE man who likes women.

Evia says : said...

It's funny Evia. Anyone who disagrees with you is either male or a troll. You can't be this insecure?

Well, we know you're a troll because you're trying to shift the focus of this blog to me and Halima by disruptively talking about us when Aimee's post had NOTHING to do with me and Halima. LOL! Just TOO obvious.

So to get back on topic. It's crucial for any man in a relationship with a woman to have the required credentials to boost his likelihood of strong employability or money-producing ability, whether it's a business, etc. Also, he should SHOW that he has a record of gainful employment. A bw can't afford to be duped by men who brag about how they're going to be making "big paper" in a couple of years. A wise woman prefers a man who has a very sound plan AND is implementing it, WITH GOOD RESULTS in the here and now.

Also, if we look at educational levels, a typical unemployed lawyer most likely still has certain valuable knowledge about the way the society/world (legal system) functions and other important information that could be very beneficial to the household. The same goes for an unemployed doctor, teacher, pharmacist, etc. What exactly can a typical man with a h.s. diploma who's an unemployed custodian, for example, do for his wife and children?

Sistas must beware of becoming unequally yoked. There are women in the black enclave near me who are in such a situation and they are not happy campers! A man needs to have a lot more than a kind heart in today's economy. I'm sure I don't need to point out that there are men with kind hearts who ALSO have razor sharp credentials and strong employment or own businesses. After all, kindness and money making ability are not mutually exclusive although it's usually presented to bw that a man who makes a lot of money can't possibly also be kind. LOL!

Aimee said...

gatamala said...

About families: I will be as interested in family dynamics as much as the fam will be interested in me.

I've personally witnessed too many women disregard this factor to their peril; I made this mistake myself when I was very young, and lived to regret it. It can seem unfair to "discriminate" against someone because of their family background, but most people have a very, very, VERY hard time escaping the formative examples of models they've lived with since infancy. If a man is going to do it, you just have to make sure he's figured out it needs to be done, and done it, before he comes into your life.

Aimee said...

Miriam said...

(small squeeky voice) sometimes the woman has to be the one in charge of the money, if needs be.

I don't think there's anything at all wrong with that if the woman is more skilled in that area! That's one of the great thing about marriage--you both bring assets and liabilities to the table, and one can shore the other up where he or she may be weak. Sometimes being thrifty and efficient means recognizing that your wife is better at balancing the checkbook and figuring out the best deals on car insurance.

To me the only problem is when you're working at cross-purposes--you're trying to save for a house, and he buys a new motorcylce, without even consulting you; you decide to have a baby, but she's still spending every weekend at the mall and maxing out the MasterCard while he's working overtime.

Do you REALLY want the same things? Are you both equally willing to make the sacrifices to reach those goals? I know too many couples who THINK they do, but their actions say otherwise.

Anonymous said...

"I consider most lawyers to be elitist, status-driven imbeciles with the lowest motivation to actually help people. Bitching and moaning about their shrinking income just goes to show where their true focus & motivation lies. These people bore me to death."

How are lawyers behaving differently than anyone else participating in this free market economy? Do you think Kimberly- Clark is providing soap, shampoo and toothpaste for you out of the kindness of their hearts? No, they are doing it to make money, first and foremost. If it won't make money, it won't be provided in the economy no matter how badly it was needed (unless it is subsidized by the government, i.e., us).

Tgify

Anonymous said...

Do you REALLY want the same things? Are you both equally willing to make the sacrifices to reach those goals? I know too many couples who THINK they do, but their actions say otherwise

Yes! Yes! Yes! This is the downfall of many young couples beginning their lives together.

I want a house and to be able to put my children through college without them having to worry. My ex-husband doesn't see it like that and although he constantly talks about "saving" and putting money away for their future, he went out and bought a $600 a month SUV?????

Anon, we are not looking for Daddy Warbucks! We are looking for responsible, goal and family-orientated,like-minded individuals that have already met or are meeting their life goals. Long-term or short-term.

If you are a woman with these attitudes already in place, why shouldn't she look for them in a mate?

Sandra said...

Aimee, I'm also a lawyer (and tired of my profession). While I'm looking for a good man, I'm also looking for a good new profession. Any suggestions on books/articles/etc. I can read to help point me in the right direction?

Pamela said...

I was out of my field for five years. Where I live we lost 88,000+ high tech IT jobs. Hardly any new jobs at the same level came back here. Most of the new jobs coming here (probably 90%) are call center jobs. Those higher level jobs came back at significantly reduced wages because of the glut of employees competing for them (they say). I totally understand financial hardship.

Because so many jobs left here many people had houses for sale that never sold. Many bankruptcies or people selling their homes at a major loss. I liquidated everything to keep my house since it was almost impossible to sell. I was blessed to find something not long before I started the 90-day countdown to foreclosure. I was able to get the same job I had five years previous at 1/2 the salary. I'm glad for the job, believe me.

This has given me a new look at the financial criterion for a potential mate. This was not my first thing to look at but I did want someone that was stable in that area along with others. I will be looking more at the stedfastness of the man when it comes to the financial area. It was always more important to me that a man can walk through hard times and not cave. That has really become important in the financial area because it is easy to cave in a situation like mine. I guess what I'm saying is that I have become more flexible when evaluating the financial area. The main reason is that if I wanted to see a certain financial level I know it can change in a month for various reasons out of his control like what happened to me. I hope that I would be more patient in that area if things caved financially. I want him to be able to grit his teeth and press forward. That is more important at this point than the bucks.

Ms CPA said...

A law degree is never a waste and a $50K salary is nothing to sneer at. Bullock just failed to analyze the supply and demand factors of his profession, namely that it was highly unlikely that graduating in the top third of his class at a second tier school would result in plum job offers for him. If someone wants to work at a top law firm and bring home six figures straight out of law school, they have to graduate from a top tier law school and rank higher than the top third of their class. Similar logic applies to MBA grads. This was true when I graduated from school ages ago and remains so today.

sprite said...

What an informative honest post Aimee! What amazes me is that some bw even NEED to be told about what to look for in a potential mate? Where are their mothers'? Or aunties? What are they teaching their daughters? To marry the first guy with a flash car? Or the guy from a decent solid family background who is respectful, hardworking, holding down a job and has potential. These are certainly what my mum drummed into my head growing up. In my country once a couple gets serious each ones family background is investigated - meaning parents and other close relatives will ask questions and root out any issues which potentially could cause problems. And you would be hard pressed to find a girl who is well educated/financially stable marrying a man who is not. SHE would'nt do it and noone in her family would let her. People view marriage as a loving union, yes - but also in practical realistic terms. It is all about survival - the world IS becoming more competitive each day - we need to equip yourself with the right tools to start out with ..or we may as well give up before we begin the race.

GoldenAh said...

Excellent analysis Aimee. I wanted to be a lawyer at one time. Has anyone ever noticed that almost everyone in the government is a lawyer? (That's not a positive endorsement.) I decided not to be one, because I used to work with some while in college. Never met one who liked what they were doing.

As for the mate, having a strong survival skills, optimism, and loving family. I don't disagree. At the end of the day, no one can predict how anyone will react to the negatives life can bring. Tuesdays with Morry was corny but good. The main character was afraid of life.

Notice that Isiah Thomas comes in a nice package, but his insides are rotten? Knicks / MSG lost the Sanders discrimination case.

Let Love Rule said...

Anonymous said...
I consider most lawyers to be elitist, status-driven imbeciles with the lowest motivation to actually help people.
October 2, 2007 3:59 PM
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Sometimes I think I'm the only person in the world that LOVES lawyers.

There are many lawyers who do commendable pro bono work (as in free) for laudable causes but these contributions are often unrecognized.

Anonymous said...

jj said..

"Damn nobody said having a degree makes you smart. But you're also a fool to believe that in this hyper competitive world not having one (particularly for black people)automatically makes you smarter or better than those who do."

I suppose the fact Bill Gates is a Harvard dropout and George W Bush is a Yale graduated proves that not having a degree "automatically makes you smarter or better than those who do."

Ms CPA said...

Sprite,
What happens in your country sounds right and logical to me. In this country, bw are taught not to expect bm to be providers, to be employed at all, to be law-abiding or educated; it is considered "white" to have these expectations. All that we should be looking for in a man is the right (black) skin color. To look for anything more in a man brings a firestorm of criticism as most of us here know.

gatamala said...

It can seem unfair to "discriminate" against someone because of their family background, but most people have a very, very, VERY hard time escaping the formative examples of models they've lived with since infancy. If a man is going to do it, you just have to make sure he's figured out it needs to be done, and done it, before he comes into your life.


THIS bears repeating.

My mom warned me, "he doesn't have the same education as you do". He talked a good game about his entrepreneurial plans, but of course they never came to fruition no matter how much support. I ended up w/ what one of the other posters described:

When you have to constantly push and prod someone to better themselves, it gets old and you lose respect for them as an adult.

Well, I called my mom a snob, but she was right. He did not have the same ambition or focus. Couple that w/ abuse in his family & look what you get.

His dad used to beat the shit out of his mother. Yes, he defended her and swore he'd never be like his father. Guess what?

The apple does not fall far from the tree. People only treat others the way that they know. If the family is lazy, uneducated and violent HE will be lazy, uneducated and violent w/o substantial therapy.

Aimee said...

Anonymous said...

Black women who focus on shallow markers - a car, a profession, a home, a degree - of status (as determined by a white, racist and propogandist society), tend to be shallow themselves and attract equally shallow people with nefarious intentions.

A car, a profession, a home or a degree can be shallow markers of status--or they can be substantive markers of a person's ability to set goals for themselves and then maturely implement a successful plan for reaching them.

My point isn't that education or profession or even material possessions are irrelevant to who a man is, but that they are really just background noise to the more fundamental issue of his character. A man can lose any possession (though not what he knows), but he can never lose who he is.

A degree does not make you intelligent. A degree qualifies you to be at a table. I KNOW TOO MANY STUPID PEOPLE WITH DEGREES. I smell their lack of divergent thought and it makes me crazy! Please, stupid people, stop posing as "intellectuals" when all you do is google OTHER PEOPLE's information and regurgitate it as your own. A monkey does that. Not a thinking human being.

No, a degree doesn't make you intelligent, but neither does the lack of one. I know too many stupid people with degrees and too many stupid without them. The main difference that I've found between the two is that the stupid people with degrees usually have more money and more control over their day to day lives.

Aimee said...

Sandra said...

Aimee, I'm also a lawyer (and tired of my profession). While I'm looking for a good man, I'm also looking for a good new profession. Any suggestions on books/articles/etc. I can read to help point me in the right direction?

I would start with Deborah Arron's "What Can You Do With a Law Degree?: A Lawyers' Guide to Career Alternatives Inside, Outside & Around the Law." I have friends who are already reconsidering, and they seem to speak highly of this book; it seems to be the classic of the genre. Do you have any specific ideas of areas you might like to go into? You can email if you prefer.

pinkydj said...

Thanks Aimee for this great discussion. One thing you said really resonated with me….the fact that some men actually don’t like women as people. I have tried to explain that to some of my female friends over the years and they never “got it.” I have run into a lot of men over the years that have definitely proved by their actions that men like this do exist and they are TOXIC to women.

As for the changes happening in the law profession, wow, how timely. I am currently trying to get into law school, but I have been having a lot of doubts. My goal is not corporate law, but rather some form of public service law. The reality is, I will not make a lot of money, but potentially love what I do. The rub is really facing the major debt after law school on a modest salary.

pinky

gatamala said...

Has anyone ever noticed that almost everyone in the government is a lawyer? (That's not a positive endorsement.)

{sigh} what hath 30 years of TV wrought??

Goldenah-

C'mon now hon, I KNOW you went to 6th grade civics class. ;)

The reason why you have so many lawyers in govt is quite obvious. We are a (ostensibly) democratic republic that is (was) supported by the Constitution, federal statutes and regulations.
****


Jeez, what's with the lawyer bashing? I'm a govt lawyer who assists friends and relatives WITHOUT CHARGING them what they should be paying me for my time. I would like to see you all file/pursue claims (if you can find the courthouse) on time and in the proper format.

Most lawyers do pro bono work - even if it's informal as I have described.

Yes, the are avaricious lawyers. But as someone stated, there are avaricious people in a capitalist society. Yes, there are unhappy lawyers...as I assume there are unhappy doctors, presidents (al-Maliki), janitors, teachers, prostitutes...

Daphne said...

Well done as usual, Aimee. I don't have much to add, as others have expounded on the discussion nicely. I do appreciate this, in particular:

A car, a profession, a home or a degree can be shallow markers of status--or they can be substantive markers of a person's ability to set goals for themselves and then maturely implement a successful plan for reaching them.

I realize that we live in a capitalistic society, and greed abounds in various places. That said, sometimes I feel like the American public swings to the other end of the pendulum with the assumption that having nice things = moral decay of character and integrity. Many times it does, but it's nice to have an alternate POV presented as well. There are many people who work hard for what they have, and are as generous as they are wealthy. Why begrudge someone just for their financial status?

Also, if I am checking for a man's fiscal asuteness and his character, I think I should have my own house (financial and otherwise) in order as well. I don't think it's fair for a man to inherit a woman's debt because she spends money like it's going out of style (or vice versa). I'm not implying that anyone here is like that, but I do think it's worth mentioning. I also realize that a woman, especially if she is a single mother, may struggle financially due to no fault of her own, but I know a fair share of women who are just irresponsible.

Anonymous said...

gatamala:

"The apple does not fall far from the tree. People only treat others the way that they know. If the family is lazy, uneducated and violent HE will be lazy, uneducated and violent w/o substantial therapy."

Whoah! Not even a probably, but "will" be "lazy, uneducated and violent"! See a shrink or be destined to become a DBR. Sorry to hear about your personal experience, but to extrapolate to such an extent is nonsense.

If your mother's snobbish instincts could sniff trouble coming from your future train wreck, the how come you, if "The apple does not fall far from the tree the apple", weren't pre-programmed to smell it too?

gatamala said...

the how come you, if "The apple does not fall far from the tree the apple", weren't pre-programmed to smell it too?

Actually, I did smell it and ignored the warning signs.

Because I wanted to "give him a chance" and didn't want to "judge" him because of his lack of education or family background. I was attempting to be "open-minded."

I made the mistake of going against my instincts and better judgement.

This is the point that Evia, Halima & Aimee have made regarding what a bw is supposed to be/do to the detriment of her well-being. As shown by your comment it's a Catch 22 situation.

Give someone a chance and get burned = you asked for it!

DON'T give someone a chance = elitist/snob/golddigger/bougie/bitch/hoe etc...

extrapolations from painful personal experiences = nonsense

*smdh*

To all the newbies: pay careful attention to what anon has posted. You are damned if you do, damned if you don't. Make wise choices that are to your emotional, mental, spiritual, familial, and yes financial benefit. If he is not good for you, he is NOT GOOD ENOUGH for you.

Aimee said...

Pamela said...

I was out of my field for five years . . . I liquidated everything to keep my house since it was almost impossible to sell. I was blessed to find something not long before I started the 90-day countdown to foreclosure.

This has given me a new look at the financial criterion for a potential mate . . . I will be looking more at the stedfastness of the man when it comes to the financial area. It was always more important to me that a man can walk through hard times and not cave. That has really become important in the financial area because it is easy to cave in a situation like mine.


You have the hard-won wisdom of experience Pamela. I was lucky enough to be grow up close to my grandparents who lived through the depression in rural Mississippi, and I took to heart what they taught me, because as your story illustrates, we are seeing more and more the same sort of economic dislocations that are outside of anyone's individual economic control. What you CAN control is your coping skills, and the company you keep. I'm so proud that you came through!

I'll add that I think that your message is one that men could gain from almost more than women--because I work with young women and young men, and believe me, even the smart boys are a lot more likely than the girls to have their heads turned by less than substantive qualities, if you know what I mean.

I want them to have the chance to be young and have fun, but I also see the world they are coming into--it is a much less forgiving place in the new millenium for someone with a pretty albatross around their neck.

Anonymous said...

from

"to extrapolate to such an extent is nonsense"

to

"extrapolations from painful personal experiences = nonsense"

Come on! Don't twist words. It's simply that I can't agree with the dismal destiny that you predict will befall ALL men from lazy, uneducated and violent families.

GoldenAh said...

>>gatamala said...

>>Jeez, what's with the lawyer bashing? I'm a govt lawyer

If you feel offended, don't. You need not be so snide and touchy. I don't own a television set. I have three college degrees, the last being a Masters in Computer Science.

If people bash lawyers, it is from personal experience.

My comment was based on this topic: there is a glut of lawyers out there. The government does have too many lawyers, especially as elected politicians.

Civics doesn't teach that our government is for LAWYERS by LAWYERS.

Sandra said...

Aimee, thanks for the recommendation of Deborah Arron's book - I will pick it up tomorrow. Regarding my areas of interest, I always feel at a bit of a loss when asked this question - mostly because I think that what I really want to do is too "pie in the sky" (especially with advancing years). I tend to be most attracted to sports and creative endeavors. When I was younger I wanted to own and/or manage an NBA team and/or be an artist manager. Nowadadys I think more in terms of becoming a tennis umpire or a producer of movies and/or television programming. I work hard (approximately 60 billable hours weekly over a 5-day week at least) and I am not afraid of hard work. But as I get older I find that I have an even greater need for work that motivates me, that touches my heart, that gives me a sense of accomplishment and a feeling that I've somehow contributed to the world and its work (I seldom get that feeling from practising law anymore).

Anyway, I will give Ms. Arron's book a read, and I will private mail you with my thoughts. Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Yan said...

Aimee, another fantastic, wonderful post! The advice you gave about being wary of men who don't like women is pure gold.

Anonymous said...

Aimee,

Thank you, thank you. I wish I had known these things a few years ago. But I'm happy - no grateful - to be in the company of many intelligent black women like yourself. Every woman should know how to evaluate partners like this.

foreverloyal said...

Great post Aimee. I myself am grateful everyday that I married an adult, not a child.

dottie said...

WHAT WAS HIS RELATIONSHIP LIKE WITH HIS MOTHER? Loving, respectful, affectionate—but not tethered?

WHAT WAS/IS HIS FATHER'S RELATIONSHIP LIKE WITH HIS MOTHER?

DOES HE LIKE WOMEN?

DOES HE THINK YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL?

Do you want anything less?

WHAT IS HIS WORK ETHIC?

IS HE PERSISTENT?

IS HE FLEXIBLE?

Is he easily defeated in the face of adversity?

Does he expect everything to go his way, and fall apart when it doesn’t?

HOW DOES HE HANDLE HIS RESOURCES?

Is he thrifty?

Efficient?

Does he understand the value of investing for the future?

Is he overly concerned with impressing other people or enjoying transitory material pleasures?

IS HE GOAL ORIENTED?
--------------------------------------------------------------
Aimee, I think these are pretty good questions, but I also think these should apply to women as well other then just the men here. Now that women are also in the workforce too. I understand not every man/woman will be perfect once we put him/her under this kind of criteria, but I do think that he/she can grow within the marriage too. On the other hand, I also feel that a person has a right to be picky about his/her mate because this will be person that they'll be spending the rest of their life with...although the divorce stats are disputing the "forever" part.

Aimee said...

Sandra said...

Regarding my areas of interest, I always feel at a bit of a loss when asked this question - mostly because I think that what I really want to do is too "pie in the sky" (especially with advancing years). I tend to be most attracted to sports and creative endeavors. When I was younger I wanted to own and/or manage an NBA team and/or be an artist manager. Nowadadys I think more in terms of becoming a tennis umpire or a producer of movies and/or television programming.

These are all tough, competitive fields, but as you know, so is the law at this point. I tend to think that you can pursue whatever profession you want if money and security are not an issue, but that isn't the case for most people. Since I'm one of the few people I know who actually likes practicing law (LOL!) it's hard for me to think of how to transition, but I think the best way is always to start with who you know. Do you know people who do the kind of work you're interested in, who can give you detailed descriptions of the requirements for entry into the field, and what the day-to-day worklife is like?

Aimee said...

pinkydj said...

One thing you said really resonated with me….the fact that some men actually don’t like women as people. I have tried to explain that to some of my female friends over the years and they never “got it.” I have run into a lot of men over the years that have definitely proved by their actions that men like this do exist and they are TOXIC to women.

I think that some women get confused because most straight men will go positively ballistic if you suggest they don't "like" women. They think that physical attraction and contempt can't co-exist.

Also, many women don't like women either, so they identify with men who don't like women, and agree with their anti-female sentiments. They either don't realize that he's not going to see them as any better than any other woman, or they are so self-loathing that they've accepted that they deserve to be treated badly because they are women. In any case, women without these pathologies need to avoid these types like the plague.

As for the changes happening in the law profession, wow, how timely. I am currently trying to get into law school, but I have been having a lot of doubts. My goal is not corporate law, but rather some form of public service law. The reality is, I will not make a lot of money, but potentially love what I do. The rub is really facing the major debt after law school on a modest salary.

The saying is "go prestigious, go public, or don't go at all." The logic is either (1) go a top 10-15 school, and accumulate a lot of debt that you can easily pay off with a few years at a BigLaw firm or (2) go to the least expensive public school, possibly on scholarship, and come out as close to debt-free as possible, so you can take whatever work you want without worrying about money.

The bigger problem is that the field is so competitive now that it's hard to get work in any area, including public interest, unless you went to a top school or did very well (or someone).

I would never suggest that someone not go if it's what they really want. But I remember reading that acting coach said that he always asked his students on the first day of class if there was anything else they would be happy doing. If they said yes, he would tell them to go do that instead, because acting was so hard to make a living in, you should only pursue it you really want it. Law probably isn't to that point, but it's getting closer.

Aimee said...

dottie said...

Aimee, I think these are pretty good questions, but I also think these should apply to women as well other then just the men here.

I agree.

arthur said...

Miriam said:
(small squeeky voice) sometimes the woman has to be the one in charge of the money, if needs be.


No need for the small sqeeky voice :) - a lot of couples work that way in my experience. When I was married my wife kept the checkbook and paid the bills. It's all about who's got the sense for it.

Taylor-Sara said...

Dear Aimee

I thought the article was insightful, well thought out and given with a touch of admonishment. I would be very inclined to agree with it. The only thing I would add is that what people do not realize is that all high-level jobs are heading in this direction. For better or worse we are heading into an entrepeunurial age. Did you know that self employed people make up only 20% of the employment market yet account for 2/3 of all Millionairs!!!! Ladies now is the time to start that home biz you have been secretly dreaming of for years(keep your job as long as nec.) Buy real estate with the profits-When the bottom falls out of the job market (AND THE BOTTOM WILL FALL OUT OF THE JOB MARKET) you will have 2 streams of income. The small biz, and the real estate. If you are really smart you will do 3-4 new streams so that you can really be protected. If you think the gov't will protect you in times of financial crisis, you are headed toward castastrophe. Yes it is important to be able to weather hard times but it is more important to realize that with the current job market hard times are almost inevitable and to have streams of income in place to strenghen, reinforce, and uphold your finacial foundation. An example-(for those of you who learn better that way.) I saw an ad in the paper for a person who repaired computers, I needed mine repaired so I called/went. turned out it was out of his house (a very very, nice house.) While he was repairing my computer he told me he had quit the job market after being laid off for the 3rd time and started a computer repair biz from home-said he made 3-thousand from it then came up with the idea of doing the same thing on ebay. He said it took only 3 months before he was making 5-6 thousand a month on ebay (he teaches people about their computers, and/or repairs by having people send their broken computers and he repairs -and sends them back. He said he also has a poker evening every weekend and takes a cut of all winnings. (adds up to an add'l 11-1300.00 per month! He said his wife runs a home day care and they don't even need her money because they are living better than ever. He said his income alone is never less than 9.000 per month! More and more people are doing this (esp the smart ones) People see starting a small biz as something very scary and unstable yet this flies in the face of reality. Which has proven time and again there is nothing more unstable than to depend on a job that does not need you to keep you employed. People if you are not direly needed,and who is on these jobs with 100s competing for the same positions, then you are EXPENDABLE- AND THEY WILL LET YOU GO WHENEVER THEY SEE FIT. Protect yourself and your children! Even if you are scared just keep your job and start something as it grows, start something else or buy real estate. Always have something to fall back on these jobs are leaving at an alarming rate! those who do not heed this advice (unless they are direly needed on their jobs) will one day soon find out how vulnerable they were all along. God bless-sara

foreverloyal said...

Good advice TS

Let Love Rule said...

TS,

I really like this idea of multiple streams of income. There is a really good book of the same name by Robert Allen. Another good book on small business ownership is Loopholes of the Rich by Diane Kennedy. Everyone I've given it to loves it.

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