Dear Evil HR Lady,
Love your blog- well-written, funny, insightful.
I have a Masters in Human Resources and now a J.D. I don’t want to practice law (no work-life balance), and would like to work for the Fed gov’t instead doing labor relations (interesting, potentially better work-life balance). But I have yet to hear back from anyone. I’m also applying to private sector companies and have received very little response. I think it’s because I’m top heavy in education, light in experience (1 year full-time as an HR rep, and a few internships). Anyway, my question is, how should I package myself to employers? It seems like I have too much education for entry level positions, not enough experience for mid-career positions. I don’t want to end up as the most educated Starbucks barista in town. What to do? Oh yeah, and my wife is going back to school in the Fall and we have to find something in one of 3 cities by August for that to happen this year. Good times all around. Thanks for any insight you can offer!
So, here is the obvious question: Why did you go to law school if you didn’t want to be a lawyer? I mean, really, why? Think back and figure out why you decided to go.
As for the lifestyle of a lawyer, all law jobs are not the same and an in house labor and employment lawyer will have a much less hectic schedule than the Jr. Associate at Begge, Borrow and Steel, Attorneys at Law. When you are in house, you aren’t worried about billing time. A smaller law firm may also provide a more relaxed atmosphere.
I’m not pushing you to take advantage of your law degree, but let me tell you, in order to get a good salary you will probably have to. You are worth more to me as a lawyer than you are as an over-educated HR person. Not that over education is a bad thing, it’s just that you aren’t as valuable.
Have you passed the Bar for the states in which you plan to end up? Start studying.
When you stay labor relations are you talking about union relations? That’s a complicated area and you should be able to find a job in that, but you’ll do better as a lawyer. (I think–someone out there (Mike Doughty maybe?) correct me.) The people who negotiate with the labor unions tend to be lawyers. The people who deal with the day to day grievances and provide general HR services to union members tend not to be.
Your best bet for the job of your choosing? Networking and signing up for the Ask the Headhunter newsletter.
If you decide to go the non-lawyer route, give clear salary expectations (and do your homework to find out what those should be) so that your resume doesn’t get thrown out because you are “too expensive.”
Good luck and I hope you find a great position soon.