Saturday, June 04, 2005

Decisions For The Devil

I have ranted and raved about the idiocy of my job and the either lazy or incompetent fools who call in with their assinine questions that border on legal malpractice. We all have quirks of our jobs that we absolutely hate, but I can't imagine going on like this for the rest of my life. I can't imagine having to kiss people's asses whom I know are either too cheap, too lazy, or too dumb to invest a few dollars to find the research materials they need.

I think the final straw that really made me think maybe law isn't for me is a new tool being used by law firms. It tracks down not only every website an attorney visits, it also tracks the time spent on a site down to the tenth of a second. I know some lawyers have abused the system and double billed. But when accountants start running the legal profession, when the driving force behind law firms is profit above justice, when you start slicing the pie that finely, it's time to start thinking about other things. I was never a sit down and work for exactly 4 hours straight without wandering to check my email. I'm already in a job where we are micromanaged to the Nth degree, have to be clocked into a computer by a definite time and not one minute late. I couldn't fathom working for law firms that do the same.

Plus, I'm not the type of person who can leave a job without having another one already lined up. It would eat at me as being irresponsible on my part.

So, I've decided that in addition to applying to teach in the UK, I will also apply to grad school to start my PhD. The main reason I haven't done this before is that I was pretty much afraid of having family lament that I'm a professional student. A weak excuse at best for not exploring what I really want to do. I know I'm too old to worry about what other people say. So if all goes well, I'll continue to somehow survive at my current job for until next summer and then off to grad school (if all goes well).

While I was back at the University of New Mexico, I got the opportunity to work for someone who was exploring something truly interesting to me. He was exploring that period between New Mexico statehood and World War II and Hispano (hispanics from New Mexico; a strange and unique subculture in of itself) political and social movements. This professor, Phillip "Felipe" Gonzales, has been on The History Channel, PBS, The Learning Channel, and the Discovery Channel. It was great; I got to pour over old newspaper articles and periodicals of the time range. It was on the topic I was interested in and I learned quite a bit (stuff that amazingly even after 7 years is still firmly implanted in my head).

Now, I've got to figure out where I'm going to apply to. I know the whole application philosophy because I did it with law school (you apply to 2 or 3 dream schools, 2 or 3 schools within your range, and 2 or 3 safety schools). I've looked up all the ranking and so on but I'm keeping in mind where I want to teach someday perhaps. So, as for now, here is a preliminary list of where I might apply to in no particular order .....

1. University of Minnesota : Good Soc. program, plus I love Minneapolis
2. University of Chicago : One of the big 3 in Soc. schools of thought
3. University of Pennsylvania : Great overall program
4. Princeton : One of the top 10
5. Ohio State University : In-state tuition is always nice
6. UCLA : Top program, plus I have familia in L.A.
7. University of New Mexico : Basically, it's home
8. UC-Santa Cruz or UC-Santa Barbara : Great Soc. programs
9. Notre Dame : Always wanted to go here as a kid
10. University of Texas : 2nd place I wanted to go to as a kid
11. University of Arizona : Very good Soc. program, plus I still love Arizona
12. University of North Carolina : Great Soc. program plus a beautiful location

As per usual, please comment or if you have any experience with any of these schools, let me know what you think about them.


Ruben said...

I love it when people leave thier shit jobs behind and venture out to something new.

Lindsay said...

UCSB has the most amazing campus I've ever seen, primarily due to the fact that it's right on the coast (and I love the beach). UCSC reminded me of a summer camp...the campus is HUGE, and the buildings are spread all over the place (some, I swear to God, seem like they are in the middle of the forest). It was a bit too much nature for me, though. UCLA would be awesome...gotta love its location!

Teaching in the UK would be a lot of fun, though...just don't expect the greatest food over here :)

trix said...

you talk about home so much which is lovely. my vote is for u of new mexico. we have a big university here too ;)

Cincysundevil said...

It is inspiring. In fact, I talked to one friend a while back who actually got canned from our job. He said it was the best thing that could've happened to him.
I'll definitely have to check out UCSB. I would love to go to UCLA; it's a pipe dream. Teaching in the UK might be great too. I've been warned about the food. How are you coping with that?
New Mexico is gorgeous. The problem is that Albuquerque isn't really a big city and the pace of life is slower. I don't know if I can slow down that much. But the Univ. of Toronto might be sweet! You'd have to help me locate a hovel somewhere.

Elenamary said...

wow, big steps you are taking here.
i wish i knew more about OSU's phd program in sociology, i'll ask around if you like...or is it just on your list as a fall back and i by fall i mean a really a ground crushing low, fall back?