Keep an open mind

After graduating from the University of Washington in 2010, I set out on a journey, moving around the country, looking for my happy place. First I went to Alaska, where I worked for the Anchorage Daily News for a while, then to Florida, where I bummed around on the beach for a while, and then to New York, where I tried to unionize Trader Joe’s. While unsuccessful at unionizing Trader Joe’s it did inspire me to apply for law schools so that I could focus on worker’s rights.

So I took the LSAT and applied to a few schools, and got accepted to a few.  I chose the University of San Francisco School of Law because I was sick of Hurricane Sandy weather and angry, disgruntled commuters. In 2014 I moved to San Francisco, struggled through law school, because it was hard, and got my Juris Doctorate degree in May of 2017.

While I was in law school, I focused on tenants’ rights, gay rights, the rights of people with disabilities, specifically HIV, and of course, labor law and workers’ rights. I enjoyed law school, but I did find it to be hyper-competitive in a way that really turned me off from the law. I wanted to do some good in the world but was not into the rivalries. I also interned for tenants’ rights and LGBTQ+ rights organizations while in law school and that was very helpful in networking and feeling good about the work that I was doing.

But jobs right out of law school these days are hard to find, and I drifted around for a bit after law school, doing Paralegal-type work, until I got into contract management for a tech company on a temporary basis. That led me to the Procurement Department at the Federal Reserve here in San Francisco. The people I work with here at the Fed are amazing. They compliment each other on a regular basis, they are kind, and they really treat each other like family. It’s a far cry from anything that I ever expected to be doing with my law degree, but I do utilize my knowledge of contract law, and the job has great benefits. So my message to you is to keep an open mind. It’s not the destination, but the journey that matters. Hopefully, when you find your place in life, you can look back and remember all of the good and the bad and laugh about the things that once seemed like scary obstacles.

By Jeromy Carpenter
Jeromy Carpenter Senior Contract Consultant