Home > 2L: job search > it's sort of illogical, really

it's sort of illogical, really

August 26, 2006

I think I’ve discovered what it is about OCI that makes law students crazy.

It’s the validation.

As law students, we get so little affirmation that we are doing good things, or that we are doing things well. We get almost no confirmation that we are worthy, that we are smart (or smarter), that this whole path is worth it. And OCI is a process that promises to tell us that we are OK, or reinforce our suspicions that we suck.

So for all of you out there going through this right now, or about to go through it, or thinking about going through it, remember: OCI is not a measure of your self-worth. It’s not a measure of how smart you are or even how impressive your resume is. OCI is just job interviewing on speed.

Remember (if this applies to you) when you applied for that job, and you had to meet with someone for a first interview? And then, if things went well, you got a second interview, and then maybe got asked back for more interviews, or even hired? Remember that? OCI is EXACTLY THE SAME. It’s just that you do twenty of those first interviews in a matter of a few days. And then you wait, just like you would with any other interview, to be asked back for a second interview.

So now that I’ve drawn the analogy between OCI and every other job interview you’ve ever gone on, think of this: when you would go on a job interview, would you think that every other person who might not be getting that job interview was stupider than you? If you got a second interview, would you think that all the people who didn’t get the second interview were less talented than you? If you’re like me, you didn’t. I remember being on a group interview, where everyone else in the room was clearly talented and smart and good at any number of things the job required. It’s just that I was good at something the rest of them weren’t–and I got the second interview (and eventually the job).

OCI is not about how smart you are or how talented you are. It’s about what a given interviewer values at a given time. Sometimes that’s grades. If your grades are lower than someone else’s, that doesn’t mean they are smarter than you–you already know that, right? That law school grades can be random? So when an OCI interviewer calls someone back for a second interview, and they have better grades than you, you really can’t assume it’s because that person is smarter than you. Sure, maybe the interviewer values a number or a letter on a piece of paper more than other things. Maybe. But maybe not–you really don’t know. Maybe the interviewer doesn’t like gray suits and you wore a gray suit and the other guy wore a blue suit. And that little prejudice left you out of the callback process.

Anyway. All of this to say that law students go absolutely freak-out nuts during OCI because it feels like it’s an assessment, like it’s grades. And we get so little of that sort of feedback that we just soak up that sort of attention like little sponges, and suddenly we are FULL of whatever it is that we soaked up. We can’t stop talking about it, we can’t stop thinking about it, we become completely irrational over it.

OCI is no worthwhile measure of worth, intelligence, talent. It is just job interviewing on speed. And it has all the same flaws that any job interviewing experience has. If you remember that, it becomes less a competition against your classmates and more a process of reaching a goal–a goal you’ve set on your own, based on your ambitions, desires, and dreams.

Categories: 2L: job search
  1. nye
    August 26, 2006 at 12:57 pm

    Ah, if only I had twenty of those interviews in a few days. There are only 8 firms interviewing 3Ls on campus at our school. Dangit.

  2. August 28, 2006 at 9:05 am

    Thanks — that’s exactly what I needed to read the day before OCI starts. Now I’ll take a few deep breaths, remind myself that there are other (better) forms of validation out there, and just plow through the interviews.

    All 20 and counting of them. Ye gods.

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