I Cant Be Broke For You

29 Jul

When I am sewing my favorite background noise is HBO on Demand. I go to the HBO series section and watch a whole season of one of my favorite shows. If I ever decided to buy some stocks I would definitely invest in HBO because they have the best shows! From True Blood to the Wire ; whichever executive is in charge of greenlighting new programming is a genius and probably bathing in a tub of liquid gold somewhere. The other day I decided to watch the final season of Sex in the City. In one of the last episodes Carrie Bradshaw decided to move to Paris with her new lover much to the disappointment of her best friend Miranda. Miranda thinks Carrie is giving up her amazing job and lifestyle for a chance at love with a guy she barely knows. While this is an understandable viewpoint; I totally get where Carrie is coming from.

Carrie looks around and sees her three closest friends moving forward with life and love. Her friend Charlotte is married to a loving man and working on becoming a mother. Even her friend Samantha, the self-proclaimed single girl, found love and is giving monogamy a try. Then to hear objections from her friend Miranda, a happily married mother, Carrie was absolutely fed up. In their final disagreement about the big move to Paris Carrie said one of the most profound statements I’ve ever heard: “I can’t stay here and be single for you“.

I’ve seen this episode a million times but this time the statement resounded with relevance. The more I build my business as a fashion designer the more my peers think I shouldnt go to law school. In my opinion, they want me to fit humbly into their starving artist box. While they are working stable salaried jobs or obtaining post-graduate degrees its like they almost want me to be struggling day-to-day pursuing my art while  I feast on chicken flavored ramen noodles.

As they color it with phrases like “Follow your dream Nichole” and “Be true to your passion Nichole” all I do is roll my eyes and watch my bank account dwindle. For example, a friend of mine who graduated from undergrad last year is currently traveling the country working for a major corporation. Every few months they move her to a new state and put her up in a paid for hotel all the while making more in a month than I’ve made all year. Recently this friend said I should be a full-time designer and skip law school. I  hit her with my remixed version of Carrie Bradshaw’s line when I replied “I can’t be broke for you“.

While friends like her think they are encouraging me to pursue a design career they are actually offending the hell out of me. Here she is 22 years old and travelling the world making mad money. Doesnt she think I want that too? I can’t play starving artist just because it’s a cute conversation piece just like Carrie couldn’t stay single just because it made for a successful sex column. She and I both crave a level of happiness and stability that people all around us seem to be attaining.

I have so much to learn as a designer and so much time to do it. Law school for me is a doorway to a level of financial freedom I have never experienced. A friend of mine worked an internship after her first year of law school that paid $3000 a week. I’ve never even made that much in a month; not in my whole entire life! Law school starts in two weeks and I am excited. While others may not be; I surely am because it isn’t about them; it’s about me. Is school I will continue to work on my craft. While I may not have as much time as I do now I will still continue to design and improve my skills.

I’d love to finish watching the rest of the final season of Sex and the City to see what other lessons Carrie has in store for me, but my cable was cut off for failure to pay the bill. Just another day in the life of a starving artist.

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10 Responses to “I Cant Be Broke For You”

  1. Patricia R. July 29, 2010 at 10:01 am #

    “Law school for me is a doorway to a level of financial freedom I have never experienced.” –Nichole Alabi

    I understand your overall view, really I do, but I think you should be careful of your motives for attending law school. I tell everyone who asks “It aint for everybody”(In my Jay-z voice). Law school is a big haze, it is stressful, it takes away a full year of your life. You are backstabbed by your classmates, it doubles your debt and a whole host of other things, and on top of all that it is NOT a guaranteed path to financial freedom. What are you going to do if you come out of law school working as a public interest attorney and you’re still “broke”? What if you come out and you’re still eating Ramen noodles because between loans and a low paying job you’re struggling even more now than you were before when you had less debt? All lawyers aren’t wealthy or financially stable. I am not saying that the $3,000.00 a week job doesn’t exist, because they do. I also think that if this is your ultimate goal for law school reach for it and I will help you achieve it in any way I can but, what will you do or how will you feel if you don’t get your “financial freedom”? Or what will you do when you get a job at a BigFirm making tons of money and you go to work from 8am-12am? Or what are you going to do when if you’re at a mid-size firm or small firm working the same hours as Someone at a big firm but with a little less than half the pay.

    I have always wanted to be a lawyer my entire life; this has been an ultimate goal of mine, and if I don’t come out making the $3,000.00 a week at a BigFirm, I will STILL feel fulfilled, the question is will you?

    • sewthisisit July 29, 2010 at 10:10 am #

      I’m glad you and others like you have wanted to be a lawyer your entire life. That’s great. We need lawyers like you. But for me and others like me…money is a huge factor. No one goes to school an extra 3 years without money being a factor. Think about doctors for example; who would study damn near an extra 10 years if all they wanted to do was save a life? They could’ve been a nurse or a Red Cross volunteer. But they didn’t do ether of those things because they wanted that good doctor money too. A family friend who is an attorney said to me “Being a lawyer is all about the money. Good lawyers make good money so be a good lawyer. Good law students make good lawyers so make sure you’re a good law student”. This is exactly what I intend to be. Thanks for reading Patricia R.
      Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

      • Patricia R. July 29, 2010 at 1:56 pm #

        d. So I think you missed my point…I wasn’t saying money is NOT a factor, I am saying Money cannot be your ONLY motivator. Michelle Makes great points below, but in addition to that, I know students who are top 10%, on Law Journal, will graduate with honors, AND WILL NOT BE MAKING THAT 160K upon graduation. They will be excellent attorneys, they are excellent students, but the market is horrible…what would you do in that situation? Some are just fine working for The Washington Post (real example) because it’s not ALL about the money for them; others are currently 2 seconds away from slitting their wrists (also a real example). I am not saying you can’t be amazing. I am not saying that you won’t be number one in the class; I actually hope you do all this and more, BUT, what will you do if the money doesn’t come? That is my only question, being a lawyer and having the money is a huge plus and enormous motivating factor, but is there something, in addition to the money, that is ALSO your motivation with this law degree??? That is my only question…

  2. Christine I. July 29, 2010 at 11:13 am #

    Wow! Great blog post and commentary! I definitely see both sides of the spectrum here.

    However, life is for the living!

    I don’t think it is fair to doom you before you even get inside the classroom, but I also understand the wisdom of those who have already been where you are heading.

    I always say hindsight is 20/20 and you will never know until you follow what’s in your heart whether it is design or getting that guap by practicing law.

  3. Michelle July 29, 2010 at 11:29 am #

    So now I have to weigh in as a current practicing attorney. My first summer after my 1st year I worked with a major corporation in their in-house legal department and GOT PAID!!! I was balling all summer. I thought to myself this is the life. It really is. My 2nd summer, I worked in public interest law and well…..let’s just say it was a different summer.

    Money is not always a motivating factor to attend graduate school or to get a professional degree. Some people go back to school for the education – they like to learn. A great job making lots of money is not always guaranteed. There are doctors who spend 10 years in school and are in emergency medicine and do not get paid alot but they have a passion for what they do and they have loans that they probably wont pay back in a lifetime. There are doctors that work in community hospitals and with doctors without borders. They find fufillment in their jobs.

    I have a friend that loves being a public defender. She doesn’t make alot of money and she has $100K+ in loans. Now, she could eventually become the Chief Public Defender, which actually pays $100K+ but that isn’t going to come overnight, that’s a career investment that might happen in the next 10-15 years.

    The point I am trying to make is that getting a law degree is an investment. Some of your classmates are going to come out making $160+ and work in major law firms and work 14 hour days. They may love that lifestyle and the pressure and the environment. But if you want that job – you MUST finish in the top of your class, serve on law review, graduate Order of the Coif (honors for law school), etc. It doesn’t come without hard work. Everyone isn’t guaranteed that job or that salary. Some people come out of law school making what undergrads make when they gradaute – not because they choose to but because that’s the only job they could find and they have student loans and bills and families.

    The question you have to ask yourself – is are you passionate about what you do. Money is always a motivating factor but its hard work and preservence that ultimately determine syour career path and your financial security. If making money is your goal, then you will work hard as a student and get a great paying job.

    I’m still not at the top of my career making the money that some of my peers are making. I like my job, I don’t love it. I really only went to law school because I didn’t want to work. I’m not passionate about what I do and while I have financial security and can pay my loans and bills and have health benefits and 401, I’m on the internet right now, looking for a job that will fulfill my passion about life. But I ain’t gonna lie, I want to get paid too…..

    Its the American way.

    M. Arrington

  4. Michelle July 29, 2010 at 3:11 pm #

    I meant to say one thing. I fully support your decision to go to law school. For one, you owe me alot of money in drinks and kicking it so you need to get paid so I can recoup but also, i think you will be an awesome lawyer. Your passionate and creative and a great writer.

    Just don’t get too busy to make my Homecoming skirt we discussed.

    • Patricia R. July 29, 2010 at 3:54 pm #

      is it going to be leather???

  5. Ashley Thomas August 2, 2010 at 10:27 pm #

    If you want Financial Freedom .. just do business with me!! You know I am a Financial Advisor now.. soon to be Financial Planner…

  6. Marti_T August 20, 2010 at 12:21 am #

    Hey Nicole aka. Section 3 Mate,

    Stumbling onto your blog has convinced me that facebook creeping when you’re supposed to be case briefing is time well spent!

    Like you, I felt pressured by my friends to pursue my art instead of going to law school. They told me that I’m “giving up talent and dreams” by picking law school instead of the starving artist path. It made me question, “Am I, in fact, giving up my dreams of songwriting and music production to become just another bland soul on wall street with covered up tattoos and a corny briefcase?”

    Well, not necessarily. I’ve come to the conclusion that if I do what I’m supposed to do (like, if I go back to briefing this case in two minutes), I’ll hopefully be able to combine my profession with my passion once I’m out of law school and live a happy, comfortable life.

    Although people would like to have us believe that artistic talent sells like hotcakes, we all know that art is subjective; some will like it, some will not. If the majority likes it, then you’re set. And if the majority doesn’t like it?

    Waitress at 45 with a college degree?

    Ehh, I’ll cover up the tats.

    Anyway, thank you for this piece; it hit home. Now, back to this brief. See you in Torts, bright and early!

  7. yoshi April 6, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    I know you wrote this mad long ago but “I can’t be broke for you” is a dope way to put it and as an visual artist who considers the financial sustainability of the field I feel you.

    Hope law school is all you want it to be and more.

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