Why Do I Go Out Of My Way To Beat You Up So Much?

Because I care.

But understand. I don’t give a putrid, runny shit about what you think. Not a one of you. There’s precious little in comments that even ever raises my eyebrow when it’s in contradiction.

I care about what you value; because, I know what you really value. And it annoys me that so many of you betray what you value over the putrid, runny shit you got indoctrinated with just to spout to others so they suck up to you.

It hurts me when I see people putting the putrid runny shit ahead of what they really, truly love out of life—which I do not believe is a life comprised of decades of cowtow-401K-cubicalism, with stock options for a startup that has about as much chance as cherries, pineapples, and three sevens. Just guessing.

You can grab an amazing life now. I’m 54 and excited for reals, and I’ve lived abroad and travelled the world. Then I came back, started a company, made $3 million yearly for a while. But I hated my life and what it cost me in soul and alcohol consumption to do it.

I’m changing it as fast as I can and it would be untoward of me to not share. You can do it too, even if you’re 18 or 20, and get a big jump.

Emigrate from lands that count on you to feed the beast for your life, then get a pittance to live in a cracker box and have full medical care so that a lot of money feeds back into the 1st World CAFO.

…Yes, plans are moving along. I’ll probably board a plane to Cabo Monday or Tuesday. I’m going to be staying at the property.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Dave on April 16, 2015 at 04:13

    Looking forward to seeing future blog posts on your new life. I can sense your excitement, Richard.

  2. AnarkhosRRJ on April 15, 2015 at 14:35

    Thanks to this blog I got a jump start pretty early. I was in my late 20’s and obsessed with making it “big” (getting those monies) and stressing it. Working full time and going to school full time. I hated my life, I remember almost every day sitting in the parking lot of my job or school and dreading getting out of that car. I contemplated suicide on the daily. But I had to keep grinding to earn paper to pay for shit I don’t need right? To be “successful”.

    Fuck that. A blog post of yours sparked something in me, I can’t remember exactly the post but in it you said something along the lines of, “I would love to be out in the wild and spear my own fish”. I ran with it. Quit my job, dropped out of school, and sold everything I had. I made a bug-out bag with only the essentials and moved out of my apartment and into my car. That initial taste of real freedom is something I’ll never forget, I was so fucken happy.

    I was living off of savings for a couple of years (only a few grand), spending my time at the various parks, beaches, and bays in San Diego, playing ball, hiking, swimming and meeting lots of women in the process. Living the life, out in the open, hanging out with people I gave a shit about, and fucking dames.

    Fast forward to today and I’m still at it, still free and happy. I don’t give a shit about money or material things, just good company and food. I’ve settled down with a hot little Filipino broad who loves me, and I do her. I still live in my car Mon-Thurs but on the weekends I stay with her in her condo, or she joins me in my ride. I’m working about 16-20 hours a week and that is more then enough to support my lifestyle. I have everything I need, but most importantly I have time – to do with as I please.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 15, 2015 at 18:34

      Man, RRJ, that is like the coolest comment ever.

      Either you’re serious and good for you, it’s it’s the most clever troll comment ever, and it still wouldn’t matter.

  3. Steven on April 15, 2015 at 19:18

    What’s ironic about it all is: as boisterous, irritable and explosive as you are too do care the most.

    I see it in the way you talk about life.

    That’s the only reason I still read you.

  4. Skyler Tanner on April 16, 2015 at 04:26


    You know by now that no one can be told, they have to come to it on their own. Such is the line “If I only knew then…”

    That doesn’t mean you don’t stop trying, of course.

  5. Jane Karlsson on April 16, 2015 at 04:33

    I escaped too, 30 years ago. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.

    I had a 3 year Oxford college fellowship which was withdrawn in 1985 after 2 years. My research on tissue regeneration together with much study of the literature had led me to believe that modern disease is caused by mineral deficiencies. This was considered insane, because everybody thought disease was due to genes and could be fixed with gene therapy. I had read a lot of genetics and considered that insane.

    I learned how to live on almost nothing, and it was very liberating.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 16, 2015 at 07:24

      It is interesting, Jane, that as we explore the Hormesis Files and sugar in particular, more and more it’s looking like the underlying problem with sugar (and other carbs, for that matter) is the refining process that strips nutrients, particularly minerals. So, a double whammy. Remove that which makes the sugars OK, crete mineral deficiencies in the process.

      Thanks for all your contributions on that score.

    • Jane Karlsson on April 16, 2015 at 07:43


  6. sassysquatch on April 16, 2015 at 06:01

    Yeah, and I don’t give a compacted, corn speckled turd what you think. But I also care.

    I have a great non-job that I could walk away from in a second without looking back.

    Life is good – even when it’s shit. Enjoy the show!

    If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.

  7. Fred on April 16, 2015 at 07:49

    What kinds of lands are these?? I’m 22, in college, and definitely do not want to work for the CAFO system… I’m not sure where to start with living without money, etc… If you could go back to 22, what would you do?

    • Richard Nikoley on April 16, 2015 at 07:57

      Well Fred, you do need to make money to live. It’s the medium of exchange, unless you want to barter your way through life which sucks.

      It’s so individual. If I was back at 22, I’d probably do the same thing. Worked out for me. But, what’s changed is that we have a quadrillion more terabytes of information at our fingertips that we can access from anywhere.

      Used to be that generally, to make a lot of money, you had to go to a place with high cost of living. I used to tell people: you want to make a lot of money? Move to San Fran, NYC, Chicago, Paris, London, etc. Then, live as inexpensively as possible in those places.

      But now, there are so many ways to make money using the Internet, and it doesn’t matter where you are. In other words, you can make an income commensurate with working on Wall Street, but living on a beach somewhere for under $1,000 per month.

      You just have to figure out what you want to do, how you’re going to do it, and find a place you’re really love to live, rather than need to live.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 16, 2015 at 07:58

      …For instance, one obvious way is that if you are a website developer or designer, you can literally work from anywhere, either for your own clients, or freelance for any number of companies.

    • Fred on April 16, 2015 at 08:00

      Alright thanks for the advice!

    • John on April 16, 2015 at 08:34

      Thats where I’m at now. I got a late start on career path. Took a year off mid college to work, work sucked, went back. Took a few years off after college, traveled, worked at a small restaurant.

      Went to law school with no passion for the law, but figured its a respected type job and knew I had a job when I got out. Well I should have focused more on the “I hate law” thought before going to law school instead of “anything will be tough work so might as well.” Or the “fuck all this shit” thought I had while in law school.

      Now a few years later, in my 30’s, I hate my career, don’t really care about any other career, don’t really have any transferable skills besides writing, yet realize I’ve got to at least eat.

      I’m well aware that my current position is one many hungry lawyers out there would kill for. I’ve turned down recent offers for legal positions where people assume I’m telling a joke if I say I turned the position down.

      During law school orientation, they told us the great majority of us would develop a psychological disorder, a substance addiction, or both while in law school or while in our careers, and to get help if we need it. This was right before telling us that we need to disclose all DUI related arrests on our bar applications because “there are plenty of drunk lawyers out there, but the bar cares way more about liars.”

      My life is overall pretty good still, and I’ll figure this out. Nevertheless, it can be quite trying on the mind feeling like anything else I do will be starting from scratch, and not feeling particularly pulled to anything else.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 16, 2015 at 09:09

      Holy shit, John.

      Good news is you seem quite well informed of your own situation. There’s no rush to figure it out quick. What I might do in your position is live dirt cheap, hold your nose and swallow for a few more years as you sock away massive cash, part just cash, part tax deferred, and then let the world be your oyster for the next 40-50 years.

      And hell, if you can make a specialty and a mark in the law you practice, you might be able to just offer yourself up via phone, email, and Skype as a consultant on tough cases. That could probably be fun if you have no skin in the game.

    • John on April 16, 2015 at 10:56

      Yeah I’ve stuck with it for longer than I intended when I first admitted to myself that I am going to be miserable sticking with this. I realized that I’m not making better money elsewhere anytime soon (at least for me; most of my graduating class isn’t finding shit for well paying legal work).

      My expenses are low. The past 2 years I’ve spent too much on frivolous shit – car, other toys – so savings aren’t where I want them, though probably better than most of my peers.

      This year I’ve gotten my “spend money on things to take mind off work/feel better about work” expenses way down. I’m pretty much down to essentials + Netflix.

      I plan on saving and getting some rental properties. I have been talking with a contractor friend and some real estate friends about this fairly extensively. Reading your blog, I like the idea of vacation rentals because the margins seem higher and the payments and relationships seem…less troublesome.

      My girlfriend loves her career, wants to start a family, and wants me to be a stay at home dad. The thought is tempting sometimes, though I wonder if it is conditioning or some male-as-provider gene making me feel that being provided for by a woman is wrong!

    • Wilbur on April 16, 2015 at 14:39

      John –

      I was an academic. I loved the idea of learning for learning’s sake. My first position was at a fantastic university. Unfortunately, tenure was impossible there, and my wife was miserable. We moved. My wife got a job she loves. Unfortunately, I was miserable at my new institution. I was angry all the time.

      we decided that I should become a stay at home dad. I love it. There is a lot of freedom. I’ve pursued interests I could not have otherwise. I view myself as a house manager. I take care of all the crap two income families have to do on weekends. Our weekends are free. My wife has become a partner and a executive committee member at her firm. We have been told many times that the flexibility she has had because of me (by her superiors) has been a big difference.

      I felt awkward at first. I told people I worked from home, or that I was trading stocks. I got over myself. Thanks in part to me, we have a life that makes us all happy. And in the end, I have lots of time for learning for learning’s sake, since I am beholden to nobody but my kid.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2015 at 08:22

      I’ve known a few lawyers who didn’t have law degrees. They either grew up in the “trade,” with parent(s) or other relatives, or they apprenticed in a law office. That’s the debt free way to go, and plus, you’ll have a better idea of what area of law you really want to practice.

      Me, I’d probably want to do defense-side complex business/commercial litigation, or criminal defense.

      Here’s my high-power lawyer cousin, one week older than me.

      Complex bus litigation.

    • gabkad on April 16, 2015 at 18:27

      That’s so nice, Wilbur. I wish I had a ‘house manager’ too. My kids are grown up and have their own independent lives. I still wouldn’t mind a house manager. A quiet house manager.

    • Span_Carvan on April 16, 2015 at 20:15

      Lots of people are in that situation, John. Just go over to the websites run by Paul Campos, “Inside the Law School Scam” and “Lawyers, Guns, and Money.” Many people get out of law after a few years. Those that do often do it at a net loss, having accumulated more loans than they can possibly pay off. Thankfully, you’re doing a lot better than some of the attorneys that I know. You at least have a choice. Some people have no choice but to live a life of drudgery and not make a living at all. If they had known just how starkly the job market for lawyers starting out has changed, they never would have entered the profession. Basically, if you don’t have a book of business after 4-5 years, you’re done as a lawyer.

    • John on April 17, 2015 at 07:13

      I’ve always been financially conservative, and would never have gone to law school without a present ability to pay for it. I look forward to checking those websites out. Apparently some assistant DA’s make less than courthose janitors . I would rather scrub toilets than spend twice as much time doing mentally taxing legal work for less pay.

      I also feel for the law grads that can’t pass the bar – their entire future depends on passing a ridiculous test of archaic and irrelevant legal nonsense, and many of them have the pressure of 7 years worth of debt on their shoulders. And its not like the jobs are just waiting for them when they get out. One of my law school friends couldn’t pass the bar, and wound up managing an Old Navy (promoted from cashier). I guess she didn’t feel like paying another grand + lodging for the 4th try at a 2 day exam. Oh yeah, and the cost of bar prep courses is steep.

      I appreciate your story and perspective. When I think back on my life, the best memories are those of family time. Also, I always envisioned growing up, raising children, and looking forward to all the lessons I’d be teaching them and experiences I’d share with them. I don’t have much in the way of memories where I was envisioning my future in a suit reviewing all the exciting paperwork sitting alone in an office. I, too, love learning for learning’s sake. Full time family raiser may be a good fit for me.

      My girlfriend is the most ambitious, driven person I’ve ever met, practicing in a small firm specializing in complex commercial transactions. She also got a job 2 years out of law school as a professor there, teaching a course she designed to address the lack of applicable legal skills taught in law school.

    • Wilbur on April 17, 2015 at 08:40

      Playing the devil’s advocate on the bar exam, it does help keep course standards high. One of the courses I taught was advanced fixed income. At my first institution, the students primarily had engineering or math degrees. They knew their stuff, or would figure it out if not. At my second institution, the students mostly had nontechnical backgrounds. I taught the same course using my old material. My teacher ratings were in the toilet. I soon learned the I had to even teach them present values and how to price bonds! By the time I dumbed everything down to get good ratings, there was no advanced fixed income left.

      Now if these students had to pass an exam that had real advanced fixed income, my ratings at the second institution might have reflected the watered down piss I was teaching.

      One other great thing about being a SAHD is that there is no paperwork asking me to justify my pay or hours. And in 8 or so years, only one person has had a negative comment about my having a woman earn the pay. I will say, however, that the SAHDs I see out (if you do this, you’ll soon learn that we practically wear uniforms announcing us as SAHDs) are pretty standoffish and noncommunicative. That’s fine by me as I am an introvert.

    • John on April 17, 2015 at 08:58

      Law school has nothing to do with practice; this is the mantra I heard from everyone (in or out of school) when I was there when I said “this seems like a bunch of random and irrelevant garbage.” Unfortunately, that meant waiting until after school to find out what practice is like! As you say, jumping right in would give first hand perspective of what you’re jumping into.

      I have never met someone practicing that did not graduate law school, though my state is not on that list. As I understand the present hiring climate, with the surplus of barred lawyers, the odds of a non-law student getting any legal job, when lawyers are accepting paralegal (or lower) positions, are slim.

      Then again, like with anything else, there are a loud majority of under performing whiners complaining about the hurdles, while the go getters are doing the getting.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2015 at 09:28

      “I soon learned the I had to even teach them present values and how to price bonds!”

      Laf. I have found that NOBODY understands present value. For instance, my wife, at 55, can retire now at about $70k annual for life. She literally has no idea how much the cash-out value would be if it was just a regular annuity, bond, or income equities she had in an account now (it’s in the millions, right?).

    • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2015 at 09:31

      …Which, BTW, could you imagine the market if people could discount, sell-assign, and lump-sum out their Big-Corp pensions, or Fed/State/Municiple retirement pensions?

    • Wilbur on April 17, 2015 at 10:13

      “…Which, BTW, could you imagine the market if people could discount, sell-assign, and lump-sum out their Big-Corp pensions, or Fed/State/Municiple retirement pensions?”

      Then people would learn the prices of their governments’ policies. The politicians would freak out. It would be harder to give away free things to the favored, such as houses and student loan caps (where’d those markets go? Ha ha).

    • John on April 17, 2015 at 10:20


      Sounds like you and I have a lot in common – despite periods of extreme outgoingness, I am also an introvert. I am starting to think that driven women are attracted to introverts, and that it takes an introverted man to be drawn to being a SAHD over being a marketplace competitor. My girlfriend was actually drawn to my standoffishness – we met when I was very visibly away from the crowd doing my own thing in a social setting. She says she was intrigued by the guy that clearly didn’t give a shit what everyone else was doing or what they thought; she has enough charm for the both of us :). I hate paperwork, particularly the type you describe; that sort of paperwork literally gives me regular nightmares.

      I was a finance major – one of the few at law school. The running joke at law school every time an addition problem comes up is “now don’t worry, I know lawyers can’t do math but this is easy.”

      I excelled in finance in school, and was pushed by faculty to participate in a program managing a student run portfolio valued at about $3 million.
      It was very strict. You had to commit for a year. You had to go through an application process. The head of the business school told us we may get sued if we deliberately screwed up. You were immediately kicked out if you missed a deadline by as much as 1 second. Every finance professor would come to watch and critique students’ buy/sell presentations. It was the first time I felt like I was doing something of value in college, aside from the all important “getting that diploma” goal.

      Given that most business school students taking finance courses have trouble with learning simple present and future value formulas instead of plugging numbers into a financial calculator, I imagine teaching bond pricing was not very fun.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2015 at 10:33

      Oh, sure. People would understand that every new government job means they’re paying to create a new millionaire in 20-30 year’s time, on their dime.

    • Wilbur on April 17, 2015 at 12:34

      You remind me of a lawyer math story. My wife was on a conference call dealing with something in a ratio of 1:3. I was listening to my wife’s side. An engineer pointed out that the 1 part was 25%, not 33% like the lawyers were using. The discussion was endless, and I can’t imagine the cost to the clients because there were several large firm lawyers hashing it out. In the end, the conference call participants voted, and it was decided that 33% was correct.

      Math by vote.

      I like your theories about SAHDs and introversion. They fit with my experience.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2015 at 13:05

      Back in 1992 when I got out of the Navy, floundered around and spent $50k in savings on “post-grad, on the entrepreneurial idea” training, I finally settled on the idea of going to the courthouse, looking at new filings to find small businesses being sued over failure to pay common trade debt.

      Then I contacted them to offer a no- lose proposition. I’d negotiate to settle the debt (there were never much of any contractural disputes) and take 35% of the difference. Made almost $200k in 1993 from a spare bedroom with a phone, x386 computer, modem and fax machine. I’ve negotiated more deals with lawyers than probably most lawyers. Hundreds.

      My trick was that I was under no obligation to deal with the lawyer. I’d call the plaintiff direct, to piss off and worry the lawyer for one, send a message to the creditor. “Hey, let’s work out a deal.” Talk to my attorney, he’d say. “Happy to. I’d love the chat for hours about the relative merits of this case…every other day. I have no doubt your attorney will be very cordial and willing to hash out every issue I bring up, no matter how much time it takes.”

    • John on April 17, 2015 at 13:15

      “Lets settle this objectively verifiable question with a vote, lawyers!”

      I was always good with numbers because the rules connect with underlying truths. Law is different, there are many underlying logical processes to all the rules (and rules, and rules), but where’s the foundational truth?

    • John on April 17, 2015 at 13:25

      Haha, Richard.

      In my field, the clients are particularly litigious, and must constantly be reminded of the cost of what they’re wanting to fight about relative to the amount they’re fighting over.

      A client yelling for months about how they must fight over x y and z will invariably dispute the bill when it exceeds the value of x y and z, no matter how many times they were advised against it (in writing, of course) due to the cost.

      That said, so much of lawyering is needless complexity standing in the way of shit people should be able to resolve among themselves.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2015 at 14:21

      “Haha, Richard.”

      For the most part, we dealt with the same set of paper mill “law firms” who do collection work because they’re incompetent at anything else, or they recognize it’s just a business that makes money on volume. Those, and the big, nationwide collection agencies and eventually, all the big name CC companies. At our height, we were settling $1-2mil of CC debt per month at an average of 35 cents on the dollar. We even had clients with $200-300K cc debt, and those were the easiest. Entire portfolio settled at 10-20 cents OTD. It’s interesting because while they’d have the easiest time BK and creditors get nothing, they also typically have the ability to make things happen and raise $50k.

      Over time, you train the lawyers and collection agents that what they need from us is a few facts concerning various financial hardships, so they can convince their clients to take 30-60 cents on the dollar—cashier’s check overnight Fedex—and everyone moves on.

      But every once is a while, you get a small vendor who doesn’t get stiffed often, so used the regular small business lawyer. These were the fun new and I insisted on dealing with them personally.

      “This is Richard Nikoley, Company XYZ’s attorney.”

      ‘Oh, OK,’ and they’re giddy because that means they get to shoot the shit about golf and bill their clients.

      “I’m calling to negotiate a settlement.”

      “Are you filing an answer to the complaint?”


      “So you’re going to take a default? Is that in your client’s best interest?”

      “No, we probably won’t be taking a default, because if you and I can’t quickly reach a settlement, then I’ll just contact your client and write them a letter CC you, explaining how you’re trying to rack up billable hours at their expense instead of operating in their best interest.”

      “You can’t do that.”

      “Yes I can. Oh, you didn’t let me finish. I’m their attorney-in-fact, not their attorney-at-law.”

      This was ALWAYS hilarious, but the most hilarious was when a lawyer who drove a 10-yr-old, faded BMW 3 series and practiced out of Gilroy, CA in a tiny satellite of the county court decided to file a motion to add me to the complaint ($4,500 trade debt).

      I drafted and filed my own opposition to the motion and appeared pro se in front of the judge. This guy was one of those guys who acts like he’s arguing before the Supreme Court.

      Judge just smiled, “I’m not adding him to the complaint. Motion denied.”

      I didn’t have to say a word.

    • John on April 17, 2015 at 15:31

      Thats awesome. I love watching lawyer ego backfire in court.

      The most fun I ever had in a hearing was one where I didn’t have to say a word – the judge basically ridiculed the other lawyer (a special kind of asshole) in open court, while I stood there trying not to laugh.

      This judge is dead serious, and lets you know plainly when he thinks you’re full of shit. At the same time, he says things in such a way that you almost think he’s being sarcastic. Sometimes its tough to tell if he’s being too harsh on clients, or if he just hates bad lawyers.

      I was watching him in a hearing one time where someone was seeking a DV injunction. The lawyers stood up to present the case and the judge says “ok lawyers, this seems like a very simple matter so don’t talk, and have a seat. Clients, stand up – plaintiff, tell me why you want this injunction.” This was followed by a story about how this plaintiff was arguing with her roommate, they had a verbal argument over something like the plaintiff’s boyfriend sleeping with the defendant, and the plaintiff wanted the roommate gone. The judge says “Ok. That is a very sad story. So far you have said nothing that would provide a legal basis for me to enter a domestic violence injunction, such as…domestic violence. Do you have anything relevant to DV to say in addition to your very sad story? No? Client sum it up pretty well lawyer? Good. Denied.”

    • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2015 at 15:46

      Ha John,

      So you ended up in Judge Judy’s “courtroom.”

      Everyone can say what they want about her, but ther is probably no person on the planet as adept at seeing through lies and reducing bullshit to liquid clarity.

      Good judges are a real value, and it transcends State and statute.

    • John on April 17, 2015 at 16:15

      Something like that. I was at the courthouse with my boss during a break and he said “hey you want to see something funny? Lets watch this judges’ DV hearings.” Not a statement you hear every day, but about every 3 minutes during these hearings the boss was nudging my shoulder and snickering.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2015 at 16:57

      Over many years, I’ve been in many courthouses and by far the funniest thing is watching all the young people hauling boxes of files on dollies.

    • John on April 17, 2015 at 19:39

      Not as funny as the couriers bringing a van full of boxes to build a wall in the courtroom.

    • Span_Carvan on April 17, 2015 at 19:52

      John, those statistics are absolutely real and you’re just scratching the surface of deception which law schools and popular mystiques about lawyers have spawned. The heyday of big firm law was probably the 1990s. That’s when the average partner was taking in something like $10mm at places like Wachtell and Cravath. They still do and take in a lot more now but the gravy train has stopped in most other areas of law. Sure there are other ways of getting rich. Trial law is one but that has always catered to someone like Gerry Spence and Johnny Cochrane. Average trial lawyers make very little money. Probably the highest-grossing lawyer is someone who consistently wins cases in tort-friendly jurisdictions like Matagorda County, Texas. But it’s an enormously difficult undertaking and very few people are cut out for that type of work, which involves playing to juries, theatrics and showmanship. Most law school graduates are liberal arts types who wouldn’t be caught dead with the Walmart crowd.

      The most well-traveled road to riches used to be big firm law and that pretty much guaranteed upper-middle class existence. But that work is drying up and those who fail to get into big or even medium size firms are really struggling. Paul Campos started that site because his own student committed suicide after becoming despondent over her job prospects. Campos started researching job prospects and concluded that law schools were flaunting bogus statistics about job placement, that many more are unemployed or underemployed. I mean, people were taking jobs as Orange Aprons and Walmart greeters after law school. I laughed at this, until I saw the statistics similar to what you showed me. An assistant DAs making $37k? That’s absolutely insane. That’s how much legal wordprocessors and proofreaders used to make 20 years ago.

      The problem is that most of big firm work done by junior associates and paralegals have been farmed out to India. Most of the back office work is being done in places like the Philippines, where people speak good English and don’t complain about long hours. It’s sneaking into areas like Wall Street research, where you see India-based analysts, who are just as good. If you’ve been keeping abreast of recent events, you’ll notice that unhappy lawyers have gone postal, been involved in mass shootings, etc. Take Florida State, where my college roomie went. They had an alum who went to law school (not FSU) go berserk. Then a professor, Dan Markell, was shot dead. For long, it was thought that the perpetrator was one of the disgruntled law school graduates who couldn’t find work. That’s because Markell was this snooty, ivory tower type who scoffed at the plights of underemployed lawyers and consorted with the airy-fairy professorial set that made $300k while teaching at places like FSU. He ran a blog that was hostile to Campos and those who advocated reforming law school. No one has been caught but it was a big conjecture on campus and in the law school community that finally the unhappiness and the underemployment of lawyers have erupted in a capital crime serious enough to warrant investigation. I’m hearing now that even graduates of top 10 law schools like NYU are struggling. The bottom 1/3 there are supposedly no longer marketable enough for big firm work and some are going into public interest law with no prospects of ever repaying their loans. It’s a wake up call. It’s called the “Global Wage Arbitrage” and law is no exception. How do I know this? Living with a lawyer who lost her job and drove me nuts for 10 years.

    • John on April 17, 2015 at 20:44


      Dan Markell was my crim law professor. I do not want to speak of him in first-hand specifics here, but I have exchanged many stories about issues with his attitude and methodology with colleagues, and that would fit in with your description.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2015 at 21:29

      My goodness.

      I can’t bring myself to use vulgarity here, so Heavans to Mergatroyd.

      Spanish, it is so wonderful to again be treated to…this time…WIDTH of knowledge and experience.

      Captivating comment.

      Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to keep you around offering up that much thought to the people who pop in here.

      Thank you, sir.

    • Span_Carvan on April 17, 2015 at 22:07

      That’s why I no longer hate lawyers, especially underemployed lawyers. I left no stone unturned for 5 years trying to find someone a job that just didn’t exist. Instead, I hate low-carb diet advocates who are just as deceptive and slimy. These are the real purveyors of malarkey.

    • Gemma on April 17, 2015 at 22:29

      Math by vote, deceptive lawyers and low-carb advocates who probably also voted about it.

      Great discussion, thank you.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2015 at 23:09

      Well, Spanish, it’s interesting times and for me, I’m gratified to be a part of it, I want to strive to be more intelligent and less vitriolic for fan, and I only want to be a little less wrong tomorrow, and then the next day.

      It’s a message I want to keep repeating ’cause I really mean it.

      …I want to be friendlier and more encouraging , minimum 5 minutes per day.

    • Span_Carvan on April 18, 2015 at 10:39

      Most lawyers are warm and fuzzy people, Richard. It’s “retail lawyers” and criminal defense attorneys you see on TV who besmirch the reputation of the entire profession.

      If you want to read about utter human devastation, simmering anger, and feelings of worthlessness, go over to Paul Campos’s blog:

      Graduates who commit suicides and their loans not being discharged as they’re education loans. Collectors going after their grief-stricken parents on Medicare who cosigned the loans. Laid off lawyers dropping law school and legal experience so they won’t be “overqualified” for a customer service job at a call center. People trying to become certified in “refrigeration, heating and air conditioning” because they’re overqualified for just about every job out there. I thought it was all a joke at first. It’s a useful parallel with those who VLCed long-term. There is a law school scam. Then there is a low-carb scam. They both end badly.

    • Dan on April 18, 2015 at 15:10

      What the fuck is wrong with “heating, refrigeration, and air conditioning”?

    • Richard Nikoley on April 18, 2015 at 15:43

      They aren’t Paleo. Do you get it? They ARE NOT PALEO!!!

    • Span_Carvan on April 18, 2015 at 19:36

      Unlike the disappearing law jobs, they can’t be outsourced to Third World countries, Dan. You have to be onsite and on standby. In other words, these jobs, like being truck drivers, package delivery men, Orange Aprons, Walmart Greeters, etc. are safe from the insidious effects of the Global Wage Artrage.

    • John on April 20, 2015 at 07:01

      Span, I’m glad Richard wrote such a complete thanks for your contribution. I was thinking something similar while reading your comments – the breadth and depth in your posts made me wonder how long you’ve spend immersed in learing about legal field BS.

      This comment thread is great. Thanks Richard, for basically writing a blog post’s worth of info here, and Wilbur, for your career and SAHD perspectives.

    • Span_Carvan on April 20, 2015 at 22:10

      Thanks, John, I also have a cousin who went to Columbia Law, who didn’t turn out too well either. Let’s just say he’s not part of the yacht leisure class. So I know the situation pretty well.

    • John on April 22, 2015 at 14:01

      I went to Professor Campos’ blog and searched for Dan Markel. It turned up this heroic (for academics engaged in blog wars) post.


    • John on April 22, 2015 at 14:02

      Tuition at the law school I went to has gone from approximately $10k in 2009 to over $20k this year.

    • Span_Carvan on April 22, 2015 at 23:07

      Those people who made half-threatening comments on that post were checked out by the Tallahassee Police Department, from what I hear. Dan made a lot of enemies since he was so self-absorbed and cantankerous. I’ve probably never read more lukewarm eulogies. They all sounded like, “Dan was sneering and hurt my feelings. However, he was going places so I put up with him. He will be missed. Sort of.” That’s not what you want on your tombstone. You want something like, “He lived, loved, and learned many life lessons before checking out.”

      His wife hired movers one day and vacated their home with their kids while he was away. Whoever did it was ballsy enough to park his car, walk up the driveway and calmly put a bullet to his jugular. If it was a road rage incident, they’ll never find him.

  8. Lindsey on April 16, 2015 at 11:14

    I come here to be insulted.

    And not in the you must think your audience is stupid way. 😀

  9. Steve on April 16, 2015 at 18:44

    To point out the obvious: being talented enough to make $3 million a year for several years would make a lot of thing possible later on (assuming you didn’t piss it away once you had it). My primary interest in having a big nest egg is the flexibility it buys you. Having “fuck you” money is a nice luxury….

    • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2015 at 06:58

      Well, that $3 mil is gross, for a company with upwards of 30 employees that developed its own CSM platform, and had 50 state regulatory jurisdictions to hassle with that cost upwards of $250 k in attorney fees annually — a big reason I grew to hate it.

      In the best times, I could get away with $200-220 for myself, before fucking taxes.

      I think my point is that many times I have considered doing something again to pull in that kind of dough, then I get nauseated and content with the far more modest life that gives me time to smile.

  10. Sean II on April 17, 2015 at 03:34

    Having FYM is in itself not a luxury but it’s rather the fact that you were able to build it.
    You could have a wad today that you built with your sweat and smarts and if tomorrow it is suddenly gone, you are still in a better position than someone who does not have the skills to create wealth.
    If I am honest with myself and know that given £1 today, I’d only consume stuff and don’t have the knowhow to make any profit from it, I too would be fearful of chucking in the drip feed of the cubicle.
    Even in Zihuatanejo there will be folks who can make and sell while there are those who can only buy.
    “In the abundance of water the fool is thirsty.” – Marley

  11. Ron Padot, Jr. on April 17, 2015 at 08:08

    Sean II,

    Thanks for mentioning Zihuatanejo, and ultimately, spelling it for me. I’ve always wondered where, exactly, Andy actually went…

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