Monday, December 20, 2010

A success story

My blog is geared to the negative side so today I'm going to switch it up with a positive story. One of my childhood friends that is one year older than me has made it big time. For purposes of anonymity I will call him Steve. Here is his story.

Steve went to a TTT university and graduated with a degree in marketing. Grades were in the B's and C's. Weekends included us getting severely hammered, getting into brawls, going to massive rave parties, house parties, hollywood clubs, all the good stuff. Upon graduating at the age of 22 he got his first job selling stereo equipment in a ghetto part of town. His weekly pay was $500 a week plus commission off his sales. He stayed there for about a year and then got a job selling computer memory with a korean firm. He stayed there for about 8 months and then became a car salesman in yet another ghetto part of town. He busted his ass and made a good 70k during the boom years.

After 7 months he went on to sale cars with mercedez benz. He stayed there for a good 9-10 months and then got a job with some internet marketing firm that sold cars for dealerships. The basis of his job was essentially sales. He had to sign up dealerships with this computer program. He stayed with this company for over a year. This was during the crash of 2008 when several thousand dealerships went belly up. For example, Steve survived 4 rounds of layoffs. At one point he was so scared and so depressed as he was convinced that he would be the next to be let go. Somehow, he made it.

He rode out the storm and moved on to yet another company that sold software marketing programs to dealerships. He stayed with this company for 6 months and then came the big one. He contacted a internet marketing company in the middle east (dubai) and landed a managerial position. The job required great sacrifice as he had to move out of the country, away from his family and friends. But the pay, wow. Lets just say that he makes more than many partners do at biglaw firms. This year alone he's looking at netting 200k. Wow wow wow.

Already he's getting offers from similar companies in the region offering him even more money. He's back in the states on his 3 week vacation. He is absolutely glowing with confidence. Its good to hear a breathe of fresh air as so much despair is all around us. I in particular focus on the dark future that is to come as the US is on its way towards bankruptcy. Lately I'm trying to focus on the opportunity that exists out there. Even though I'm practicing tttoilet plaintiff's personal injury law, I know that some mega banger lawsuit will fall in my lap. At least thats what I'm hoping for.

Steve's first year annual salary was $32,000 gross. 8 years later his earnings have reached the moon with the sky being the limit. Everything he did, he did it to the max. He never settled. He never despaired. He always fought for more. If his quota was 100k for the month, he pulled in 120k. Even at this new company he's smashing expectations. And all this with a lousy marketing degree from a shitty university but a deep drive and hard work behind it. They say that your starting salary is important because that will in all likelihood end up determining your peak salary. Fuck that shit. Let us determine our own destiny and not let society put us in a box. We have plenty of cards stacked against us. But as this one example shows, its possible to break through and achieve something better.


  1. Interesting story.

    I am sure your friend is making good money, but keep in mind that Dubai is not as glamorous as it seems.

    My family is muslim and I have gone to Arabic school for over 8 years as a kid. I have been to Dubai several times, as well as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt and other nations in the middle east.

    The cultural differences that people from America face in a conservative muslim country are very different than that of other people who come from muslim countries.

    I am sure your friend makes good money, but in Dubai the money is like Las Vegas. Easy come and easy go.

    There are many misconceptions about the middle east, and many nations in the middle east are more modern and advanced than the US and Europe. They won't let Turkey into the EU, but Turkey's economy is the fastest growing in Europe.

    You are 100% correct about how the US economy is heading toward bankruptcy. Goldman Sachs has called the middle eastern gulf nations and the BRIC countries (Brazil, India, China, Russia) the next big economies in the world.

    These are the countries to find good jobs and make good money. The US is becoming like the UK. The British Empire once ruled half the world, and now its just the UK. It is a modern developed first world nation, but not the super power it used to be.

    All empires rise and fall, and the US has reached its peak. Now it's on the decline...

  2. Dubai is completely overrated and over-priced. Look, Dubai IS NOT New York, or Tokyo, or London, or Paris. (And it never will be)

    Building fantastical buildings with debt money (not oil money--there is none) off the backs of desperate slave labor everywhere. The city is basically Indian Labor Immigrants, Sad Filipino Service Workers, Low-class Brits primarily who don't mind the debauchery and white privilege because they like the sun and getting drunk everynight at the hotel. And lastly the tiny Local Emirati population whom you never see(unless shopping or valeting their Maserati) or interact with living in their McMansions who are dreaming up more childish, unsustainable ways to spend their undeserved money. The human rights violations are disgusting.

    Ironically, NO Foreigner I've ever met there wants to live there long term. They want to make their money, have a little fun and get out. Everyone agrees--it's absolutely devoid of culture and completely soul-less. Money cannot buy culture, class, intelligence, or soul. Save your money and travel elsewhere in the Middle East for Arab culture and business opportunities. (Lebanon,Jordan, Israel, Syria, N.Africa) or plenty of places with sun around the world for a fraction of the price.

    They try to show you pictures of fancy shopping malls, indoor ski resorts and luxurious hotels of Dubai. However, its still an EXTREMELY Conservative WAHABI influenced muslim country where half the women wear hijab/niquab/burkas, there is NO Alcohol for sale and EXTREME intolerance of all non locals. Behind all the glitter and glamour, it is still a hard core Islamic country run by Shariah law that the Arabs try to hide so well.

    I am just giving you my honest opinion as someone who has been to Dubai many times over the past 20 years.

    -The Poor Paralegal

  3. I kinda agree with Paralegal w/o a Paycheck in that your friend needs to carefully bank and invest that money. Dubai is a bubble that makes other bubbles look like flat beer. He just needs to be ready for the whole thing to come crashing down at any minute and GTFO. However, if he's as smart as you've described, and clawed his way to the top rather than being handed a position because of his alma matter/ last name, he knows this already.

  4. My friend knows about Dubai's troubles. However, he is based in a industry that is experiencing amazing growth: internet sales and marketing. The company is based in Dubai but does business with 20+ arab countries from the gulf to north Africa. Already he is talking to people from Google and other internet marketing machines. The gig in Dubai is temporary (3-5yrs) but the experience and resume padding will last him a lifetime. Gives speeches at 200+ person conferences, negotiaties multi-million dollar contracts. Is of arab descent and speaks arabic so that is a plus.

  5. I have to second the comments above. As a western born-and-bred female, you could not pay me enough to re-locate to an Arab country. Money isn't enough of an incentive.

    Additionally, your friend sounds like he has the innate ability to sell snow to eskimos. Some people are born with it. A lot of people, myself included, went into law because we didn't want to go into sales (funny how much law actually is selling yourself/skills). Anyways, to get to where he is, your friend has to have a natural passion/drive to sell. Most lawyers, with the exceptions of solos and partners, don't care enough or don't want to have to sell.

  6. Marni:

    I always joked that my bud could sell "a shoe" to someone lol. He does have that innate ability. The point I was trying to make was that he went from selling stereos in the ghetto to making huge money in the international corporate world.

  7. Your friend has a specialized set of skills, and has had some fortunate timing and luck. (Good timing is a version of luck.) Even Malcolm Gladwell notes that luck plays a HUGE role in success stories, in his book "Outliers."

    I am glad to hear of your friend's success - although I would be very cautious if I were in his position. However, I also do not like the story much because capitalist tools and demagogues will use HIS story to tell EVERYONE that they too can equal his success - if they just work hard enough. Instead of pointing out the fact that 99% of people who work their asses off will see no noticeable improvement in their work lives or circumstances, these dolts and snake-oil salesmen will point out the 1 percent who make it.

    Today, I gave a presentation to a bunch of businesspeople and civic organizations. It will help my employer, and perhaps even assist me a little. But it will not change my paycheck. If my salary does increase at review, it will not be by much.

  8. when i read the title, i thought it was success in the legal field with a TTT J.D

  9. I'm with Subprime. Do your plaintiff's injury work, but don't just wait around for your "retirement case." You have to keep working. You must be the best you can be in order for people to think of you and walk that monster case over to your door. Keep networking, preparing cases, being civil to clients and adversaries alike, and eventually you will make a good living, even without Moby Lawsuit swimming in your pool.
    As a lawyer, law professor, former ethics chair, and national CLE lecturer, I am in daily contact with attorneys who regret their choices and despair their futures. My book, "$olo Contendere: How to Go Directly from Law School into the Practice of Law Without Getting a Job" is a safe and sane tool for new lawyers who want to practice law despite their inexperience. The popularity of the book suggests how many lawyers there are out there who are willing to take the solo plunge. That bar associations and law schools are also interested in the book suggests that the employment landscape is not expected to change dramatically in the near future.

  10. I just read your blog today, and I liked your posts and this story. Congratulations for being a nice friend of your friends, because you are glad and not jealous of your friend's success. Very nice.

  11. Suggestion: Become a politician; run for office; introduce and vote for more lengthy laws with lots of penalties and litigation opportunities; don't run for reelection claiming self imposed term limits; hang out your shingle; file lawsuits under the terms of the laws you helped pass; make a lot of $$$; pay off your loans!

  12. to anon @ 12:58

    Due to family support student loans are not a problem for me. I went to law school knowing that I had strong financial backing. After seeing so many friends get obliterated my their loans I couldn't let the injustice continue. So the blog was created.

    The purpose of this blog is to (a) warn law school applicants (b) serve as a place of solace for angry and depressed graduates and (c) fight for reform and transparency. I also write about the direction of the economy and how the US is quasi fascist turning full blown authoritarian.

  13. I graduated with a 2.3 GPA from a state university in the south. I now make over 80k at a job with great potential only after 3 years from college through damn hard work and perseverance.

    Networking, surrounding yourself with capable people, busting your ass and forgoing higher education is the key. There are so many international opportunities right now. My wife at the age of 24 just became an international trading manager for a company currently stationed in the U.S. She gets to travel all over the U.S. and internationally.

    We have no debt at all. We are currently pressured by both of our parents to buy a house, but I tell my parents to f**k off because they have no idea what they're talking about. Instead of buying a house and paying the f**king banks, real estate agents, and financiers, I invested in gold, silver, oil, and agriculture. I'm now going to be jumping into Uranium and natural gas.

  14. Oh, and the reason I'm posting is because I almost attended law school. Though, I would have picked a highly ranked tax law school (UF) that was relatively cheap in tuition cost. The only reason I even considered law school was because a JD is considered prestigious by both my wife's and my parents. That's just how our culture works. Our parents care more about the brand of school you have under your belt rather than how happy you are or how much money you make, for their own bragging rights.


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