Lawyer Strips to Survive, Maintains Positive Attitude

Meet "Carla," who earned her law degree a decade ago and actually used it, unlike some people we know. In 2009 she was laid off and couldn't find another law job, because they've all been outsourced or backsourced or stolen by the Olds. So she found what her law school's Office of Career Services might call "an alternative career."

MSNBC's Bob Sullivan tells Carla's tale:

"I went around to see if could get a job as cocktail waitress, but there was not a single retail or waitress job. No one was hiring, except for the topless places," she said. "It was an act of desperation."

She started out serving drinks as a waitress, but moved quickly to dancing "because that's where the money is, and that's what I needed."

Stories like Carla's, in which highly skilled, highly educated workers suddenly find themselves taking low-paying jobs just to not-starve, abound in our exciting economic environment. What makes her story noteworthy is that, despite setbacks, disappointments, and having to deal with creeps on the job, she's remained fairly positive about her situation:

"Sometimes it sucks, it's degrading and I hate it, but it is necessary right now and I'm glad I have the option of doing it," Carla said. "My parents and a few friends know and they were horrified at first. But now they are proud of me for sucking it up and doing what I have to do."

She also speaks well of her coworkers, in a sisterly-solidarity way:

"I am no better than the next dancer by virtue of my education or previous work experience. The universe has a funny way of putting a person in their place," she said. "I have learned that I still have a lot to learn about life but now I have some incredible female mentors who continually inspire me with their courage and work ethic."

Of course, it's possible she's just trying to paint a rosy picture so that we all admire her for her strength and moxie. Lawyers have been known to play hero and bullshit from time to time—it's rare, but it happens. And it's not, um, optimal to put yourself in situations that you find "degrading" or "hate." But the "doing what I have to do" to make it part and humility she shows in speaking of her colleagues score her some points.

Because Carla won't dance in private rooms, where dancers can make up to $1,000 a night, she's pulling in between $20 and $50 an hour. Many lawyers now make about that much nowadays after working all day long, into the night—and they don't get the exercise benefits of dancing. They just sit under fluorescent lights with half-eaten packages of mini donuts until it's dark outside and time to go home. Then again, it's likely that most of them don't have to deal with as many grabbers, biters, and all-around frightening freaks as they would stripping (probably depends on the firm).

[MSNBC. Image via Shutterstock]