Another fallacy that prospective law students hold onto is that the law degree has some kind of value outside of law. They think, "if I don't practice law, at least it's a prestigious degree that will help my non-law career." This is completely false. Having a law degree hurts your chances of getting non-law jobs. No one wants to hire you if you have a law degree. Because "everyone knows" that lawyers make so much money, they can't understand why someone with a law degree would want to do anything else but practice law. If you say "I couldn't find a job practicing law." which is probably the truth, they will think "this person is a loser because everyone know how easy it is to find a job practicing law, and we don't hire losers around here." If you say "I was just exploring my options but decided I didn't want to practice law," then they will think "this person has no idea what he wants to do, we want to hire people who know where their career is going." There is absolutely no way to spin the law degree in a way that it helps you get a non-law job. [...] The only way I have been able to find any jobs outside of law is to leave the law degree off my resume. Whenever the law degree has been on my resume, it has been the kiss of death that prevents me from finding a job.
Many believe that a person with a Master's degree, and in particular, a Doctorate should "absolutely" be able to find a job. It is not true. Often a higher degree acts as an impenetrable wall against employment.
In a study done by the American Institute of Physics, one-third of its members who received their Ph.D. were unable to find permanent employment within the first year after graduation. Even in the long run, some Ph.D.s are not able to find employment. A small number of Ph.D.s looking for work are still not able to land a job after 10 years of effort. Even Ph.D.s in Computer Science face a difficult future. 6.1% of new computer science Ph.D.s can not find stable, full-time employment. The rate is significantly higher than the jobless rate for the entire American workforce.
Our society promotes education as the road to success. It is often reported that college educated workers make significantly more money than non-college educated -- referred to as an education "income gap." But has the effort of those going to college paid off? The income gap has been shrinking since 1989, not growing ... Further, the percentage of U.S. men holding B.A. degrees but earning poverty-level wages (about $13,000 per year) has doubled to 6%. A recent MacArthur Foundation study found that in Chicago, fully 9.2% of the working poor hold B.A.s. In January 2004 it was reported that there were more unemployed workers 25 years or older with college degrees than there were unemployed workers without high school diplomas. A college education does not automatically translate into higher levels of employment or greater financial prosperity.