The “Decade from Hell” that wasn’t…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jan 4, 2010 in Randomness

Happy New Year from law:/dev/null! :D

First, an aside to give a big *THANK YOU* to all of you who take time out of your day to stop by :) Somehow, despite my sporadic posting schedule over winter break, I still have regular visitors — and it makes me smile. A lot. And I’m normally not the smiling type ;) So thank you :)


2010 is finally here, which to hear folks tell it is either a good thing or A Good Thingâ„¢ depending on your perspective. Since apparently 2009 was a horrible year that ended a horrible decade and whatnot.

Time Magazine Cover on the "Decade from Hell"

Time's cover for the so-called "Decade from Hell"

Don’t believe me? A few weeks ago Time Magazine even went through the trouble of writing this article about “The Decade from Hell” to explain it to you, so surely it must be true.

What’s that, you say? You missed that particular article? Me too. In my case it was intentional, since I realized a few years back — during the 00’s coincidentally — that Time had long since turned into a publication worth far less than its cover price, stuffed with stories based on laughable premises like this one.  For all the complaints about the 00’s, I suspect decades like the 1930’s / 60’s / 70’s would beat it on the “this decade sucked” scale, especially if you happened to be something other than a relatively prosperous / white / straight / Christian male ;)


In my case I’d have to say the past decade turned out pretty well. It had its low points just like everything else in life, but considering where I’m at now obviously it turned out for the best :)

Let’s do a quick recap (inspired by this post at oh hay, it’s kk):

2000 – Get pulled off the ballot for Student Senate President at N.C. State, forced to drop out of college and give up my job with Apple Computer, and start loading trucks at UPS to pay bills. But prior to leaving NCSU, get appointed a Student Senator by the guy who won SSP, and then elected President Pro Tempore. Spend the rest of the year mentoring future student leaders with QuietStorm. Also get my first apartment.

2001 – Get my first decently-paying job as a file clerk at a law firm, then get promoted to a litigation assistant. Was sitting at my desk working on pleadings and listening to K97.5 when the news of the September 11th attacks came across the radio. Spend the rest of the day glued to the television.

2002 – Laid off from the law firm job in February when the economy tanked. But get hired weeks later by the North Carolina State Bar, and promoted twice in ten months. Several of the candidates I helped also win the November 2002 elections.

2003 – Voluntarily take a $10K/yr pay cut and leave the State Bar to serve as the first Director of Special Projects for the Wake County Clerk of Court’s Office. Ridiculously high-stress job, but have carte blanche to fix a lot of nettlesome problems around the courthouse and enjoy the responsibility. Also become the youngest elected Vice Chairman of the Wake County Republican Party.

2004 – Grow disillusioned with the WakeGOP, particularly its hostility to homosexuals. Decide to voice my opinion in the newspaper on the opening day of the State Convention; told to resign from the courthouse job by the (elected) Clerk of Superior Court soon thereafter as a result. Spend the rest of the year helping elect Richard Burr to the U.S. Senate and Richard Stevens to the N.C. Senate. Then snag a decently-paid paralegal position with a local law firm.

2005 – Voted out of the WakeGOP at its County Convention in March. Law firm dissolves due to disagreements among the partners; officially decide I dislike BigLaw. Convince N.C. State to let me come back to school. Become one of the youngest lobbyists in North Carolina a couple months later. Make Dean’s List for the first — and only — time in my college career.

2006 – Lose my race for a Student Senate seat… to a guy who didn’t even campaign. Get appointed to a vacancy by the Student Senate President, then made Chairman of the Appropriations Committee when the original Chairman resigns; spend the year remaking the appropriations process and writing legislation like I have nothing better to do with my time. Keep lobbying, and pick up a side job teaching Intro to Java to freshman.

An anonymous campaign poster from my SSP race

2007 – With 61% of the vote and 4 days on the ballot, win campus-wide election to become the oldest Student Senate President in N.C. State history after one of the craziest elections of all time — the same race where I was removed from the ballot at the start of the decade. Campaign becomes material for at least 3 different courses, including on campaigning, advertising, and the computer ethics of using Facebook for opposition research. Pay off my remaining ~$15K debt to N.C. State; give up lobbying to focus on Student Government. Unilaterally implement first ever student fee referenda.

2008 – Decide to postpone graduation to finish my minors in political science and economics. Lead a welltelevised silent sit-in at the February UNC Board of Governors meeting opposing tuition hikes. Earn the highest job approval rating of the 4 highest Student Body Officers, and get re-elected Student Senate President with 89% of the vote. A month later, win election as President of the statewide Association of Student Governments by a 1-vote margin. Finish the calendar year with the Student Senate all over local media again, and a revitalized UNCASG setting a 4-year attendance record.

2009 – N.C. State’s Student Government gets a 66%+ favorable approval rating when measured by the Poli Sci and Stats Departments. Retire as Student Senate President; protégé wins election as my successor. Unanimously re-elected to a 2nd term as President of UNCASG. Graduate with a BS in Computer Science and minors in both Economics and Political Science. Start my 1L year as a Legal Eagle at NCCU Law.

And start law:/dev/null :D


It’s been quite a ride. I’ve moved about a dozen times. I’ve made thousands of dollars in salary; paid thousands more in taxes, rent, car payments, tuition. I’ve met hundreds of people, including some who (hopefully) will be friends for the rest of my life. The list goes on.

Looking back it almost doesn’t feel like it took 10 years to get here. If the next 10 turn out even remotely as well, things are going to be pretty good :D

That’s enough reminiscing from me, I’m off to bed. Good night everybody! :)

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