Let me start by saying that I get it: the economy is bad and finding work can feel next to impossible, even if you have phenomenal experience, great academic credentials and have worked at some of the best firms in town. Having said that, I have to admit that I am little surprised at the lack of flexibility I am seeing in some of my candidates. The days of being recruited by firms and having multiple offers from which to choose is gone (that is not to say that it won't come back, but for now, it is a thing of the past). Jobs are few and far between, and firms can choose from the best of the best. One would think that in light of the small number of jobs out there as compared to the number of out-of-work attorneys, said out-of-work attorneys would not complain about a job offer that is less than "ideal." Apparently, this assumption is completely wrong.
Take a corporate associate with whom I am currently working. Nice individual, very smart, with great credentials. She was at the top of her game before the market crashed, but when it did, she was laid off by her AmLaw 10 firm. That was 10 months ago, and she is still not employed. Even so, it seems like every time I call her with an opportunity, something about the opportunity just isn't "right." The firm doesn't pay enough; it’s located in the suburbs rather than right downtown; the position is too focused on finance (an area she has experience in but does not particularly enjoy).
As I said above, I get it. It really sucks to be out of work, especially when you previously had an untarnished record of getting into the best schools and top law firms. But the fact remains that this economy does not support the "perfect job." Firms are going to pay less, and the jobs that exist are going to be otherwise flawed. But, that does not mean that you, Ms. Unemployed, should reject every opportunity that comes your way. We all have to make sacrifices, and if that means driving to the 'burbs or making 15% less than you would have back when salaries were inflated, then so be it. At least you will be employed, and I can almost guarantee that if you put up with some of the flaws of the job, when things improve, many of those flaws will disappear. Salaries will go up again, and more work will come through the door, thereby allowing you to choose projects that are a little more interesting to you. Hell, when times are good, some suburban firms might even open an office in the city, and if you have put in your time, you might be able to help establish the new office.
I guess what I am trying to say is suck it up while the economy still stinks, and as it improves, so will your job. That is, if you are willing to accept one that is not perfect.