The OverAchievers and Bitterness
one of the most under-rated movies of all time is Election.
if you haven't seen it, it stars Reese Witherspoon as one
of those annoying over-achieving, everything must be perfect
high school students and matthew broderick at the mediocre,
lackluster teacher who is quite embittered.
if you don't like the reese witherspoon character in that
movie, please, do not go to law school. they comprise 90%
of law school. just the other day, one of my legal interns
asked me to act as a "fake judge" for the moot court
competition. now, you take the top 10% of asshole, type-A,
cut-throat, over-achieving motherfuckers in law school and
place them all in one room and you get the moot court.
to be honest with you, i have nothing against these people,
so long as they leave me alone. truth is, they are quite
miserable. so there i was, a mock judge. the bailiff
opened the door for me and muttered under her breath: "they
are really high-strung right now, i'm so glad you're finally
here." (i was 5 mins late because i rushed over from work).
i sat down and was presented with 4 of the highest strung
individuals i'd ever seen.
they were so nervous and crazed in their zeal for perfection
that they sounded like robots do in those old movies where
they go haywire just before they die. they were talking a
thousand miles a minute, forgot to ask the court's (i.e. my)
permission to do things, and were so dead-set focused on
doing everything right that they did everything wrong.
at the end, i gave them their evaluations. told them they
did great (they did do great!) but that they just needed to
calm down. at this, they all chuckled. they knew, but i
was serious...calm the fuck down, you're only doing yourself
a disservice. more nervous chuckling...they weren't about
to calm down anytime soon.
fast forward to yesterday. i was at a half-day business
attorney networking seminar. some of my fellow graduates
were hosting it (the quintessential overachiever thing to
do). there they were, high-strung, like cracked-out
chipmunks. i spoke with them as their eyes flitted
nervously around the room. they hadn't changed. they were
still living the life of stress, terror at imperfection, and
overall slave to what they thought others thought they
shoudl be like.
but now...hadn't they made it? didn't they have the cushy
big firm job? why are they still so high-strung? what is
the point? and there it was...they will always be like this
because that's how they are. they didn't seem happy by
their achievements only worried about how they could screw
it all up...what a life.
but i am not bitter with THEM. they deserved everything
they got. they worked hard, made themselves miserable and
earned every bit of it. unlike matthew broderick in
Election i harbor no resentment or ill-will.
i save that for people like douchebag turdburger (not his
real name). a few months back i interviewed for this
position for in-house counsel. as juliann so awesomelly
reminded me last night in the car (which only pissed me off
even mroe) they didn't wnat to hire me because they were
looking for someone "long-term" and, as i had my own firm,
they felt i couldn't offer that commitment. i am about 99%
certain that was just a kind way of saying "we don't like
you get bent," or at least i really hope so, because if that
was truly their logic i would lose it.
getting side tracked. so they picked someone else, but not
until yesterday's event did i figure out who it was. it was
douchebag turdburger. this guy is the biggest A-hole. lazy
to a T (worked in one of the few "group projects" we had in
law school with him). always acting like he was god's gift
to lawyering even though he didn't know shit.
but what he could do, and what i'm sure he did, was talk the
big talk. if you didn't know him and you listened to him,
you'd think you were stupid not to hire him. so how i can i
really blame that company? but he is an asshole. he thinks
he's better than everybody else with his condescending
aires. and what i ahte most of all is that i know i am
smarter, more competent, and just a better person than this
but he got the job. not only that, but this guy i've been
talking with about maybe partnering with is working two jobs
and has 1 baby and another coming. he's a genuinely great
guy (god i sound like i want to date him!), kind, smart and
just overall person who is thoughtful and inquisitive. not
some asshole who jumps to conclusions and looks like a
there is no justice in this world. we'd like to believe
that the world rights itself somehow, but it doesn't.
people like douchebag turdburger get the cushy jobs because
they are effective at pulling the wool over people's eyes.
and hey, if that's what it takes, and he knows how to play
the game, maybe i shouldn't be so bitter at my own lack of
skills. but i can't, i am only human and i am so embittered
that someone who worked so little and cared so little got
this great job on the cuff of him acting like a grandiose
hopefully the world will right itself. hopefully i will
partner with this guy who works hard and is nice and our
firm will rise and prosper while douchebag turdburger
crashes and burns in an environment he probably can't
handle. but the chance of the world righting itself like
that is about as likely as one of those overachievers
sitting back and sipping a margarita on a sunny beach.