You know the type. That one girl in class who doesn't just take pages and pages of notes (by itself exhausting to watch), but uses three different colors of pen. The housemate who, when putting away leftovers, uses Ziplock bags of varying size and thickness, even noting the contents in marker on that little white square on the bag. (I dump leftovers in a garbage bag and wedge them the back of the fridge; this makes them easier to throw out, since they're technically already in the garbage). The friend who not only reads the assembly instructions when putting something together, but later keeps it, in alphabetical order, on a shelf labeled "Manuals".
People, in other words, whose sole reason for existing is to make you feel like an ambitionless mouth-breather. These are over-achievers.
I found it easy enough to ignore them during the school year (at least until I needed to borrow their notes). Over-achievers only really grated at my soul after summer vacation, when I'd hear about the impossibly kick-ass internship they'd had while I'd been deep-frying various nugget-shaped objects for six bucks an hour.
"You worked on the new Half-Life game?" I'd ask incredulously. You absolute cock-smoking bastard? I'd add silently.
"Valve was at the job fair last spring," they'd explain.
"There's a fair for jobs now?" I'd ask incredulously, wondering how balloons and trapeze acts fit into this. Listening to them describe their awesome jobs fueled me with pure, undiluted jealousy for the rest of the semester. When the next job fair came to campus, I was there.
I've always hated job interviews. The over-achiever thrives on them, of course. I knew one who actually booked interviews for jobs she didn't even want, just to "" as she put it "" "stay sharp." Tell me you could hear someone say that and not want to just slap them forever.
Conversely, I've always seen interviews as a necessary evil "" a brief period of unpleasantness where I'll be forced to wear an unstained shirt and get a complete stranger to believe the outlandish, bald-faced lies coming out of my mouth. I have to lie. I can't imagine any prospective employers being impressed with the truth.
"What are your goals?" Not sorting your mail for free all summer sounds nice. Can I have some money?
"Describe your dream job." Well, see, Batman's a martial arts expert and a detective"
"What excites you most about this opportunity?" The fact that you might give it to me.
"What do you see as your biggest weakness?" I'm passive-aggressive and commitment-phobic. And drunk. Oh, and I steal office supplies.
"Where do you see yourself at this company in five years?" In a just world? Firing you, honestly.
These answers might be helpful in an introspective sense, but they aren't going to land you a summer job at Valve. This required Plan B: shoveling as much sunshine-flavored rainbow dribble as I could directly up the assholes of prospective employers. What excited me most about this opportunity? Gosh, what didn't excite me. The chance for advancement! The opportunity to expand my skills in a nurturing and fast-paced environment! The color of the doorknobs! Your tie, sir!
"I see," the interviewer'd say, scratching something on a pad. After witnessing this a dozen times, I wanted to grab their notepads just to see if I'd find what I thought I would:
1.) Ask applicant about career goals.
2.) Nod pleasantly until he says "nurturing environment."
3.) Check this box and then scribble something below it.
5.) Draw a pirate!
Maybe job fair interviewers can sense forced enthusiasm, like a deer senses predators. Or maybe, despite my clever disguise, I smelled enough like deep-fryer oil and failure to give myself away as a comic book-reading, apathetic functional alcoholic. Whatever the reason, the cool job fair guys saw through me like a glass ceiling; the next summer, I was right back in the kitchen of a fast food restaurant making six bucks an hour.
I told myself that I was simply too much of a renegade to chain myself to a desk job all summer. But that was horseshit. The truth was that I was borderline retarded and had the attention span of a pigeon. If I wasn't able to grasp something in twenty minutes, my brain officially labeled it not worth grasping in the first place, and I moved onto the next thing, invariably .jpgs of breasts.
That summer, I switched to Plan C and started buying lottery tickets. If I couldn't be an over-achiever, I'd at least work towards a far less noble, but infinitely more rewarding character type: the guy who throws money at obstacles, making them instantly disappear.