The Deep Dark Secret of the Overachiever

Friday 15 Oct 2004

Recently, I was doing Google searches on people who used to work with me, and I tracked down one former co-worker. She is currently in the process of getting a doctorate in computer science from a major IT-oriented university, while also teaching, doing research, and being involved in numerous programs that have gained her great popularity and recognition. Her list of accomplishments is impressive and I have no doubt that she will go places and make millions.

Unfortunately, I remember other things she did while working in my department a decade ago, things that weren't so glamorous:

She moved on to work in two more companies, then began the process of pursuing her higher education, earning a Masters and then a PhD while also working part-time. And, as I said, she's now a rising star and a golden child, all before the age of 30. On paper, she's a god, the kind of person that everyone would want to know, work with, or hire.

Yet nobody she currently associates with will ever know that she was rude, standoffish, scheming, backstabbing, and self-serving in the short time I had the displeasure of knowing her ten years ago.

My point is this: being a successful overachiever doesn't automatically make you a good person.