Thursday, 31 January 2008
The Mousetrap Of Cockiness
By Lia of the Yum Yum Café blog
Years and years ago, I used to collect stories of embarrassment and mortification from friends and family. Over a decade or two, I collected these pearls of narration. I thought I might write down some of these stories, names and places changed of course, and share them with you.
Jared just finished taking his final law exams. He and all the other hundreds, or is it thousands, of graduating law students are scrambling desperately to find jobs. Months go by after graduation and no one seems to be getting any good job offers. Well, that is, none other than those with connections (e.g. daddy is a partner at a well-known practice) are working. Some of the brightest, cockiest, most ambitious graduates knuckled down under the pressures to pay off their school loans and took on boring government positions.
Jared gets an interview for a junior position at one of the most dynamic law practices in Toronto. The four young (mid-forties) partners are practicing criminal law and they’ve been fishing in one sensational case after the other. Not a week goes by without one of their clients’ cases hitting front-page news. These guys are mavericks and the cases they get are as tricky to handle as drawing a straight line through an Escher drawing. And here, Jared lands an interview to work for them. He’s the envy of his graduating class.
And the interview goes like a dream. Intelligent questions, even more intelligent answers, wit, irony, quick repartee back and forth between the partner who is giving the interview and Jared. The job is in Jared’s back pocket. He’s already envisioning what type of car he’ll drive, what condominium he’ll buy, where he will spend his next vacation.
Finally, the partner winds down the interview by asking Jared where he sees himself in twenty years time. Jared replies, “Opening a small shoelace factory on some South Sea island and watching the sun set every evening”. All the animation drains out of the interviewer’s face and with a cold stone expression, he replies, “Wouldn’t we all? Wouldn’t we f***ing all.”
And with that, the interview is over. The job opportunity lost. What Jared forgot in his cockiness was that the person sitting across from him at the interview, the partner of the law firm he dreamed of working for, was himself (Jared) in twenty years time. Someone who works eighty-hour weeks, never goes on vacation, hustles like a shark to get the best cases, has already been divorced twice, is childless, and has more money than he knows what to do with, but no friends that he can trust implicitly.