Jewish Journal

The Guilt of Success

by Beit T'shuvah

August 22, 2013 | 10:18 am

By Nicole Goodman

“Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Grossman are proud to announce the arrival of their son, Dr. Jonathan Grossman.”

Even before we, as Jews, learned to speak we were pressured by our parents and the Jewish community to be successful. The success is usually defined as a doctor, lawyer, investment banker, accountant, consultant, producer, agent, or politician. With these jobs being set as standards in a household, kids are pressured to do their absolute best from the first day of school. Kids and their parents will stop at nothing to be sure they have the best scores on the SAT, ACT, AP tests, GRE, LSAT, GMAT, MCAT, etc. Kids are trained to put everything they have into these exams because the theory is those scores will make or break their chance of success. This is a concept that pushes the abilities of kids to be the best students they can be. But when does it get to be too much? Getting into the best college is hard enough as it is, but what happens after graduation when it is time to build a career? What are the lengths it takes to be successful today even after graduating from The Deans List at an Ivy League?

With many people struggling to find jobs after college, the competition has become so extreme that people will cross completely new boundaries for a chance to become successful. Take the financial world for instance. During college many young Jews decide they want the high power, intense job of working as a banker. If they have the chance of getting a job or internship they find out that the competition is so high that they are worked liked slaves, working an average of 15 hours days and they cannot do a single thing about it. If they complain, they’ll get fired and the firm will bring the next desperate Jew around.  Just this week there was a student from Michigan University who was working at a Bank of America’s London office. This student probably spent his whole life working hard to nail an internship like this. The pressure to be successful ended up taking his life. His extreme workdays took a huge toll on him and he ended up being found in his shower, dead, at 21 years old. In today’s society it is a brutal battlefield for a chance at success. But how hard will you push your body and mind to overcome your Jewish guilt? I believe life is a balance. Working hard and being motivated are extremely important but learning how to balance school, work, fun, friends, family, etc. is the most important job we have.

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