By Phil Riske | Senior Reporter/Writer
hen I was in high school, my dad told me he didn’t care what career I chose, “just try to be the best.”
When I didn’t try or fell short of best, I paid psychological and physical prices.
I was reminded of all that reading the story of Peter Zimmerman. Peter was a promising lawyer working more than 60 hours a week for 20 years, ever since he started law school and worked his way into a partnership in an intellectual property practice in a prominent law firm based in Silicon Valley.
High-tech and Silicon Valley are bastions of having to be the best — an industry and location that can grind its workers into a pulp.
Peter was found dead of a drug overdose by his former wife.
CBS News reported last year grueling work hours trigger spike in suicides by Japanese employees.
“An alarming rise in suicide among overworked employees has finally forced the government to limit overtime. But the proposed new ceiling on overtime is so high — 100 hours per month — critics say it still won’t protect workers,” CBS reported
Death by overwork is so common in Japan, it has a name: karoshi.
Obsession with No. 1
We are obsessed with best.
Best Buy. Best Foods.
Surveys to find Best Cities to Retire in, Best Pizza Joints, Best Places to Adopt Spider Monkeys.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like to play second violin. What would America be if it weren’t considered the best nation? It’s all a matter, however, of what is the cost in the quest of best?
As a nation, we are best only after spending lives and treasure. But the expenses tied to being best were and are approved ahead of time.
So, there are choices.
In the end, we can debate what is best, what success is and what standards can be applied.
Standards do matter.
When a baseball player averages one hit for every three times he’s at the plate, he’s among the best hitters.
Given the difficulty of getting a base hit and the complexity of meeting today’s challenges, one out of three might be the best way to look at things.