There is no other time of year that makes people feel more worthless, slow and sloth-like than the New Year. Yes, you ate too much cheese in December. Yes, you went a little cra-zay with your credit card at Target. And yes, you spilled too much childhood angst at your family gathering and too much self-loathing to your 2 a.m. NY’s booty call.
And now, you think, it’s time to change all that. But, noble goal-setter, odds are that you will probably crumble back into your average too-many-nachos and karaoke lifestyle soon enough.
Do you ever read articles or books (yes–books! Those things longer than 50 pages and no pictures) about really ambitious and successful people? And how they got to be that way? When you read about someone functioning for years on three hours of sleep a night and masterminding a major company’s rise to dominance from the garage to exploiter of Chinese labor and pusher of cheap, disposable, worthless consumer goods that are choking the planet, does it gnaw at your very being and make you want to pull your own hair out? Well, let’s take a look at this guide, a supremely useless round-up of ultimately successful people, that will make you crawl back into that New Year’s Eve pile of puke you left outside that faux Irish pub’s alley. Hey…I think I found my I.D.
Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo: Unless you lived, breathed and masturbated to the goings-on in Silicon Valley, you’ve probably never heard of Marissa Mayer or attended one of her fancy dinner parties in her apartment in the Four Seasons San Fran. When the Titanic that is Yahoo announced that it was going with Mayer as its next CEO, the tech world was all a-Twitter. So young! So ambitious! Such a genius! Mayer, one of the first ones on board at Google, is a computer mastermind and is reportedly worth $300 million. Oh, and on the day she got her gig, she also announced that she was pregnant, and was basically like, “I will be back at work within a week or two!” At 37, Mayer is exactly my age, and the stats did not go unnoticed. I think it’s pretty awesome that more women are getting jobs in male-dominated fields, but that Superwoman-I-Can-Have-It-All-Shit can suck it, no matter who’s having the baby or sitting in the top spot (you fucking hear that, Kelly Ripa?). It basically makes the rest of us who want to have a life look bad. Or lazy. Or worse. And we already have enough stacked against us. However, this paragraph alone from a New York Magazine profile really hit it on home for me: Workaholic Marissa Mayer is the bitch you love to hate in your office. And you know it:
“Those who succeed under Mayer tend to share her cutthroat worldview: Winners win. ‘She will outwork you; she will outwork anybody,’ says Casey, a former professional cyclist who rode on U.S. Postal with Lance Armstrong and later worked with Mayer at Google for half a dozen years. Indeed, Mayer has said that she pulled 250 all-nighters in her first five years at Google, and has been dismissive of people who, as she puts it, ‘want eight hours of sleep a night, three meals a day.’ ”
As someone who does want three squares–no, fuck that, I eat six mini-meals throughout the day to keep my energy levels up–and at least nine hours of sleep a night (you heard me right), I can proudly say that I’ve never pulled an all-nighter for anyone. You want to know why? Because unless you’re working for yourself, when you let your job become your life, you are a fucking fool.
Hillary Clinton, Sorta Secretary of State, Former First Lady:
Oh, man, has Hillary Clinton has had a rough month. First the concussion, then a blood clot. Always the bridesmaid and never the bride, she has been run ragged during Obama’s first term. Ms. Clinton has “logged more than 400 travel days and nearly a million miles,” according to this piece in CNN. This isn’t the first time Ms. Clinton has run herself into the ground. During that whole first time around in the Oval Office, she admitted to sleeping three to four hours a night during the Lewinsky scandal. Granted, she’s had an incredible job to do–and she’s done it–but Ms. Clinton, please get some rest. We may need you to step up in 2016.
I was going to just do Barack, but fuck it, if I didn’t read that Michelle gets up at 4:30 a.m. to go work out with him before his day starts, she more than deserves to make this list, too. People look at the presidency and see a lot of things: honor, prestige, power. I just see a job that has to be a huge pain in the ass. Unless you’re George W. Bush, you pretty much don’t get to sleep in–ever. And when you’re not busy trying to negotiate with Boneheads, er, Boehner, you’ve got just a jillion other things to worry about. A super-overachiever, Barack’s mom used to get him up at 4 a.m. to study, or so he told us during his campaigning in 2008 and in his book, “Dreams of My Father.”
five days a week…[she] came into my room at four in the morning, force-fed me breakfast, and proceeded to teach me my English lessons for three hours before I left for school and she left for work. I offered stiff resistance to this regimen, but in response to every strategy I concocted…she would patiently repeat her most powerful defense: “This is no picnic for me either, buster.”
Somehow, amid Harvard Law Reviews and U of Chicago law school gigs, he still got in the cool, pot-smoking, Columbia student part. But the only way I want to still be up at 4 a.m. is if I’m getting ready for bed.
Lena Dunham, writer, director, actress, 20-something Voice of a Generation:
Ok, something tells me that Dunham gets her three squares and eight hours. She did a sorta interesting independent film that got her a sorta-interesting-yet-incredibly-indulgent-and-insulated TV program on HBO. Oh, and a $3.7 million book deal that pretty much sums up everything that is wrong with the book publishing industry. But, hey, yeah, if you measure success by TV shows and money, which we do here in America, then Ms. Dunham really kicked some Bushwick ass and became every Oberlin student’s wet dream. But before she counts her cash, she might want to think about what happened to that Prozac bitch.
EL James, author, Fifty Shades of Grey:
Do you feel awful yet? Welcome to average. It’s kind of not so bad.