1. Ignoring bodily signs such as hunger, fatigue, and a protruding bladder just until you can finish this last little part.
2. Applying to things. Overachievers love applying to things — things they are qualified for, things they are overqualified for, and even things where they have absolutely zero experience. But no worries! Overachievers are superheroes who can do any task better than it has ever been done before.
3. Being the teacher’s pet. Sending emails to the professor about how excited you are about the first reading for the term and it’s the middle of May and class doesn’t start until October and the professor is drinking a martini on a beach in the Caribbean.
4. Unpaid Internships. The overachiever has completed like at least 25 unpaid internships.
5. Goals. Overachieving is like eating: you get hungry and then you eat really fast so you get full and stay satiated but then, ugh oh, you’re hungry again. Goals work the same way for the overachiever. Identify this one goal and FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS, reach a peak, move on.
7. Degrees. Overachievers love getting as many degrees as possible, preferably from several different universities, each one more prestigious than the last.
8. Insisting everybody’s doing their job wrong. No matter what it is — group work, teaching a class, writing a paper or organizing the closet as an unpaid intern at a fashion magazine — the overachiever, in all of their expertise, is uniquely positioned to tell you and your co-workers that you’re just not doing it right.
9. Founding things. We live in a challenging world, but thank goodness we have overachievers who are naturally able to assess and analyze the problems of the world. Once he figures out what’s wrong, the blessed overachiever, at last, saves the day by starting charities, foundations, schools, organizations, and businesses that nobody has ever been brilliant enough to imagine.
11. Adrenaline rushes. There’s nothing like working on a project and feeling your interior juices boiling to push you forward. Why sit around when there are things that need to be done!
12. The Container Store. An unorganized overachiever does not really represent the team well now does he?
14. Working out. There’s a difference between going to the gym because it’s nice to feel healthy and to be attractive and all that and going because you’re AN OVERACHIEVING FITNESS LUNATIC.
15. Resumes. The overachiever’s resume will be a minimum of five to ten pages long in the smallest legal font. A resume is like an orgasm for the overachiever — if that lowly plebeian feeling is something they even bother with. The resume is the spot where they get to shine. “Hey look, Prospective Employer, not only did I graduate Harvard at the top of my class but I had 52 internships, founded an orphanage in Somalia, ran 10 marathons, wrote a best-selling novel in Russian, a language I recently learned, all while working in the local soup kitchen and maintaining a 4.0.”
16. Writing a 10-page paper when the directions call for 4 pages. More is always better, right?
17. Acting like the boss. Everybody has had the experience of doing an internship with or having a co-worker who is steady acting like they are the boss. Trollop until your name is on the front of the building I do not answer to you!
18. Awards. Overachievers love getting awards because it’s just another thing to put on the resume.
19. Business cards.
20. Humblebragging. Overachievers can’t admit to their overachieving ways. No no no. Plus you can’t pick them out in a crowd because they look exactly like regular people. It’s only when you talk to them that they oh-so-casually insert all of the fabulous things they’ve done and all the people they know and how much more accomplished they are than the rest of us lazy people.