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Question of the Week

Were You a Jock Star or a Cool Kid? Has It Helped You Get Ahead?

Posted Nov 3, 2010 12:01 PM CDT
By Sarah Mui

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Last week, we noted a column by Andrews Kurth partner Kathleen Wu discussing how, at large law firms, anyway, high school cliques seem to persist.

“Jocks, cheerleaders, nerds, bullies and drama geeks—firms have them all. They just wear nicer clothes now,” she says. “They're the ones who do Starbucks runs together, hang out after work and take cool group vacations. They somehow find the time to lunch together every day, regardless of how much work they have."

And while Wu says popularity means nothing if your work can't stand on its own, she pointed out in her Texas Lawyer column that a little swagger, whatever its source, can go a long way. "Confidence plus competence equals clients," she writes "And, for lawyers, clients are the social capital that keeps on giving."

Vivia Chen has observed at Careerist that being an athlete—or at least a sports fan—gets one "special passes" at law firms. "I do remember, from my law firm days, a former varsity football player getting plum assignments and lots of client exposure, even though he had failed the bar three times," Chen wrote.

This made us wonder...

Were you a jock star or a cool kid in high school or college? Or not exactly? What about now? Do you or others you work with who have athletic prowess or ease in social situations also have a quiet confidence that helps professionally? Do you or co-workers with sports accomplishments, etc., get special attention from supervisors or clients? Or do you think success ultimately comes down to work product, with personalities (or faces) meaning little?

Answer in the comments.

Read the answers to last week's question: What’s the Most Bizarre Excuse You’ve Used/Heard to Call in Sick?

Featured answer:

Posted by J.L.: "I was on a two-week vacation to Belize, and a barracuda attacked me while snorkeling two days before my flight home. I had to call in and tell the office I would be out for another week off because I couldn’t walk or drive. Thinking it might sound a little fishy, I sent a picture of the wound and island stitches as proof."

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