Playing by the rules

by Parvez Sheik Fareed

When I was a kid I read a lot of John Grisham novels. First I read “The Firm”. After “The Firm” I read “A Time to Kill”. It was then when I knew I wanted to become a lawyer. I was fascinated by the fact that each lawyer would present the alleged circumstances differently in the interest of their client. The truth was hardly ever evident and clear. It consisted of two sides and both made sense.

By the age of 20 I went to uni to study law. After 4 semesters I took the first round of exams. I barely passed. A couple of semesters later I took the final exams. I scored below the required points. I had to take the exams a second time. It was my last chance. Failing again would result in having no law degree after all. Again I barely passed. I finally obtained my law degree.

In order to practise law you need to be admitted to the bar. To be admitted to the bar you need to take the bar exam. To be admitted to the bar exam requires having worked as a trainee at a law firm or a court. That was the next challenge I was facing.

Law firms and courts would only be hiring graduates that scored good marks. If you didn’t score good marks you would need connections to get a job. If you had neither the chances of getting hired as a trainee were pretty small. On paper my marks labelled me as stupid because they were not good at all. Nevertheless I applied for several trainee positions during a period of 12 months.

After 12 months I gave up the idea of becoming a lawyer and started looking for other available options. Eventually I landed a job in a company through a friend of mine who was working there. The job was in the compliance department. After 3 years I left the company because I wanted to do something else.

Looking back made me realise that playing by the rules is a nice trait. But it doesn’t really get you far. If I had to start over again I would forge my certificate. Then I’d apply for a job as a trainee. Then I would make sure I’d be doing a hell of a job. After a while I would reveal that I did forge my certificate just to get in. Just to point out that bad marks don’t mean you’re stupid. Because if you were stupid how could you objectively explain that connections eliminate stupidity? And how is it possible that you can do a good job although your marks state you are stupid?

The rules become obsolete by an exception that is not linked to the rules in any way.  The same length is being measured by using two entirely different tapes.

So why shouldn’t I come up with a third tape I created?