The Loneliness of the High-Distance Achiever

David Brooks of The New York Times really captured something in today’s column that I was thinking about as well, which was of the sadness of Judge Sotomayor’s life and how it was similar to many of the more recent high achievers. No marriage, no children, little home life. I think this applies particularly strongly to high achieving women, but also to men as well. I’ve noticed more and more that both men and women now almost seem to have to make a choice: you can be a high achieving, high ambition person, or you can get married and have children. You no longer can do both. I’m overstating it to be sure, but I have married friends here in New York that are at the top of their profession, and being childless seems like a career decision with them. At some point, they had to choose. I think Brooks is onto something that we’ve purified our meritocracy so much that we’ve started to become specialized, like insects.