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5 reasons why perfectionism is hurting your career

Perfectionism, i.e., the desire to perfect everything, is considered a positive quality. It is even used to answer the HR specialist’s tricky question, “What are your shortcomings?”. They say that I can’t stop, I strive to do everything perfectly. But in practice, this quality often becomes a flaw that hinders the company’s business and the person himself. But let the organization solve its problems, and we will talk about how it harms the career of an individual employee. In this article, an expert from an essay writing service free talks about his experience and why striving for perfection often gets in the way of coping with work.



What is bad perfectionism

  1. Increases stress levels

People who strive for perfection in everything it’s not that they live in a fairy-tale where such a result is given quickly. They are aware that the ideal is difficult to achieve and often impossible. With all the effort, it turns out to be very good and even brilliant. People around them may think that this is a possible maximum. But the perfectionist himself sees where it was worth more effort. Therefore, such people are characterized by high levels of stress and anxiety.

Sometimes stress can be helpful if it is short-term and makes you mobilize all your efforts to do something meaningful. But continued pressure has a detrimental effect on the psychological state of a person and can lead to burnout. And to strive for career heights in this position is very difficult.

And perfectionism also provokes impostor syndrome. This is the belief that a person is not as good as others think of him. He doesn’t believe he deserves his success. He feels that the deception is about to be exposed, and everyone will realize how he is. This also makes him constantly anxious.


  1. Reduces productivity

In the last paragraph, we talked about the perfectionist’s success. And due to this quality, a person always looks the best in the eyes of his superiors. But this is only sometimes the case.

It often happens that such a person, in an attempt to achieve perfection, spends much more time on tasks than they deserve. At the same time, colleagues who are easier to treat the results quickly bypass him regarding productivity.

The so-called Pareto’s Law works here – a rule named in honor of economist and sociologist Vilfredo Pareto. According to it, 20% of efforts give 80% of the result, and the remaining 80% provide only 20%. And if the task is accomplished by 80%, it is often enough. Something may change if you invest more effort, but not critically. Therefore, in the eyes of the bosses, perfectionists may not look responsible and purposeful but just slow.

In addition, a person who strives for the ideal is easily discouraged if faced with insoluble difficulties or realizes that the result will be imperfect. Even if it suits the people around him, for a person such a development is perceived as a failure. Therefore, the employee needs more motivation.


  1. Prevents development

Perfectionist strives for perfection, so he is characterized by fear of mistakes. This is logical: you can only achieve perfection if you do something right. Therefore, it is difficult for him to take on new tasks. After all, you have to explore the unfamiliar, and in the process, mistakes are inevitable. And even starting work after training can be difficult. The perfectionist feels that he does not know enough.

But you need to try new things to develop. It’s endless treading water.


  1. Interferes with teamwork

Often a person spreads his problem not only to himself but also to others. In his opinion, not only should he strive for perfection, but also his colleagues. And here, several options are possible. Someone will be responsible for these frivolous people and offer to make a million more corrections at three o’clock in the morning because it will be better. And someone will fall into arrogance because he is not like these lazy people. Neither makes a person a team favorite, so people may refrain from interacting with them.


  1. Creates problems with delegation

In some positions, survival’s only possible if you delegate responsibilities to subordinates, for example, or take on a project designed for a team. But the perfectionist often lives by the principle “if you want to do something well, do it yourself.” But there are still only seven 24-hour days in a week. And it is simply impossible to fit all the work into them. That’s why people either overwork or underwork. And this is the same stress, adding the probability that the task will not be completed on time.

why perfectionism is hurting your career

How to cope with perfectionism

There is no magic pill that will cure the desire for perfection forever. This is a work in which you must correct yourself and have serious conversations with yourself constantly. But there are some things you can try.


Recognize the problem

This is the first step. Say to yourself, “I’m a perfectionist.” It doesn’t make you worse or better. It was not formed in you by yourself but by the events of your life.


Understand why it is so essential for you to be perfect.

The easiest way to do this is with the help of a psychologist or therapist. But you can dig inside yourself and yourself. Being perfect is not only a goal but also a means. What do you get in this way? The answer will help you understand whether it is necessary to act within this pattern. Maybe you’re one of those kids who got a B on a test and heard: “Why isn’t it an A?” even though everyone else generally got F’s. And now, it’s time to deal with the inner critic who speaks with the voice of parents. You can work with negative attitudes too.


Reconsider your attitude toward mistakes

A mistake is not a failure or the collapse of a lifetime. It’s just something inevitable in gaining experience. For example, few people learn to ride a bike without falling. And that’s part of what ultimately made it possible to ride finally.


Learn to enjoy the process

Focusing on the perfect outcome gets in the way of enjoying what you’re doing. But any big undertaking is made up of small tasks.


Develop a different scale for evaluating the outcome

A perfectionist has two grades: the task is done perfectly or poorly. But here, talking about the gradient from nothing done to perfect is more correct. And here again, we remember Pareto’s law: 80% is often enough, and sometimes it is not required. The perfectionist sets a high bar for himself.

To evaluate the success of a task, you can rely on formal requirements or external evaluations. For example, a good media outlet usually has an editorial policy that allows you to evaluate a text. And the author can check whether the material complies with it. He also has an editor who gives feedback and points out flaws. In other spheres, this can be technical tasks, regulations, benchmarks, etc. Of course, a perfectionist will strive to do more. But just doing well is already a worthy result.


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