Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Perfectionism?

From my post on Encouragement, semifreddo left me a comment with a link to an article on perfectionism. I have to say, that was somewhat insightful. I know I have a tendency to have much higher standards for myself than others, and I know I can be a perfectionist. What startled me was that someone reading my writing could tell that so easily.

I'm a smart person. I was the top score for the entrance exams for my private high school. I had great SAT and SAT II scores. I have a slew of comments on my report cards that say I'm clever, creative, and original. I won prizes and citations for my work. In college, I made the faculty honors list. My thesis won a named prize in History. Professors told me I was smart and a good writer. In graduate school, I finished with a 4.0 average. I have a paper from my student development class that I saved because the last page says "A--best in the class".

Sometimes my perfectionism has gotten me in trouble. I think part of why my last job didn't work out was that I outperformed some people, and that made them uncomfortable. (My greatest takeaway from the job is that I can't be an assistant anymore.)

One thing I'm working on as I read books about improving work performance and try to focus on finding a job is to not let perfectionism get in my way. The cover letter I wrote last week, it wasn't perfect, but somehow I liked it. It was original, and not "perfect." I am human, after all.

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