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The Problems With Perfectionism in a Career

Whether we’re in the process of looking for a new job or just trying to be the best at what we do daily in a career, having high expectations of oneself is a very healthy thing.

Perfectionism, on the other hand, can be dangerous.

Take job seekers. I’ve seen too many people expect themselves to have the perfect resume, be the perfect networker, interviewer, etc., and when they have trouble achieving perfection they end up taking on a defeatist attitude before things even get off the ground!

So what’s a perfectionist to do? This article I found over at bnet.com asks that very question, and came to some very helpful conclusions:

1. Allow yourself to be wrong in front of others. I think the key word here is “allow” – perfectionists usually don’t allow any slips at all!

2. Be a hard worker rather than a perfectionist. And yes, there is a difference.

3. Spend your energy making yourself likeable.

I recommend you read the article for more details on each of the above three action points.

How about you? Any perfectionists out there who care to share how they overcame their tendencies?

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • susan cook says:

    Boy I’m glad I checked out your blog. A dear friend of mine just pointed out how my focus on making the perfect, right irrecoverable activities in my business is keeping me spinning instead of moving forward. Spinning tops don’t make progress. Your article couldn’t have been more timely. Thanks, Susan

  • David says:

    Susan – so glad to hear this post helped you. It’s hard not trying to be perfect, but you’re right, overcoming perfectionism is a key to moving forward to career success!

  • I had a tendency to perfectionism.

    “Perfect” is a word which should take no modifiers. Something is either perfect or it not (as are the words “unique”, “pregnant” etc.).

    Once, when I was in charge of installing a large printing press, we had the manufacturer’s mechanic working on it. This was a precision machine and the alignment was critical – they used lasers).

    But what got my attention was the installer would repeatedly say, after making a final adjustment, “perfect enough”.

    At first, that annoyed me. But I soon realized, hey, this is the real world.



  • David says:

    “Perfect Enough” – a realistic phrase, indeed!