The Workaholic Overachieving Perfectionist

We all have different traits that make up our personality.  Some are negative.  Some are positive. Many linger in a gray zone in-between where too much of it turns it from a positive to a negative. The ones listed below are some that I struggle to keep in the positive zone.

Attention to detail=Perfectionist


Hard worker=Workaholic

Both of these can mean the same thing but the ones on the right tend to have negative connotations,for example, when I apply for a job I don’t say I’m a perfectionist I say I have an attention to detail.  It sounds nicer.  Perfectionist brings to mind someone obsessively trying to make everything exactly as it should be with little to no room for error…..that’s me.

I have relaxed some, learning to pick and choose my moments when my “attention to detail” is needed and when I can say, “It’s not perfect and that’s okay”  I realize sometimes I expend too much energy into creating the vision in my head instead of accepting what’s in front of me and recognizing everything doesn’t have to be perfect all the time.

I’m competitive.  I realized I might be overly competitive, perhaps going into that over-achiever side, when I was talking to my boss this week.  I volunteered to put together a bulletin board for the monthly topic.  Everyone grumbles about it but I love the creative aspect of the project and I expressed this to my boss.  She described a past employee who also enjoyed creating the boards, pointing out some of this employee’s boards that are still up in the building.  I said “I’ll have to check them out so I know what I need to beat”  She said “You don’t need to beat anything”  I said, “Of course not, ha ha ha” but in my mind I was thinking “My bulletin board will be the greatest decorated bulletin board this office has ever seen” *Insert maniacal laugh here*

I know some part of it is because I’m a new employee and feel like I have something to prove but it’s also just kind of how I’ve always been, wanting to be the best.  I also want to do everything I can to be part of the team.

I feel guilty working only 40 hours.  I feel guilty taking an hour lunch.  I feel guilty being the person leaving on time every night.  I feel guilty because I’m still learning at my job so I sometimes feel like I’m not pulling my weight.  I am a workaholic.

When I walk out the door at 5:00 and see people still at their desks I get a sinking feeling in my stomach like maybe I should still be at my desk but I’m learning to accept my workday ends at 5:00.  If I need to stay late, I will but if I don’t I go home and that’s okay.  I’m still learning my job.  Everything I do is a learning experience.  I’m working hard to learn everything I can but it takes time.  I’ve been there for a little over one month so the fact that I don’t know everything is OKAY (I put that in capital letters so it will hopefully sink in) and is expected.

It all ties together for me.  I get frustrated because I don’t know everything, so I mess up which drives the perfectionist in me crazy, and makes me realize I’m not the best at my job right now.  I keep reminding myself I’m new to this career and it will take time to learn so I’m trying to be patient (add impatient to my list of negative personality traits) but it’s not always easy.

I’m sure I will continue to struggle with these traits but I feel like recognizing them is a component to keeping them on the positive side of the spectrum, although I’m stick working on creating the best bulletin board ever 😉

One comment

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