Are you a perfectionist? You know, are you the type of person who seeks completeness and flawlessness in every project and every single task you do? Do you obsess about the smallest of details, often times to the point of exhaustion? And does that often lead you to miss important deadlines, because “good” is simply just not “good enough”, at least for you?
If you’re anything like me, then you’ll resonate with symptoms of what’s called perfectionism. Being a perfectionist at work and college is something I’ve been very proud of, despite not being fully aware of it. Everybody I came to deal with including my boss and colleagues was impressed by the level of sophistication and professionalism I’d go about completing my tasks.
This, of course, also had its toll on me most of time. Long working hours in the office (by choice) trying to get that deliverable up to my standards and still meeting that deadline was the norm for me.
Then a couple of days ago I came across an article that was like a revelation. It made me realize that now I’m at this point in my career life where I have to make serious changes to my work habits if I want to be an accomplished person. This post is me trying to analyze that change and hopefully helping fellow perfectionists along the way.
I’m pretty sure you are probably wondering now: why is being a perfectionist something you would want to change? How does it ruin one’s professional life? Doesn’t it make you, I don’t know.. better than the others?
If you think about it (or have experienced it yourself) then you’d probably agree with me on this: perfectionism can get in the way of accomplishment. Well, at least a certain kind of perfectionism.
In this life, there’s always the good and the bad, and when something good turn into a bad one, it’s because someone’s abused it.
Perfectionism works along the same lines. When abused, it turns into neurotic perfectionism. You’d know that kind when you notice:
A common mistake people make is to associate any kind of perfectionism with neurotic perfectionism. As you’ll see later on, there’s a healthy kind of perfectionism that I think we all should strive to embody.
Think about this: which one of the following two (hypothetical) people is more likely to get hired in, say, a high-profile fortune 500 company:
Any experienced hiring manager should be able to spot the clear sign of difference in perfectionism during the interview. But which one would he pick? Surely that depends on many other factors, including the manager’s past experiences with perfectionists.
But let’s say the manager’s given a third choice. All of the sudden, a third person named Reedeala pops in. The manager, still not decided who to go with, gives this guy a shot at an interview. After all, his CV looks quite interesting.
Reedeala‘s work speaks for itself. His 4 year experience working for 2 high-profile companies and helping them deliver .NET-based solutions to the market is impressive. He considers himself “a go-getter with attention to details”. His work is often praised for promptness and completeness. His previous managers speak well of his professional attitutde towards business.
As you can see, Reedeala carries the best qualities of Niddeala and Reehsab (hence his weird name).
So what am I getting at?
No, not that kind of dream.
It just means: Reedeala’ is getting the job.
The reason is quite obvious, and it’s really the point I’d like to make in this post:
The world is now looking for the best people who can accomplish their jobs and still manage to deliver quality results. Those people are capable of spending just the right amount of time and energy on every task at hand in order to produce their best possible work in the shortest amount of time, or for meeting deadlines.
The world isn’t looking for perfectionists who abuse the time they’re given for each task trying to satisfy their desire for attention by worrying about smallest of irrelevant details and things that are just nice to have.
And just as much, the world isn’t looking for uninspired, unmotivated people who just want to get by.
The world is looking for.. accomplished perfectionists!
In the next post, we will dig deep to find out exactly what makes an accomplished perfectionist, which is the term I’m using to describe the person who gets the job done with a higher than ordinary level of perfectionism.
Back when I was in school, we were taught this little ditty: Good, better, best, never let it rest, ’till your good is better, and your better is best.
But my experiences so far have forced me to pose this question: is “the best” always better than “good” and “better”?
In other words, there’s a line that we always have to draw somewhere between excelling at our jobs and going over the line to becoming neurotic perfectionists.
See you next time!