Some of you may recognize the following thoughts: ‘I checked this paper for grammar mistakes ten times already but I’m going to do it once again, just to be sure’, ‘if I’m not being liked by all of my colleagues, I’m probably just not likeable’, ‘I need to flawlessly prepare this PowerPoint presentation, otherwise I won’t be able to ever forgive myself’. I myself have these negative thoughts as well every now and then.
Of course everyone pushes themselves to achieve particular goals at some point in their lives; however, people who suffer from perfectionism are taking this a little bit too far. Especially people who suffer from perfectionism strive for unrealistic excellence and therefore setting the bar too high. In this way, perfectionist employees have a chance to become workaholics followed by several adverse effects on wellbeing. How can we prevent this from happening?
During my internship I’m going to examine this issue in great depth, aimed specifically at my own target group: Young Professionals. Apparently we are most at risk for developing perfectionism at work because our generation is experiencing a constant pressure to excel in everything we do. If we do not impose perfectionism on ourselves, others will do this for us instead.
You can already find some ways to keep perfectionism at work at an acceptable level in the article ‘’Are you a perfectionist? It could be harming your work’’ on the following website: www.theyoungprofessionalgroup.com. An example of a measure that is mentioned is to introduce time limits to the work you have to do every day. At the end of my internship my goal is to give Young Professionals (and thereby myself) a lot more of these do’s and don’ts. It’s about time we really try to prevent new employees from becoming susceptible to burn-out, a common consequence of perfectionism. Because if this is already going on at the beginning of our careers, then I don’t want to think about what the future will hold. The time to take action is now.
Kim de Jong, intern Digne Consult