Overachievers: Can You Hurt Your Career?

Overachievers exist everywhere.

They are usually Type A people who usually can’t say no to anything.overachievers

Their résumés read like a novel, and they usually exude boundless energy as they immediately raise their hand to volunteer.  A lot.

These people are usually in a very involved role in their work, but what makes them overachieve is when they also take on other roles for volunteer organizations outside of the office that end up demanding a huge amount of time as well.

As a career management coach, I very much advocate for people to be involved outside the 4 walls of their cube or office.

It’s a great way to build powerful network connections and for people to get to know how you work, which can help refer job opportunities your way in the future.

But things can get pretty hairy quickly when the overachiever takes on more than they can bite.

Here are some signs that it is time that overachievers need to tone it down:

  1. You get stressed out. It’s not easy being everything to everyone, and it causes a lot of stress to keep having to keep all of these balls up in the air. Stress is a byproduct of being considered one of the overachievers, and while some people can handle it well, others do not. Be aware of where you fall in that category.
  2. You don’t have any time for yourself in order to recharge. You’ll find that time is being spent on all the projects and as your energy wears down, you start to feel worn out and possibly resentful for taking so much on. You need your recharge time so you can do what you do best! Work life balance is a must.
  3. You make mistakes. Being tired and distracted means you are not doing the best job possible and errors tend to happen in this matrix. And that does not bode well for your career.
  4. You end up being a mile wide and an inch deep. Stretching oneself too thin is something that overachievers struggle with. If you aren’t doing anything particularly well, it’s time to snap back into what you do excel in so you can perform at your best.
  5. If you are too good at what you do, it can cause resentment among colleagues and peers. If your name is constantly being mentioned in staff meetings and you are the one person who usually gets all the awards, it might be time to back it off a bit. You’ve arrived, you’ve done good, and now it is time to step back so others have an opportunity to be noticed too.
  6. You get distracted / conflicted about what is important. Competing priorities will tug at you every which way and sometimes, you can decide that the wrong thing takes precedence. It is sometimes very difficult for overachievers to really see the big picture when a million things are demanding their attention.

If you fall under the description of the overachievers category, it’s time to take a breath, reset, and re-prioritize.

And chances are if you are at this point in your career, you’ve already proven yourself anyway. So be kinder to yourself.

Your stress level and career will thank you.