Pressure for perfection at work

If you don’t like reading a bit of “woe is me” go read about Castro or something. The rest of you, just try not to roll your eyes.


I’m frustrated with work. Well, mostly with my performance at work. I just don’t feel “good enough”. Every day is filled with deflating moments. One thing’s for sure, this job is great for forced humility. If my pride so much as shows its pinky finger, it gets swiftly slammed in the door of reality. I’m sure this is good for me in terms of character growth in the long run, but today I just can’t help but take things personally. Okay, fine, every day I can’t help but take things personally. But far be it from me to wimp out and want everyone being super-diplomatic around me just because I take criticism and correction to heart. I need to toughen up; I know.

I might not be so-and-so-who-used-to-do-this-channel-perfectly. I’m who you’re stuck with for now and I work hard to get things done. I’m sorry if I disappoint you. Truly, I am. I take it very seriously, so you don’t need to say anything about it. Honest. Don’t. Say. Anything. It’s enough just to know I missed up.

Maybe it’s the way my mind works, but I can’t seem to keep so many balls in the air at once as are required of me. Tiny details get missed that later turn into larger problems once I learn about them (always from someone else, which is thoroughly embarrassing). It’s that moment—having someone remind me of something I already know how to do—that really rattles me. I feel like I need to explain myself, or prove to them that yes, I actually do have a brain and no, I’m not totally incompetent.

I might just feel this way because the feedback I get falls into one of two themes: “Wow, you did this perfectly, just as I wanted!” or “Woah, you messed up. How did that happen? OMG FIX THIS NOW!” When you’re graded on a “pass/fail” standard, no one notices the in between moments. No one notices when things are just humming along going well. Feedback is most often a mention of the out-of-the-ordinary. Should it be different? Well I suppose it would be a lot to ask for someone to know all I do in my job and notice when things just “work”. I don’t really need a change, but I think the “pass/fail” pressure has just worn me down somewhat over time.

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