{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "How can I become more “okay” with being an average performer? I’m two years out of school and have been considered a high performer so far, but it’s taken a toll on my mental health and I feel anxious most days. I’ve realized that the cost of being a high performer outweighs the benefits, and am trying to loosen up and be more comfortable with coasting on occasion... I’m what people may consider an insecure overachiever. Has anybody here ever had the same feeling?", "post_id": "5ee92a15c75f7400210ca9a6", "reply_count": 14, "vote_count": 19, "bowl_id": "552d1d24dc1c586b09d2d051", "bowl_name": "Consulting" }

How can I become more “okay” with being an average performer? I’m two years out of school and have been considered a high performer so far, but it’s taken a toll on my mental health and I feel anxious most days. I’ve realized that the cost of being a high performer outweighs the benefits, and am trying to loosen up and be more comfortable with coasting on occasion... I’m what people may consider an insecure overachiever. Has anybody here ever had the same feeling?

likehelpfulfunny
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My personal belief is that you should work smart, not hard. Consulting tends to draw in the insecure people pleasers (as you mention) who will do whatever LT asks. Hard as it may be, try to find appropriate places to push back, use your experience as a high achiever to know what really matters, and what does not. Accept that an upset LT member may be a consequence. Realize that respect from the LT may be a reward. Better than working yourself to death for years to come

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Think your analysis/realization is your answer

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Do you care that you’re a high performer? Or do you care that others care about who high performers are? If you’re able to separate the two, they are distinct, you can focus on things that you care about that qualify as high performing (for you). Firms feed on people who want to be and be known as high performers (I’m guilty). Look at yourself beyond just work and set other goals for yourself that you hold yourself accountable for. Could be work out x times a week or meet up with friends once a week or read for x minutes a day. When you have goals and things that you care about outside of work you tend to place less emphasis on work to fit in other things that you value. It’s not easy and understand that firms are built to have peers compete with each other.

likeupliftingsmart

You can also set goals for yourself at work that are independent of what the firm would value. A new service / industry you want to try but a partner warns you against it because they (probably selfishly) don’t see the value or the growth for you? If you want to do it, do it for yourself and don’t worry if you don’t get a glowing review or you step away from a client and someone else joins in your place. When you take yourself out of the peer-to-peer grading system (i.e. not apples to apples project experience with your peers) it’s easier for you stop comparing yourself to your peers and judge the merits of your actual experiences.

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Welcome to the club. They actively recruit us.

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No one is talking about this but being considered a “high performer” early in tenure at most firms creates a bias and may belie future designations as being high potential/top performer, regardless of actual results. This obviously may not hold true when you start getting revenue targets but from Analyst -> Manager, two consecutive years of top performer, tends to solidify your standing, which allows you to slack off a bit after the initial grind.

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This is a valid point. I used my “high performer” standing to say no to projects I didn’t want to work on. Didn’t always work but it worked a lot of the time.

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Yes. Exiting to industry where norms are different can be immensely helpful. I had a hard time figuring out a solution that worked for me in consulting.

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Think about it this way, if you over deliver, you are giving out “free money”. Unless there is a real reason, you should be not. Because you won’t blow money unwisely right?

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Care less. You’re probably harder on yourself than your managers are. What you think isn’t good enough might be just fine.

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Stop caring. It is hard. I have trouble too. I tell myself I don't give a shit about this job then I'm working on a deck at 11pm. Idk

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As long as you're not fired or laid off, you're good

Please understand your Strengths and pivot to roles/ careers that play to your strengths. You will naturally happy when you are doing what you are good at. Takes some time and experimenting. 2 books that will help you: Design your life and Strengthsfinder.

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