By Amy Goble
Relocating to Johannesburg and starting at Omnicor as the Industrial Psychology Intern for 2020 posed the beginning of an exciting new chapter in my young professional life. My background in Education spans the past five years and an opportunity to come into the consulting space, has been a personal goal and a privilege materialising. I was fully aware and signed-up for, a year of challenge and stretch assignments, all forcing me to work outside my comfort zone. If you’re anything like me you will relate, things like those pesky picture frames that are not straight enough and mistakes made that stay on an endless loop in your thoughts. This may mean you too are a perfectionist, defined as:
“A person who refuses to accept any standard short of perfection. In psychology, perfectionism is a personality trait characterized by “a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high performance standards, accompanied by overly critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations.” To a perfectionist, anything that’s less than perfect is unacceptable.” https://personalexcellence.co/blog/perfectionism/
I knew that in my new role these perfectionistic traits may play out in full force and potentially cause stress and rework, this during a year where much would be asked of me. A seemingly simple task appears much larger and demands much more time for a perfectionist. “Being good enough” as the end point for a task, is quickly followed by the internal critic’s voice “But is it really?”
The internal critic demands nothing less than an all knowingness of all things and failure never an option. As the fear of failure looms, so too arrives those scary feelings that being out of control bring- vulnerability and anxiety. Both felt strongly when making a mistake or trying to trust co-workers and especially, receiving feedback (feedback may seem very overly personal). Patterns of overcommitment, self-defeating thoughts or behaviours like procrastination may make it harder to achieve goals and cause unnecessary stress and anxiety, which I needed to manage.
First quarter down and it has been a journey to say the least: learning to navigate my way through so much newness, a new environment, establishing new working relationships, and performing in a new role. Although every journey has a couple of speed bumps along the way, I can confidently say the first three months have proved to be rewarding and engaging. I managed well, working within the OD and Assessment teams, my internship well underway, all the while I carefully kept my perfectionism in check.
And then came the Pandemic!
The unimaginable happened, COVID changed the world of work overnight, a new world that I had just started to understand! As the national lock-down was announced, I would have to start a new journey this time back to Durban to isolate with family and learn how to work remotely. The inner critic was triggered, unable to predict the future while managing all the change and then remote working too! How was an internship going to play out under these circumstances and how would I manage?
Look out for the next in this series to find out how Amy used her well established self-management skills and self-awareness to yet again adapt to a totally new set of expectations and challenges.