I worry about you. I worry about having someone like you trying to do this job, because you want everything to be perfect, and you’ll have to learn that it cannot always be.
I am not still sure if these were the exact words that I was one told, about taking a supervisor position at a previous school, but it comes pretty close. I know that she was right, though. Me being a perfectionist to the degree that I am, does cause me to maybe spend more time at work than I am meant to, it is very much a source of frustration when, papers, instructions or something else isn’t perfect and yeah I admit to having OCD in the way that I like thins to be symmetrical, straight and neat. But I think what people sometimes forget to think about, is that I am not only hard on other people, I am also extremely hard on myself.
I hold myself and my work to a very high standard, and sometimes in China, my Chines colleagues see me as going well above and beyond what is necessary. I used to oversee planning activities at a previous workplace, I used to get in constant arguments over trying to make things better, when my Chinese colleagues were trying to just barely meet expectations. And I get it, Chinese people work hard, they have long hours and high expectations and very often more than one “job” or responsibility to take care of, so they sometimes simply have to let go and just get it done. I just can’t, sometimes.
My parents raised me to think that, if someone is paying me to do a job, I should do it to the best of my abilities. Then, rather than trying to do too many things, focus on what you are doing, and do it well. I very often spent long hours designing PowerPoints, coming up with activities and games and still today working at New Oriental, I find myself spending more time than I should sometimes, planning a class, writing documentation, working on some little project and while it took a lot of effort, I am also convinced that it had a lot to do with where I am today. I live in a nice place, I have a decent salary, I am able to take care of myself living overseas. My colleagues have noticed that I do my best to get the job done and that, very often, I not only get the job done, but also exceed their expectations.
But that doesn’t mean I am perfect. I make mistakes, and I think that is all part of learning, growing and getting better. If you are always doing it right, you’re not challenging yourself and you’re not learning. Thankfully, I work in a place now where, when I do make mistakes, we try to look at what we can learn from the mistakes, how we can improve and move forward. I try to learn how I can get better, and I can feel that I am growing. It is a lot of work, but I believe it is worth it.
Being a perfectionist, doesn’t mean that I am perfect. But it means that I strive to be. I want to be perfect, I want to be perfect at my job, I want the perfect house. I’m pretty sure I have perfect friends and the perfect colleagues. My girlfriend is perfect, and while I may not have the perfect life (yet), I am moving in that direction. My zodiac is Virgo, and people can very often guess it right away when they meet me. I find it a little bit funny, but they also tell me that they can sense, how much effort I put into just about everything that I do. Because I want it to be the best that it can be!
Perfect isn’t always something you can achieve. Especially in China, but I think you can get close. So I aim for perfect, always. That way, when I have finished my work, I am always satisfied because I did it, to the best of my abilities and I got as close to perfect as I think I can.