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Perfectionists are problematic

People often have the word ‘perfectionist’ written somewhere on their CV or may even use the term for the “What are your weaknesses?” question in an interview “I’m a perfectionist so when something isn’t executed in the way that I intended it to then this affects me immensely” – I myself am a culprit of this. But does being a perfectionist make you more employable or does it create more problems? People view being a perfectionist as a positive that increases the chances of success however the reality is it makes it harder to achieve goals which can then cause stress and anxiety.

The meaning of perfect in the dictionary is ‘as good as it is possible to be’ – but is that realistic? Surely this is insinuating that there’s no space to grow and evolve? Of course, being a perfectionist isn’t a completely negative attribute to have in your persona because it motivates over achievers to pursue high standards and new visions as there is no margin for error. There is a lot of talk about why being a perfectionist is good however there’s little talk about the damage of working with a control freak. Setting standards that are too high devalues the work because it may not meet the impossible standards that have been set. There are said to be three types of perfectionism self-oriented perfectionism is when individuals impose it on themselves, socially prescribed perfectionism is where individuals feel others expect them to be perfect and other oriented is when individuals impose impossible standards on others.. dance moms come to mind!

Signs of being a perfectionist

  • Not able to perform tasks if you are not certain they can be executed ‘perfectly’.
  • Focus on the end product rather than the process of learning and developing their skills.
  • Don’t see a task as completed until the end result is up to their own standards.
  • Procrastination – perfectionists may not want to begin a project until they know they can execute it ‘perfectly’.
  • Takes an excessive amount of time to complete a task that typically doesn’t take others as much time to complete.

Admittedly prior to researching around the deeper meaning as to why people are perfectionists, I assumed it was an attribute you aspire to have however from a psychologist’s point of view these are the real reasons as to why people want to be ‘perfect’:

  • Frequent fear of disapproval from others or an insecurity of being inadequate.
  • Mental health issues like anxiety or OCD. Whilst a correlation between OCD and perfectionism has been found, not all people with perfectionism will have OCD, and not all people with OCD are perfectionists.
  • Having a parent who have ‘perfectionist tendencies’ or expresses disapproval when their children’s efforts do not result in perfection. Some parents may encourage their child to succeed in every area or push perfection on them to an extent that can be considered abusive.
  • People who had a troubled attachment with parents when they were young may have trouble with self-soothing as adults. They may have trouble accepting a good outcome if it’s not ‘perfect’.
Setting yourself high standards can be great for challenging yourself however putting too much pressure on yourself to meet those standards can be detrimental. Learn from your mistakes and allow them to help you grow and develop into a resilient human being.

Written By Sophia Ghahramani

A post pandemic Millennial takeover?

As a millennial living through a pandemic aside from all the bad it has caused, one positive we can take away from these unprecedented times is that if not aware already – we are now better educated around politics, history, society and not to mention the media.

Shapes values but harms health

What better way to learn and educate ourselves around society and politics than witnessing how our government, parents, cities, employers and schools act during a worldwide crisis. Associate professor at USC states “Millennials and gen Z’ers are not usually mired in deep questions about religion, but now they are grappling with questions of meaning, morality and mortality in ways they never did before”. A recent survey published by Deloitte found despite the individual challenges and personal reasons for anxiety that millennials and Gen Z’s face, they’ve remained focused on larger societal issues, both pre and post pandemic. If anything, the pandemic has reinforced their desire to help drive positive change in their communities and around the world. Now, as millennials we continue to push for a world in which businesses and governments portray that same dedication to society, putting people ahead of profits and prioritizing environmental sustainability.


The world post pandemic

Undoubtebly, the world that follows will surely be different and likely more aligned with the prospects that millennials and Gen Z’s have expressed in this survey. As Millennials we’ve seen how quickly the earth can heal, how rapidly businesses can adapt, and how cooperative people can be. We know that a post-pandemic society can be better than the one that preceded it, and millennials are motivated enough to make this a reality.

An out of date education system

For me personally, prior to the pandemic I didn’t know a great deal around politics and the history of the UK which I’ve always been ashamed of. Now, after living through this pandemic it’s made me realise that the way we’re educated in school has a massive influence on the stereotype that the younger generations don’t know enough to for example vote.

For me, Maths was not one of my strongest subjects, however I can name a handful of times I’ve had to use algebra after leaving school, whilst it is useful – why is it compulsory? History is optional to take at GCSE level which arguably can be used more as a means of general knowledge and applying lessons we’ve learnt in the past to the present day. After students recently being let down by the education system, the people of the UK are owed an education system makeover.

I am by no means an expert in politics therefore I am not taking either left or right wings side, but what I am sure of is that an education system that is meant to set students up for the real world needs to be updated to fit with the ever changing times – just like people all around the world have during this pandemic. Nearly three-fourths in the Deloitte survey said the pandemic has made them more sympathetic toward others’ needs and that they intend to take actions to have a positive impact on their communities – are you creating the next political party to make a change for the better?

Written by Sophia Ghahramani

8 tips on how to ace your online interview

Even though many restrictions have been lifted since the beginning of the strict lockdown that hit the UK in March, interviews through systems such as Zoom and Microsoft teams are now the new normal, but just like not being prepped for a pandemic – we also haven’t been taught how to interview online. Here are 8 tips on how to ace your online interview:

  1. Standard rules apply

Ever been told to wear your shirt with no trousers in your interview? Or even on national television? (see picture below) Yeah me neither. Just like a normal interview dress to impress by being smart and professional. It may seem strange wearing your shoes in an interview where they can’t see your feet but the psychological affect this will have on you during your interview will help get you into the mindset you would in a face to face interview.

  1. Camera contact

Pre corona terms for this would be eye contact but in this case focusing on the camera rather than the screen is the closest you can get to giving the employer a taste of your personality. According to UCLA researcher Albert Mehrabian, 55% of messages processed by the brain are based on a persons body language which means your facial and eye movements are being judged perhaps even more than the skills that are written down on your CV.

2. Make a cheat sheet

Taking notes into a real- life interview would seem un natural and forced, but there is also a tone of un naturalness that comes with online interviews – so take advantage of the employer not being able to see what’s not on camera. You may be a recent graduate applying to be a PA in finance but have no idea what private equity is or a salesman that is nervous because he’s been ‘out of the game’-  be kind to yourself and stick some post it notes or sheets next to you on your desk.

  1. Get in the mood to talk

Remember the first time you conversed with people outside of your household after lockdown? You may have found it difficult to be your energetic, bubbly self because you’ve been cooped up indoors for so long. Going into an interview can be nerve wrecking in normal circumstances but I found at my interview for this  job even a conversation with the woman in reception calmed my nerves. Energy and enthusiasm are what employers will look for even more so in a virtual interview so do what gets you ready to show the best version of yourself – this may be doing a home workout or doing a group face time with family members.

  1. Practice makes perfect

Applications like Zoom allow you to record meetings, obviously you can’t predict what will be asked but usually a question comes up around describing yourself and your professional career so far which for me personally is arguably the most difficult question to answer, however according research conducted by this is the most popular question to be asked.

  1. Master your lighting

Getting the right lighting at home can be difficult but ideally you need to aim for as much light as possible. Try and get as much daylight as possible but if your house isn’t as light as it needs to be then maybe position two lights diagonally in front of you and if you have a white wall background – use it. Minimal distractions in the background are key because after all you are the star of the show.

  1. Ask for a suitable time

I’ve experienced first-hand through screening candidates with kids how distractions and noise can’t be helped whilst working from home. The interviewer understands that interruptions may occur due to the circumstances however it’s okay to pick a specific time where you know there will be minimal noise in the background.

  1. Show how you’ve adapted to the new normal

A question that’s likely to pop up is how you’ve spent your time in lockdown as the employer wants to see how you’ve been proactive. These aren’t questions that you’d usually prepare for so it’s essential you really take some thought into this. Just like a lot of interview questions, apply your answer to what they need and in response ask them how the organisation has dealt with the pandemic to get a picture of the remote working lifestyle.

8. Lastly, but definitely the most important – be yourself because there is no-one in the world like you.