She had attended an Ivy League school and was working as a management consultant for a top firm, stationed on a project in Malaysia. One morning, she woke up in her hotel room with exhaustion so deep that she no longer remembered who she was. Sam suddenly recognized the extent to which she had prioritized what she had thought was “that perfect job” above everything else and she started to cry.
Sam’s story represents everything that I was once scared of becoming. A straight-A student since childhood, student body president in high school, and a scholarship recipient at university, I completely understood that addiction to external validation. I knew that being an overachiever could be paradoxical: sensitive to the desire to please those yet sometimes unbelievably selfish in that quest to earn affection.
As the Education Director for Escape the City, an online platform for corporate professionals looking to ‘do something different’ with their careers, the official face of my role entails producing courses, events and e-guides for our 110,000 members. Unofficially, I use my personal experience as a recovering overachiever to play makeshift therapist, absorbing stories like Sam’s and refining my own understanding of the ‘quarter-life crisis’ of the twenty-something Type A personality. There are two books that I have personally found invaluable.
What makes the quarter-life crisis of the overachiever different is the extent to which they deeply struggle with embracing their own individuality, particularly when it comes to separating themselves from their parents. Any twenty-something knows on a rational level that they are far too old to actually place too much weight on Mum and Dad’s opinion, yet this specific confusion is an emotional minefield that I have seen countless members struggle with.
To continue reading, check out the original article here on the Huffington Post UK.
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