How to Do Great Work Without Being an Overachiever

How to Do Great Work Without Being an Overachiever

Human resources professionals and business leaders generally view the term overachiever as unfavorable.

This post will discuss the basics of “overachieving” by employees who strive for high professional goals by pushing work to the limit. We’ll discuss what an overachiever is, the downside, and how to maintain a good balance of effort, ability, and productivity at work.

So what is an overachiever in workplace terms?

We found a succinct definition on Wikipedia:

In the workplace context, individuals who are deemed to be overachievers are those with the drive to complete tasks above and beyond expectations and who set very high career goals for themselves. The opposite term is an underachiever.

While that may sound like an honorable, rewarding, and worthwhile mindset, there is a downside.

The downside of artificial overachievement.

Sometimes in our professional lives, we are called to go above and beyond the normal call of duty. We’ve all been there, and we’ve responded to that call. Afterward, there seems to be an inevitable feeling of accomplishment and esprit de corps. After all, there is great satisfaction in a job well done.

A problem arises when you strive to go way above and beyond on every task, every time. Your admirable and lofty goals become onerous and even unreachable. You can end up working extra hours to attain goals that don’t benefit the team and only accentuate your self-imposed, personal sense of accomplishment.

At this point, your goals are becoming counterproductive to your team and your boss. You’re probably also becoming anxious and exhausted at this point. It’s time to slow down a bit. So, where do you go from here?

It’s time to stay on task but not be over-tasked!

We should all do our work with quality and timeliness top of mind. But we need to temper our efforts and adapt to the task at hand.

Have confidence in your boss and team to set tasks and milestones that will optimize team performance, and stick to those goals. If you feel you’re capable of giving more effort, it’s best to approach your team lead privately. The important thing is to not get out over your skis on every task or project. And that includes job hunting.


Engage with an experienced recruiter that knows you, your employment objectives, and the hiring companies in your space.

The 619 recruiting team will help you stay motivated, take the time to get to know your career objectives, keep you off of the job board treadmill, keep track of your follow-ups, and help you network. That’s what we do, and we’re really good at it! Call us today at (866) TEAM 619, or get in touch online. Our expert recruiters are waiting for your call.