Career Choices for Perfectionists and People-Pleasers

Here’s a post from soberrecovery.com with respect to careers chosen by “fixers” and “enablers.” This is a hot topic for me. As a person in recovery, I have a tendency to resent those in my life who have tried to “fix” me or tell me who I am and what I need before I’ve had a chance to figure that out for myself. I used to work as an assistant many years ago and it was not a good fit for me as I attempted to become healthy and grow in to the person the Universe had in mind for me to be. It hurt my soul to have a job where my work involved trying to assist people and support people who really didn’t want to behave like adults. Let me see if I can articulate my feelings here. So, when I was emotionally sick, I had very little identity apart from perfectionism and people-pleasing. Perfectionism and people-pleasing are perfect when you are a secretary, because perfectionism and people-pleasing are “rewarded,” for lack of a better term in this particular career. The problem is that when you are a sick person and you struggle with boundaries, you tend to get caught up in other people’s drama. For example, if you are a secretary and you support an executive with poor work habits, it is the perfect “sick” opportunity to use your perfectionism and people-pleasing to “help” the executive or try to “fix” the executive. And because the executive is also emotionally sick, the secretary will never succeed at truly helping or fixing this person. The scenario feeds the illness of both participants in this sick game.

Therefore, as I worked diligently to recover from perfectionism and people-pleasing, my career choice of being a secretary became increasingly troublesome to me. My career choice did not fit with my recovery and my desire to become a more healthy person. Although it was extremely uncomfortable and agonizing to try to get myself unstuck, it was well worth the hard work.

Please weigh in on this in the comments below. Here is the excerpt from soberrecovery.com. I’d love to hear your thoughts:

It has been observed many times that people with codependent tendencies gravitate toward “helping” professions such as nurse, counselor, social worker, life coach, etc.

While never really being attracted to “people-helping” jobs, I can say for sure that my “fixing” desires have definitely helped steer my career choices. I believe that one of the primary reasons I chose a career in IT is because of the rush I get when I fix something. Just yesterday, there was a problem with a hardware component that three different people tried to solve. After all three had given it a shot and then shrugged their shoulders and said it can’t be fixed, I stepped in. After considering the problem from many angles, and taking into consideration the steps that had already been tried by others, I managed to solve the problem. And it felt really good.

To me, this is an example of taking a trait that can be detrimental (like never giving up on fixing another person) and channeling it into a positive and productive trait (finding a solution to something others could not).

I’m interested in hearing about other’s professional/career choices which have allowed you to use traits that may be negative in regards to a relationship with an A, but turn out to be positive in an occupation.

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2 thoughts on “Career Choices for Perfectionists and People-Pleasers

  1. life is bello says:

    My people pleasing and codependent traits has probably caused me the most problems in past relationships (very insecure, needy men) but it has spilled over into work, too. I’m now trying to transition into a different line of work altogether but I was in admin for 10 years and I have had times of giving myself emmense stress because when other people have done a shoddy job or just not given a sh*t I felt a responsibility to sort the problem out or fix it, usually without a thank you (I ended up with psoriasis because of the pressure I was putting myself under). Now I’m trying to get into working with animals and at the moment I’m volunteering with rescue dogs so lots of patients and understanding is needed. Some of them have emotional and behavioural problems that was caused by being badly treated by people and they don’t know any different so they need lots of care and ‘picking up after’. I’ve not been doing it long so I’m yet to see how my personality traits help/hinder this kind of work but I imagine they are of some use

    Like

    • Julie Butler says:

      I think it is wonderful that you are using your tendency toward codependency to provide comfort and care to these helpless creatures. This looks like a win/win combination! I know the work must be challenging at times, but I would guess you are blessed by it immensely. You are having an eternal effect on things! Bravo! I hope you continue to enjoy your work with these “babies.” (My family and I have two cats – ages eight and six. We have a running joke that all animals are babies because when we see animals we always say something like, “Look at this sweet baby!”) Cheers, Elena!

      Liked by 1 person

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