Cover art for podcast Women at Work

Women at Work

40 EpisodesProduced by Harvard Business ReviewWebsite

Women face gender discrimination throughout our careers. It doesn't have to derail our ambitions — but how do we prepare to deal with it? There's no workplace orientation session about narrowing the wage gap, standing up to interrupting male colleagues, or taking on many other issues we encounter at… read more

36:59

Perfect Is the Enemy

If you’ve worked your way up in a competitive field — or are anxious by nature — you may have perfectionist tendencies. Maybe you’re a hard-driving, obsessive worker who thinks a task is never quite done. Or maybe you’re avoidant, struggling to start a project because you want it to be done just right.

We all know society holds women to a higher standard than men and rewards us for not making mistakes. But internalizing other people’s expectations — or what we think they expect — will only burn us out. To keep rising in our careers, we need to get in tune with our own standards for what’s a good, or good enough, job.

It is possible to keep our perfectionist tendencies under control. We talk through tactics with Alice Boyes, a former clinical psychologist turned writer and author.

Our HBR reading list:

How Perfectionists Can Get Out of Their Own Way,” by Alice Boyes

How to Focus on What’s Important, Not Just What’s Urgent,” by Alice Boyes

How to Collaborate with a Perfectionist,” by Alice Boyes

Perfectionism Is Increasing, and That’s Not Good News,” by Thomas Curran and Andrew P. Hill

Get the discussion guide for this episode on our website: hbr.org/podcasts/women-at-work

Fill out our survey about workplace experiences.

Email us: womenatwork@hbr.org

Our theme music is Matt Hill’s “City In Motion,” provided by Audio Network.

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