Underachieving in Careers?

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by Jarrett, Jan 26, 2015.

  1. Jarrett

    Jarrett Member

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    Quick definition for underachiever for clarity sake:

    - someone (such as a student or athlete) who does not perform as well or work as hard as he or she can

    - one (as a student) that fails to attain a predicted level of achievement or does not do as well as expected

    - a person (as a student) who fails to achieve his or her potential or does not do as well as expected

    I'm curious what this slice of the populous thinks about the concept of underachieving in ones career.

    What do you think about it?

    How big of a deal is it to you?
     
  2. Doodad

    Doodad Member

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    I know my coworker has taken underachievement to a state of the art.
     
  3. Schroedinger

    Schroedinger Member

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    90% of all people believe themselves to be above-average drivers. I think the same ratio probably applies to career achievement.
     
  4. A-Bone

    A-Bone Montonero, MOY, Multitudes Gold Supporting Member

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    Indeed.
     
  5. Echoes

    Echoes Senior Member

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    not meeting 'basic performance standards' = underachieving.
     
  6. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    I guess it depends upon what the end goal of the person is?

    Maybe they feel that other things are more important?

    It's like the old saw about the CEO on vacation who sees a fisherman catch a fish, cook and eat it, and then sleep under a tree.

    He wants to help him buy a boat, get other fisherman to work for him, etc., w/the end result being that he can retire, eat a fish and sleep under a tree.

    The fisherman asks him why would he go through all that, he's doing it now?
     
  7. Pat Healy

    Pat Healy Member

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    Underachieving is underperforming relative to one's potential. A student of below average intelligence who works hard and earns a 3.5 GPA may be an overachiever. A brilliant kid who slacks and gets that same 3.5 is an underachiever. Same holds true in the workplace.

    That example has to do with work ethic, but there can be other factors like a self-defeating mindset. For example, Billy Beane admits that he underachieved in his career as a pro baseball player; despite being gifted physically, he couldn't figure out the mental part of the game.
     
  8. stratovarius

    stratovarius Supporting Member

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    If I wasn't an underachiever, I wouldn't be working where I am.
     
  9. A-Bone

    A-Bone Montonero, MOY, Multitudes Gold Supporting Member

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    Is it? That sounds like something else. Underachievement has typically stood for the admittedly more abstract notion of an individual not working or performing to the best of his or her individual potential. Someone not meeting basic performance standards in a given job could still be working to the best of their ability, so they could be failing to meet basic performance standards without underachieving.
     
  10. zekmoe

    zekmoe Member

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    The holy grail of underachievers in careers exists in NYS. State agency IT workers. You'd have to experience it to believe it.
     
  11. fetishfrog

    fetishfrog Member

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    Pretty much.

    I could pull 18 hour days if I wanted to. The opportunity is certainly there. I'd rather pull 8 and hang with my kids.
     
  12. Whiskeyrebel

    Whiskeyrebel Member

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    About a year into my first job as an engineer, a plant manager told me I have management potential. At the time it seemed like I was doing nothing but managing and no engineering. A year later I changed jobs to a company that had its engineers do their own design work. That's the niche I've stuck with since, for the subsequent 18 years.

    Every year my boss has asked me if I'm really sure that I'm satisfied being an engineer and I assure him I am. I've seen him slog through meetings and light up when he gets to participate in the technical aspects of design.

    I have contemporaries who have taken other tracks and are higher up their respective charts. Does that make me an underacheiver? It depends on your perspective I guess. I don't seem to have whatever factor would make me willing to give up doing tasks that I enjoy for the sake of moving up the ladder.
     
  13. pfflam

    pfflam Silver Supporting Member

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    mostly 'underachieving' is a way of feeling better despite reality



    reference the Dunning-Krugger effect


    Its hard but part of growing older is recognizing that where you are is who you are - and 'maybe I'm not the genius I thought I was'
     
  14. AZChilicat

    AZChilicat Member

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    I could take a higher paying job that would require working harder, more business travel, more stress and I'm still going to be dead in 50 years at the max. However, my current life, both in terms of relationships and lifestyle, far exceeds anything I envisioned the day I graduated high school.

    If this is under-achieving I'm very proud to be a slacker.
     
  15. XKnight

    XKnight Member

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    I'm sure some of my peers consider me to be an underachiever since throughout my career I have been asked repeatedly to put in for higher level management jobs and the expectation has always been that I was destined to move up the career ladder. That being said, I made a conscious choice many years ago not to advance any higher in my career because it would require significant sacrifices for me and my family that I'm just not willing to make. For instance, in order for me to promote beyond my current position I would be required to move my family and take on more responsibility and more stress and that is something I'm simply not willing to do. So, perhaps I'm seen as an underachiever by some of my peers and I have no issues with that. My families happiness and my sanity are more important to me than the next promotion.
     
  16. hellbender

    hellbender Member

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    I always question the metrics used to arrive at such a ridiculous and highly capricious pronouncement about another's "worth". They always tend to speak more to the strengths of those who facilitate the test than a more even handed approach.
     
  17. Echoes

    Echoes Senior Member

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    Well, from the employer/organization's perspective the employee is unproductive and 'not achieving basic performance standards'. From the employee's perspective it might be all she's got but not good enough for that particular organization....or just not a good fit for that particular job.

    I think this thread seems to want to get at: people who are under-employed and stay that way.
     

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