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Are you in Burnout? 10 Important Questions and Answers

Adult giftedness and job dissatisfaction

Characteristics of adult giftedness include tenacity, self-discipline and the ability to focus for extended periods of time. Some gifted adults demonstrate these characteristics by earning demanding university degrees and holding job titles that are the envy of others. Others found themselves bored at school and couldn’t, or chose not to, pursue higher education. Still others took promising jobs but find themselves bored with their work anyway.

No matter how they have arrived at the same point, many gifted adults find themselves dissatisfied with their jobs because their jobs don’t provide them with sufficient challenge on a day-to-day basis.

Gifted adults typically need to work at about 10% above their current skill level in order to feel engaged in their work. This process of engagement is called “flow.”

While in flow, people often lose track of time because they are deeply engrossed in the task at hand. They feel challenged and must concentrate fully to master the task. They can derive great satisfaction as a result.

Read more about flow and relaxation.

If there is no challenge to the work a gifted adult performs then the pleasurable aspects do not show up as frequently or as easily as when challenges are present. Job dissatisfaction is especially difficult for a gifted adult to handle because gifted adults aren’t content to just mark time.

If a gifted adult is too challenged by their work, which happens less frequently, the gifted adult is often able to break the project down into bite-size tasks that they are then better able to tackle.

If you a gifted adult, and dissatisfied with your job, ask yourself when the last time was that you felt really challenged by your work. If you can’t remember the last time, perhaps it’s time to pitch a challenging idea to your boss. If this isn’t possible, then you might consider changing jobs. If you work for yourself, maybe your business has reached a level of maturity that has become boring, and it may be time to take your company in a new direction again, just for the flow of it.

Read more about other problems that gifted adults encounter in the workplace and whether gifted adults are prone to workplace burnout.

Dr. Patricia Turner, Registered Psychologist, Calgary, Alberta

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