Is it ok if I feel I have to do better than men at work?

Karen R Koenig

Not only is our physical and mental energy divided more than that of men, but we’re still trying to prove ourselves in the workplace. Would that it weren’t so, but it is. When the number of doctors, lawyers, corporate presidents, legislators, directors of boards, and heads of nations are equally balanced between men and women, we’ll know we’ve arrived and won’t have to keep busting our patoots to be perceived as merely keeping up. Until then, we’ll probably feel an inner pressure to measure up or excel. If you’ve chosen a profession in which sexism abounds (overtly or covertly), the need to be viewed as a peer with men is a reality and will likely add stress to your life.

However, be careful that trying to be as good as or better than the guys doesn’t translate into going overboard and killing yourself unnecessarily. If demands on you are so great that all you want to do is come home and dive into a Boston cream pie, you need to ask yourself if this is the right job - or career - for you. Some professions are intensely demanding no matter what gender you are, and are not for everyone. If you have trouble setting limits and feel compelled to overachieve, you’ll probably be drawn to these occupations, but that doesn’t mean they’re good for you or your relationship with food.

If you’re constantly trying to prove that you’re the best, nicest, most competent person in your workplace, watch out. Frankly, if you regularly find yourself trying to prove how good you are to anyone, something is very wrong. The only person whose approval you need is your own. Stressing yourself out to prove your worth to other people, along with wanting to be perfect, only keeps you in excess mode. If you can’t set and work toward realistic goals in your job, you may need to reflect on whether your standards (or company standards) are compromising your health. If eating is a reaction to overdoing on the job, it may be a signal not only that you need other ways to de-stress but that you also need to get out of a work situation that requires too much of you to live a healthy, normal life.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.