When Being Too Fast and Efficient Goes Wrong

Things can go haywire when you're too quick with the draw

(Image: Thinkstock)

So you’re that employee who not only excels at the tasks they do, but you finish in record time. You’re on to the next deadline before the previous even came, and your peers and boss see you as the go-to person to get the job done in a jiffy.

You’re running the best race and you usually come out the winner. Well, sometimes, this isn’t a good thing. Writer Kelly Gurnett explores the efficiency trap, and how being too quick with the draw can be a major disadvantage. She writes:

At face value, this is a nice compliment to receive. But the way it was said perplexed me. Why were people so surprised? Were other workers taking much longer to do these tasks—and if so, did that mean I was missing some obvious step? The projects had seemed pretty straightforward to me. Did my bosses think I’d sped through the work to get it over with, probably making a ton of mistakes?

Would it look better if I worked slower?

Instead of being flattering, this reaction was extremely frustrating—like handing in a school project you spent all weekend perfecting, only to have your teacher say, “This looks a little too good, Jimmy. Are you sure your mom didn’t help with some of this?”

The longer I’ve been in the rat race, however, I’ve come to realize how to really parse the “That was fast!” reaction:

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