Working Ahead!!

Just a very quick post from Cannon Beach in Oregon to point out an article I just read about Gifted Adults that I think resonates with many of the issues affecting rebels. I came across the article when I was reflecting on how I at least became a rebel. One of the conclusions I drew was that once I became an adult and reached the work environment, the qualities that had served me so well during university were actually not so popular in the work environment. For example, being inquisitive was highly useful in college but not so useful when I started work, particularly if the "thing" I was being inquisitive about was the logic behind certain work practices. Wondering if this experience was common, I started searching for information on "loners at work" or "intelligent people at work" which is how I came across this interesting article about Counseling Gifted Adults by Paula Prober. I bet most of us resist the label of "gifted" but several sentences resonated so strongly with many of the experiences rebels have already documented. For example:

We associate giftedness in adults with high levels of achievement. But it is not that simple. In fact, the gifted person is as likely to be the high school rebel as she is the valedictorian, the CEO, or the Nobel prize winner. (my italics)

Does that sound familiar? Or the description of typical traits of gifted adults:

Complex analytical mind, rapid speech, advanced empathy, quirky sense of humor, and perfectionism.

Do these remarks resemble you?

But what really sold it for me was when I read the description provided by the gifted adult Susan of her early educational adventures:

Susan said she recalled being thrilled about starting school but very quickly feeling deeply disappointed. In second grade, for example, she completed an entire reading workbook in one night. With enthusiasm, she showed her teacher the next day and was reprimanded for working ahead.

The phrase "Working Ahead" hit me like one of Proust's Madeleines. I hadn't heard that phrase in almost 50 years, probably, but I suddenly remembered it as one of the constant refrains of my childhood. Don't Work Ahead!! Don't Read Ahead!!

And so, of course, that's what many corporate rebels do. They work ahead. They can't help it, or at least they can't control it until they become painfully aware of its impact at the workplace and on their own careers.

The article cites as a principal reference the book The Gifted Adult by Mary-Elaine Jacobsen which I will order and scour for other relevant content. In the meantime Keep Working Ahead!.