Why it hurts to be average

July 12, 2017

This is something I have been thinking about a lot lately and in hindsight I could have done things better. I went through most of my life thinking that it is perfectly fine just trying to beat the average. But in fact being above average is as good as being below average, it doesn’t really give the any benefit. The only way to actually gain something is of you are a so to say a star.


In every company people can be divided by their performance, let 10% are the visible low performers, 10% are the star employees and the remaining 80% is the average in between. Every company has their rules how much you earn, usually based on years of experience. The time ticks the same for everyone, whether you are a dedicated above average performer or more of a bare minimum performer barely affects the outcome. Being average means no will notice the difference between maybe you who is spending 40h + overtime to be above average and someone who is putting in 30h and just slacking rest of the time. In the end you are bound by the same rules in the eyes or HR and managers. The only one who get special treatment are the star employees. Because they get noticed, they can bypass the rules and for them exceptions are made. Being above average or hard working won’t get you anything more.

Maybe everyone can be a star and should strive to be the best and become the top 10%. But I urge everyone to look around and you will realize that you would need to be visibly greater than the 9 out of colleagues. That is easier said than done, and requires a lot of dedication and time, naturally talented or not. The 50h won’t be enough if you lack the talent, you might need 60h or more. You would need to be married to your job. So everyone needs to decide this for themselves. If it fits their life goals and if this is what they want. And if you are not prepared to work to become the star then consider if it is worth to put in the over hours or just call it a day early and focus on other things. Because you probably won’t be rewarded for it anyway.