Hochbegabte Erwachsene im Berunfsleben

Highly gifted adults and career entry

Highly gifted adults entering professional life have special challenges…

Carina Clever, 25 years old and a highly gifted adult entering professional life, finally has her state bar exam and her first employment contract in her pocket and is looking forward to her new job.

Carina receives her first assignment immediately: proofreading an insurance contract that is supposed to be very demanding.

After 3 days, Carina is finished with the work. Her boss raises his eyebrows. “I have another contract for you… but please, don’t go so fast, you’ll raise the bar too high!”


How things develop for highly intelligent adults in the first few months

It’s easy to see how the first few months continue… namely, more of the same. And Carina, as a prototype for highly gifted adults, is increasingly annoyed, bored, feels listless, tired, and often reacts really aggressively when dealing with her boyfriend Claas (not his real name) and no longer understands herself and her world.

Claas notes: “You once took an IQ test as a kid, and it was over 130, wasn’t it? Such people are called ‘highly gifted adults’—and this boredom isn’t new to you; you felt the same all through school.”

A solution: coaching for highly gifted adults

Claas recommends that Carina contact a coach for highly gifted adults.

Her coach explains to Carina that highly gifted adults think faster and more interconnectedly than normally gifted people, and that they quickly experience boredom due to the low repetition loops in learning, especially when tasks turn out to be routine activities. Carina learns that “school” or “studying” or now the task at the law firm is not exactly “child’s play” per se, but that as a highly gifted adult, she perceives it that way only in relation to her own intellectual standards. Highly gifted adults penetrate a subject many times more quickly and they can’t do anything for it!

Carina and her coach for highly gifted adults work out a few possible solutions to the paucity of challenge she’s experiencing:

  1. Carina could speak privately with her boss and tell him that she can quickly learn new subjects without mentioning the word giftedness.
  2. Carina could also consider using this period of low work intensity to pursue a part-time doctorate, which usually takes between 1-2 years for highly gifted adults in law.
  3. Carina could ask her boss to allow her to work from home on certain days. Carina’s coach for high-ability adults explains to her that high-ability employees often choose this option because it allows them to get their work done during regular work hours (secretly quickly) and then use the remaining home office time unobtrusively for other interests.

Coaching for highly intelligent adults – the boss’s dilemma

Although she presents her request very diplomatically, the boss puts the brakes on. He can see that Carina is a clever and certainly highly gifted adult who’s finding it difficult to enter professional life. But as the boss, he has the dilemma of never being able to bring this up in front of other employees, because it would massively disturb the peace at work if Carina were to suddenly set new standards.

They could talk about the part-time doctorate and the home office, but it’s not going to mean any preferential treatment. Otherwise, he would prefer to place Carina with a professional lawyer friend, where the team is somewhat more dynamic.

Coaching for highly gifted adults: ideas for employees

Carina and her coach for highly gifted adults again work out a few possible solutions for dealing with skeptical colleagues:

  1. Carina could look specifically to her colleagues for their strengths and commonalities and then point them out admiringly (but this only makes sense if she actually sees any, otherwise it comes across rather sarcastically!), if necessary also show interest on a private level, e.g. that a colleague likes to go sailing or has a hobby similar to Carina’s.
  2. Carina could work much more slowly but go to the copier often, acting “very busy”
  3. Carina could also ask especially skeptical colleagues for advice (but this only works if the colleague actually knows more about the subject).

Highly gifted adults: the environment needs to be suitable

Highly gifted adults usually orient themselves elsewhere, where the overall structure fits better—best case where there are other highly gifted adults who are happy about a dynamic, highly gifted colleague.

Carina is not alone in her concerns. Many highly gifted adults experience comparable things in school, college, and even on the job, and many highly gifted adults are also permanently best off self-employed, or at least in a company that employs similarly talented people.

Many highly gifted adults like Carina would like to have an exchange on equal footing with other highly gifted people, and many bosses would like to have quick-thinking and talented employees like Carina. That’s exactly what CLEVER PEOPLE, the Community for Highly Gifted Adults, is for. If you meet the entry requirements with an IQ of 120+ and a constructive, appreciative attitude, you are welcome at CLEVER PEOPLE!


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