3 Things That Only Frustrate Highly Intelligent People At Work

Navigating the workplace can be full of complications.

coworkers in a meeting Jacob Lund / Shutterstock

Navigating workplace relationships sometimes feels like you’re walking through a dense forest without a guide: You know where you need to go, but you’re not quite sure what path to take.

People with certain personality types might find socializing at work more difficult than others do. For example, introverts or people who are neurodivergent might find the interpersonal aspects of the workplace extra taxing, especially when they’re trying to focus on completing important tasks.


Katerina Esko, a professional coach who works with highly intelligent people, sheds light on the different ways those individuals interact with their co-workers.

There are 3 things that frustrate highly intelligent people at work:

1. Pointless conversations

“Highly intelligent individuals are typically very efficient, and they need their solitude to let their minds do the work, so they tend to get very frustrated if their time is being wasted,” Esko explained.


She shared that one particularly frustrating waste of time for highly intelligent people is pointless conversations.

co-workers talking in office FoToArtist Ⓜ︎ / Canva Pro

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Esko described a pointless conversation as “A conversation about something that is common knowledge or something that can be easily found out or something that just doesn’t add value to anyone.”


A major part of fitting into corporate culture is knowing how to interact with your co-workers, but for highly intelligent people, this might not come naturally, especially when they’re in a state of heightened frustration.

Esko explained that the reason why highly intelligent people find empty conversations so annoying is that they’re just “filling up the space where the highly intelligent individual would rather be using that time to be quiet and get things done.”

2. Unnecessary meetings

“One of the really big pet peeves of highly intelligent individuals are meetings that could have been emails,” Esko said.

She noted that “Highly intelligent individuals are efficient because they own their own time, so when they have an interruption to their day,” it really bothers them, especially if they're in a flow state and the interruption “is not necessary.”


Meetings are the biggest time waster in any company

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She shared that “highly intelligent individuals are often very organized in their time, meaning they are good at approximating how much time it takes to complete a task they have, and if they have to attend a surprise meeting, it might feel very frustrating to them, because they want to stay in their schedule that they have most likely set for themselves.”

Highly intelligent people are often self-starters. They’re skilled at mapping out their time, which means that they feel thrown off when their very specific schedule is interrupted.

“They may also have such high standards for themselves for their work that they feel frustrated if they suddenly have to spend time in a meeting that’s not necessary,” Esko said.


people in a work meeting Zamrznuti Tonovi / Shutterstock

3. Being micromanaged

“I think the worst thing you can do to a highly intelligent individual, and this could almost be seen as bullying, is micromanaging,” Esko exclaimed.

She noted that these individuals are usually very good at managing their own time, “and they are very good at knowing when they need guidance or if they need support from their superiors.”


“Micromanaging is, again, a waste of their time and also underestimating their abilities, which can feel very frustrating,” she concluded.

While being micromanaged might be a sign your workplace is poorly managed, to call it a form of bullying feels slightly overblown. If the micromanagement is coupled with bullying techniques like cruelty, being talked down to, or being mobbed by co-workers, then it could definitely be classified as bullying.

woman working on laptop Mix and Match Studio / Shutterstock


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People are allowed to interpret their workplace culture as they see fit, but defining annoying behavior as bullying tends to distill actual bullying.

Just because something is frustrating doesn't always mean it’s harmful or toxic. 

For those wondering what classifies a person as highly intelligent, Esko shared 3 common beliefs that her highly intelligent clients share, including the beliefs that they’re not that intelligent and that there’s something wrong with them.

Esko noted that the third belief that highly intelligent people tend to have is connected to mental health struggles, saying, “They believe they are worthless, especially if you were a gifted child.”


The Institute for Educational Advancement defines giftedness as “Asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity.”

Esko believes that being classified as gifted can lend itself to poor mental health, especially surrounding the concept of self-worth.

“You feel like your life should be somehow different like that giftedness should have helped you succeed,” she said. “You may have been praised for your talents when you were a child and other things may have been overlooked or less emphasized, and now, if you haven’t been successful in a way that society defines success, you may feel worthless.”


The IEA notes that being gifted tends to make people “particularly vulnerable” and requires certain “modifications in parenting and teaching and counseling in order for them to develop optimally.”

This definition highlights the value of accommodations in the workplace and educational spaces.

We all have different needs, and the more we advocate for ourselves, the more we can all meet each other where we’re at, have a deeper understanding of each other’s personal battles and treat everyone with dignity and compassion. 

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture, and all things to do with the entertainment industry.