Are you suffering from career envy?
We can all turn into the green-eyed monster every now and then. When a colleague humbly brags about their latest project on LinkedIn or posts a champagne selfie on Instagram to celebrate a promotion, it’s hard to not feel at least a little pang of jealousy.
But fear not. You can turn that boiling rage into something a little bit more useful…motivation. Here’s how you can use your jealousy to fuel your career.
1. Pinpoint what makes you jealous
In the Harvard Business Review’s Envy at Work, Tania Menon and Leigh Thomson explain that jealousy can actually be useful if you use it as a source of information.
”The key is to recognize the circumstances and qualities in others that trigger your envy. Ask yourself if your feelings reveal what you are most insecure about lacking. For example, do you envy people who learn new skills more quickly, earn higher salaries, or get praise from the boss? When you accurately identify the things that set you off, you can begin to tame envious feelings before they turn into counterproductive responses. You can also focus on improving yourself in the areas you’ve discovered you care about most.”
Could your envy be telling you that you need to think differently or change your career entirely? You can learn a lot from the person you envy.
2. Take action
Envy is fear. The fear that we are not good enough. The fear that we do not measure up to society’s standards. To tackle these insecurities we need to meet them head on. If you’re not confident in a particular work skill, take a night course. If you’re insecure about not having any work friends, get involved with the extra-curricular activities in the office. The busier you are trying to improve yourself the less time you will have to dwell on the success of others.
3. Ditch the comparison game
Comparing yourself to others is completely natural. However, if you constantly keep score with your colleagues you will end up feeling resentful and jealous, especially if you are selling yourself short. Instead, compare your present self with your past self to measure your growth. Afterall, the only real measure of success is how far you have come.
4. Praise yourself
During their research, Menon and Thompson found that having an awareness of your own achievements is one of the easiest ways to squash jealousy.
”In one experiment we asked people to think about a rival and prepare for a task in which they would evaluate that person’s latest idea. Before the task, half the participants listed some of their own accomplishments (“I’m a good tennis player”) or cherished values (“I put my family first”). The other half did not.
This simple exercise yielded profound results. When we asked the participants what percentage of their working hours they’d be willing to devote to learning about their rival’s plan, we found that managers who had affirmed themselves were willing to allocate about 60% more time than those who had not affirmed themselves.”
Recognizing your own accomplishments can help you to keep your envy in check and become a better team player.