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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Work Relationships

You Can Be Jealous When a Co-worker Succeeds—or You Can Be Smart and Do This

jealous co-worker

Jealousy gets the best of everyone from time to time. We’re all guilty of feeling a twinge of resentment when another colleague is publicly praised or asked to take on that brand new project we wanted. However, there’s a point when healthy competition turns into an unhealthy obsession—and it only ends up hurting you.

So, instead of sitting there green with envy over a co-worker who’s more successful, utilize these three strategies to harness that energy and further your own career. (Because no one ever got ahead by sitting around and resenting co-workers.)

1. Ask for Pointers

Instead of looking at a successful co-worker as an adversary, look to him or her as a very available mentor who you can hit up for advice. Asking for pointers accomplishes two things: You learn some of the tips and tricks that are pushing your colleague ahead—and you give this person a nice little ego boost that’ll probably make him or her like you more.

So, for example, instead of getting jealous when your co-worker’s praised for his impeccable presentation skills yet again, walk on over to his desk and ask for a few pointers for how you can do the same. All of a sudden you’ve gone from enemies to collaborators.

2. Focus on Your Strengths

I once had a colleague who was a much better writer than me, to the point where I couldn’t help obsessing over the fact that anything I wrote could be written 10 times better by her. Then one day, she mentioned how jealous she was of my networking skills and wished she could be as good at building relationships. Suddenly, she was no longer this invincible superhuman, she was simply a person trying to better herself, too.

While I certainly don’t recommend purposefully searching for the flaws of others, it’s important to recognize your own strengths and what you bring to the table. In my case, focusing so much on the abilities I didn’t have meant that I also wasn’t spending time considering how much I had to offer. At the very least, take a couple minutes to write down your top three strengths, and focus on using those skills as you work your way up the ladder.

3. Keep Your Feelings to Yourself

Sometimes it’s necessary to get things off your chest. But talking with other colleagues about your feelings (even if they’re close confidantes) says more about you than whoever you’re gossiping about.

Unless another person’s success is to the detriment of the team (which isn’t the case 99.9% of the time), keep your thoughts to yourself in the office. If you want to gab about your feelings with your mom or your BFF, that’s one thing (venting to the appropriate people is OK!). But bringing up issues with other co-workers not only affects team dynamics, but it also changes how others see and treat you. Rarely does someone get praised by others for talking behind their co-workers’ backs.

If you take one thing away from this, let it be this: Successful co-workers are a blessing in disguise, as long as you know how to work the situation to your advantage.