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Jealousy at Work: Turning envy into success

“Why is she always getting all the compliments for work I did?!”

“Why did they promote him and not me???”

Sound familiar? We’ve all had these thoughts, moments where we feel some sort of injustice in the workplace. But when we voice these thoughts, they sound a lot like…envy. While we all agree that envy is not a pretty thing, it’s inevitable that it will strike each of us sooner or later. Don’t worry and don’t feel ashamed—it’s part of what makes us human. However, that doesn’t mean we have to let it turn ugly: workplace jealousy can actually be a powerful tool for the positive.

The True Source

First, let’s take the person who’s making you envious out of the equation. In the end, envy is really about the person experiencing it; jealousy often stems from frustration with yourself. Go back to the last time you felt envious of someone and remember that feeling. Did that feeling really have something to with the person you were envying? Or did it have more to do with you feeling you had not achieved something you wanted? The thought that if you had perhaps put yourself out there more… If you had put in some extra effort… Well, then maybe that promotion would have been yours. Envy is very often tied to regret. This is not to say that things are always “fair” in the world of work, but in the end it’s usually more beneficial for yourself to focus on your own efforts instead of those of others.

Turning Green into Gold

Really, there are benefits to envy! The key is to start not only embracing the fact that some people might be better at some things than you are, but also learning from those people. Identify what exactly “it” is about these people that you envy. Once you examine this more closely, you’ll probably find it’s not that this person got promoted; it’s more likely related to a certain set of skills or a certain type of mentality this person has.

For example, those of us in the biotech and pharma industry know that this field is constantly changing and it is critical to keep up with new scientific and regulatory developments. Those who want to get ahead in this industry must always be educating themselves, learning new skills and acquiring more knowledge. If you consider the people who are taking these extra steps as possible mentors (instead of rivals), you take away the negativity related to that envy and make it something positive, something to kickstart your own aspirations. This will benefit your professional skills and skills as a team player. Not only will you demonstrate that you are willing to learn from others, but also, in doing so, develop yourself as a professional.

The Bottom Line

There may be times when your efforts are undervalued in comparison to someone else’s, but don’t let that get you down. Stop focusing on perceived injustices and instead focus on shining even brighter so that, next time, your relentless efforts are in no way being missed.

We can hear you saying now, “I always put in extra effort, but my boss never seems to notice.” This we will save for another discussion—but, trust us, being envious of those around you will be nothing but detrimental to your situation, whatever it is.

In short, go from green to gold by focusing on YOU and how you can drop any feelings of resentment to learn from the successful people around you.

Written by Pauline Thijssen, Pharma and Biotech Recruitment Consultant for Seuss Recruitment. Learn more about Pauline here.