So your co-worker got the promotion that you’ve been gunning for? Yep, that sucks. Maybe you slapped them on the back and congratulated them. Maybe you told them they deserve it.
But, how do you really feel?
A little jealous or envious?
You can admit it. Most of us have had feelings of jealousy that have crept into our life at some point. According to Dr. Lisa Firestone in a Psychology Today article, “Jealousy isn't something we have much control over. In truth, it is a natural, instinctive emotion that everyone experiences at one point or another.”
She goes on to say that she “believe(s) that what lies at the heart of jealousy very often isn’t the threat itself, but a drive we have within us to torment ourselves and berate ourselves with self-critical thoughts.”
Torment ourselves and berate ourselves with self-critical thoughts??
What kind of fuckery is that? That sounds positively dreadful but the truth is, it does feel bad. It feels really bad - especially when you have worked hard and believe you deserved that promotion.
Jealousy stems from negative emotions and it's not without consequences. Left unchecked, jealousy can manifest itself and can take on a type of malevolent presence in your life which might include poor job performance and career dissatisfaction. After a while, it may flow over to your home life as well.
I’m not going to say get over it or count your blessings. Those sentiments might be true but these types of feelings take time to overcome. The longer you live, the more friends and enemies you will make. As you climb the corporate ladder, you will likely have a little of both.
Do you want the brutal truth? There will always be someone more successful than you are and there will always be someone less successful.
So, what can you do about it? You control your life, right?
ASK YOURSELF WHAT YOU COULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY: Start with being critically honest with yourself. Cast aside those negative feelings about your co-worker’s promotion for a second and determine why you didn’t get chosen for the job. And by no means is this a comparison exercise. People are so damn compelled to compare everything we have in life to someone else - from the house we live in to the car we drive. We’re different so comparisons are unhealthy.
This is not an exercise to pit yourself against your co-worker but rather to…
STRATEGICALLY BREAK DOWN THE GAME FILM: Why do you think that coaches and players watch game film from other teams in preparation for the upcoming week? It’s because they get to know their opponent so they can beat them at their own game.
What tips and tricks can you learn from your foe? How did your co-worker play it differently than you did and where can you outsmart them the next time? It may not be that you lacked in any given area but what was it that made your co-worker stand out to your boss?
Take a step back and think about the areas in which they excelled.
AVOID OTHER JEALOUS PEOPLE AT ALL COSTS: Negativity breeds negativity. If you’re surrounded by people who are petty, you’ll be more inclined to be petty. Drop these naysayers. They hold you down. Instead, keep company with those who are successful and inspire you to reach new heights of greatness.
WHAT’S YOUR PLAN: Based upon your critical reflection, what’s your plan to get that next promotion? If you don’t have a plan, guess what will happen? Nothing. You’ll be where you are today.
What things will you do today to set yourself up for success tomorrow? As you work through managing this situation, involve your boss. Make sure they know you want to advance. Make sure that next promotion is yours!
Let’s be realistic; your feelings won’t change overnight. But, those feelings are also counter-productive and will get you nowhere. They hold you down. Let success be your best revenge.
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Johnston Osburn is a Career and Life Coach who helps people turn dreams into realities. After years as a Global Talent Acquisition Professional, she realized how frequently people limit themselves because they lack belief in their abilities. They are afraid to dream, let alone dream big. [...]