Back in the days of cartoons and Legos, competition came in the form of Mario Kart races and who had the coolest bike. While we may not be battling it out on Dance Revolution anymore, that competitive edge never really goes away. It might surprise you to find that your best friends become your biggest competitors when you’re searching for your dream job. And, while you usually find yourself happy for your pals’ accomplishments, competition easily turns to jealousy, no matter who you are.
For starters, it’s natural. You’re not a bad person for feeling that twinge of FOMO or questioning how they beat you out for a position. You can be the most supportive best friend or coworker on the planet and still find yourself feeling a tad envious. The important part is to make sure this doesn’t get in the way of a friendship. It can become toxic when your relationship becomes more of contest or competition instead of a support system. That’s why we’re offering up a few things to consider that might help you break that bout of jealousy.
Clearly you love your friend. This isn’t some type of arch nemesis rivalry… if it is, you should probably reconsider who your friends are. Get down to the root of how you’re feeling and figure out why it’s making you feel that way. It could be that you’re frustrated with your own job hunt while your friend is getting offers left and right. Maybe the overwhelming amount of competition is tiring you out. Or, perhaps, the deadly art of comparison is beginning to tug at you. Finding the heart of the problem can help you take the blame and hard feelings off of your friend. If you can’t quite determine where the reasoning behind the jealousy is coming from, pinpoint exactly why you’re jealous of your friend, then remove him or her from the equation and you’ll probably have a pretty good idea at what’s bringing you down.
For example, if you’re jealous that your friend is making a fortune, take him or her out of it. The real root cause is that you’re unhappy with your salary or you’re frustrated that you’re not making more at your job. Your friend is off the hook and you have something to solve for.
Sometimes your friend gets an offer for a position you would’ve killed to have. Or he/she received a pay raise when you haven’t seen any sign of a higher salary headed your way. Maybe he or she’s onto their second promotion. This can all be flustering, but one of the best things you can do is to find out how they did it.
While you can’t exactly replicate your friend’s method of success, hearing the steps that were taken to achieve those goals can offer knowledge you might not have had or provide the inspiration you need. Who knows, your friend might be the connection you need to land a position at that company. Grab a coffee and pick your pal’s brain. Don’t make it a competition or a chance to judge one another’s current successes. Instead, use it to learn the ways you can improve and the things you’re already kicking ass at.
When you’re an ambitious human, working on your career goals can easily become a 24/7 job. It’s exhausting, and you’re most likely the last person to take a break or a step back. But not doing so leads to burnout, more severe negative feelings and a ton of unnecessary stress. As hard as it is, you must take time for yourself to regroup, recharge and focus on a little work life balance. This go-go-go attitude can turn from motivational to overwhelming real quick.
That’s why you’ve got to boost your confidence in other ways, like learning a new hobby or doing volunteer work. A break in your work life will only benefit you and help you stay healthy. When you’re in a good state of mind, you can be proud of yourself and have the capability to support and cheer on your friend.
As an unpopular opinion, I find that things like the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and similar compilations can be disheartening and skew our perceptions of success — which, let’s be honest, is defined differently by all of us. While it’s amazing to see all the visions and businesses that the people around us are creating, it perpetuates the idea that we should be on their level at that age. There’s nothing wrong with being a wildly successful human — that’s amazing! — but there’s also no “right” age where we’re supposed to have reached certain goals.
If you’re 25 and haven’t had that breakthrough, newsworthy idea, that’s just fine. Success doesn’t equate to national recognition in a magazine. Basing our worth on others’ accomplishments is detrimental. We’ll all get to where we’re going, and there’s no timer counting down to when you should have hit certain milestones. (Hello? Oprah Winfrey was fired at 23 years old.) You’ll make things happen, and there’s no way that’s too fast or too slow.
Lead image via Getty
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