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How To Turn Your Professional Envy Into A Career Tool

Source | FastCompany : By KAT BOOGAARD

I used to proudly broadcast that I wasn’t a jealous person. “I’m confident, successful, and happy,” I’d think to myself, while flipping my hair over my shoulder and batting my eyelashes (not really, but you get it). “I have no reason to be envious of anybody!” But, then I quickly realized I was only lying to myself.

No, I’m not necessarily jealous in the sense that I can’t let my husband leave the house for a few hours without feeling the itch to constantly check in—he can grab a few beers with his buddies without me so much as even noticing at times. But, when it comes to my career success? Well, I become downright covetous.

To a certain extent, I think that’s natural. Our careers are competitive, so it’s expected that you’ll turn a little green with envy each time someone else reaches an achievement you’ve been working toward yourself.

But while a little bit of jealousy is anticipated, it’s still not necessarily productive. On the contrary, really—it can serve as a distraction that only slows you down. That is, unless you learn to harness it to give yourself a much-needed kick in the pants.

Sound impossible? I assure you, it’s not. To prove it, here are three times you’re sure to feel jealous in the office, as well as how you can use each one to boost your own motivation and reputation.


Your coworker was just promoted. And, while it’s not even a position you were in line for, you can’t help but to feel a twinge of jealousy at the very thought of her pay increase and shiny new job title.

Sure, you respond to that office-wide email thread with a hearty, “Congratulations, Ashley!” and gladly indulge in a piece of that celebratory cake in the break room. But, on the inside? That green-eyed monster is slowly consuming you.

“When is it my turn?” you ponder to yourself as you pack up that leftover cake and stick it in the fridge. “I deserve a step up around here, too!”

How to use your jealousy. There’s nothing that can inspire an intense bout of envy quite like someone else in your workplace getting promoted. It doesn’t matter if you weren’t up for consideration or the new role isn’t even in your department—everyone in your office will suddenly feel slighted.

Rather than wallowing in your own self-pity and dreaming of the days you’ll get your own delicious “way to go!” ice-cream cake, you’re better off analyzing the situation to determine what steps you’ll need to take to reach that same milestone.

Was that newly promoted person there for a certain amount of time? Did he go above and beyond what was expected of him—such as frequently volunteering for the company’s blood drive? Did she recently reach some major achievement that became the catalyst for this next step?

Read on…

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