The Positives of Career Envy

More than 75% of people have reported feeling envious of someone in the last year. A growing statistic especially since social media (LinkedIn included) makes it very easy to see what your colleagues and friends are up to professionally and personally.  You can be happy for another’s professional success while still feeling a twinge of jealousy. This career envy can be especially acute if you are job searching and/or making a career pivot and feel like you are starting back at square one.

While jealousy can be motivating for some; it can derail others. To help from falling in the latter category, here are some ideas to make productive use of those negative feelings.

Shift from comparison to curiosity.
Reflect on why someone’s success triggered envy for you. What part of their story has reflected your own values, interests, and goals for your life? As an adult, there are fewer life markers, so it is quite natural to consciously or subconsciously make social comparisons with others.

Pausing and assessing your own skills and accomplishments can also help you measure your own progress and perhaps it will shed light on clearer benchmarks you hope to hold yourself to. Was your friend’s success professional or personal? Did they excel in a hobby/side hustle? If you are strategic about the information you glean from social comparisons, then it can help you modify your approach to certain tasks and areas of life.

Question your assumptions
Social media and a carefully curated feed can really distort the reality of one’s life. Try not to take everything at face value. A shared new job may have come after 20 job rejections. People are more willing to genuinely share their path in a face to face conversation. So, if you really want to learn more about someone’s path, don’t hesitate to reach out and talk to them. They will likely be able to detail the true picture (rife with ups and downs) and perhaps share some insights and advice for you to make your own.

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