What to do if you feel envious of your colleagues?

Here’s what to have to do to maintain a healthy working environment at the workplace.

14 March, 2024
What to do if you feel envious of your colleagues?

Jealousy is an emotion so very strong and negative that it has the potential to wreak havoc at the workplace, making it difficult for you to progress in your career. A lot of our personal value and fulfilment comes from our careers, which leaves ample scope for jealousy at the workplace. Be it a promotion, higher salary, getting more clients/projects, or receiving more recognition from your boss, envy begins with you and seldom has anything to do with your co-worker's achievements. But it's important to know that these feelings and emotions are completely normal and more common than you think (for all you know someone’s jealous of you in the office).

While your reasons for jealousy at work can vary, it’s important to recognise the signs and understand how you can control these feelings as well as learn to become a better person and, of course, a better employee. 

Acknowledging that you're jealous of a co-worker can help you handle things in a more dignified manner and avoid hostile situations like increased conflicts and constant disagreements from your side, not congratulating them on their achievements and worse, belittling their achievements with statements like ‘They got lucky’ or ‘Anyone could have done that’. The jealousy can also threaten your self-worth; you start to distance yourself from the co-worker that you're jealous of, as they are a constant reminder of your shortcomings.

It's also important to remember that jealousy can be a good thing. Benign envy inspires you to work on yourself, while malicious envy forces you to see your colleague in a negative light and revel in their failure to achieve something. It’s counterproductive as you behave horribly, upset the team chemistry, and spoil working relationships with them. 

So how do you stop being jealous of your colleague? 

Focus inward and get to the root of the problem. Instead of fixating on what others have achieved, introspect the root cause of your jealousy. If your colleague is chosen for a project over you, figure out why that's happening. What are you bringing to the table and what are you lacking? You have to improve your situation with the cards you've been dealt. 

The reason for your jealousy can stem from personal unmet goals and desires. So it's important to identify important triggers—the events, people, and situations that spark your jealousy. From a psychological standpoint, it’s important to address, acknowledge, and accept these feelings without judgment. Practising gratitude by appreciating everything you’ve done, considering the available opportunities, and focusing on your progress, talent, and strengths, works wonders in not just controlling your jealousy but also allowing you to see yourself in a positive light.

Speak to your superior

Jealousy can also stem from unfair treatment at work. If you think this is one of the reasons for your envy and if you feel like you’re constantly missing out on opportunities at work, or are feeling like you're being treated differently, don't hesitate to have a word with your superior. 

How do you work with a person you’re jealous of?

You have to work with this person, and if you're constantly struggling with jealousy, then you won’t be able to do your best. If you're to work together, have to work through your jealousy. If you are collaborating with them on a project, avoid talking about them to someone else and work on bringing your best foor forward. You must also avoid making comparisons between the two of you as it will always make you feel like you're second best. Instead of feeling threatened by your co-worker's achievements, take this as a learning opportunity to identify the skills and strategies they are using to achieve their goals and consider how you can incorporate the same. 

As previously mentioned, shifting the focus onto something else will help you get to where you want to be without feeling upset. When the mind is focused on a collaborative effort rather than a competitive one, you’re more conducive to growth. Seeing this person in a negative light is only going to diminish your growth. 

Inputs by Mehezabin Dordi, clinical psychologist, Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital, Mumbai and Sherene Aftab, psychologist & founder Serene Hour Counselling and Career Advice Consultancy

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