Envy: Six Ways It Can Destroy Your Career

“Why did he get that promotion when I’m just as qualified and I’ve been here longer?” Envy

While it’s natural to be envious of people we see getting things that we want, focusing too much on that feeling can be a trap that derails your career. You’ll expend so much time and energy grumbling about someone else’s accomplishments that you’ll never reaching those goals you have in mind.

Here are six ways that envy can not only eat at you, but your career as well.


  1. It makes you perceive others as threats. When you see everyone else as a threat to you and worry about ways to stop them or beat them at their own game, it actually makes you less competitive. How so? Because you’re not paying attention when opportunities to advance yourself do arrive or striving to get better at the things you already do well. Companies don’t want or need a box of square pegs in square holes; it’s the different shapes that tend to advance the most because they break the mold and come up with new and interesting ideas and strategies. But if you’re a circle that’s jealous of a triangle and keep trying to show people that you have three points, too, chances are that you’re going to fail.
  2. It makes you constantly change course. If you’re always chasing after the things that make other people successful and cause them to be promoted, it’s going to be really hard to convince people that you do something well because you’re constantly trying something new. The goal should be to show consistent excellence in the areas where you excel. Essentially, you’re following a strategy and building a brand that tells people who you are and why they need you on their team. If you’re always switching what makes you you, how will they know what they’re getting?
  3. It reduces the trust you have in yourself. Looking at others and modeling yourself after them because of their success—and then changing to model yourself after the next successful person not long after—is a recipe for disaster. You become like that annoying person in college who changed majors and personalities on a weekly basis, and it signals to the powers that be that you don’t have any confidence in yourself and your innate abilities. Here’s the thing, though. Someone brought you into this company because of those abilities. That should tell you that your skills are valuable and worth developing, but when you start to feel envious of the people succeeding around you, your ability to see the value in your unique skillset disappears.
  4. It puts you on an island. People succeed in business by creating and nurturing relationships. When you work well with others, they begin to trust and respect you and vice versa. Rather than working to tear them down so that you can raise yourself up, everyone is lifting up everyone else and striving for mutual success. Envy ruins this by putting you at odds with your coworkers and making them your enemies. Who’s going to want to help you if you’re always trying to tear down everyone around you so they aren’t as threatening to you?
  5. It’s difficult to network. Beyond the fact that you feel like you’re constantly battling your coworkers, it’s difficult to forge connections even with those people who don’t pose a threat because you’re not creating a consistent, reliable brand for yourself. People can’t rely on you or sell you to others if you’re constantly changing your strategy in an effort to do what has worked to others promoted. But just because it worked for them doesn’t mean it will work for you; you need to be playing to your own strengths.
  6. It makes you miserable. Envy is a powerful emotion that can take over our rational thoughts and cause us to do incredibly stupid things, all in the name of beating the other person or people who we believe have wronged us simply by becoming successful. We lose confidence in our abilities and fail to find brief moments of happiness in our own successes because in our minds, it’s just not good enough in comparison to the object of our envy.

The open secret to success is that you have to be confident in yourself and work on developing those skills and beliefs that you naturally bring to the table. Do that and your business or company will definitely take notice, because we need diversity of thought in this competitive marketplace.

This was a guest post by:

Patrick Del Rosario is a Filipino business and finance blogger. He works at Open Colleges, one of the pioneers of Online education in Australia and one of the leading providers of Business Degree. Aside from blogging and being a business ninja, Patrick is an aspiring photographer. If you want to feature his writings on your site, connect with him at Google+ or drop a line at patrick (at) oc.edu.au.


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