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Do you have career envy?

By Jana Angeles | 28 August 2019

Ever felt jealous by someone who has your dream job? Perhaps you’ve been overlooked for a promotion and your friend ended up getting it but you feel that you should’ve gotten it instead. In short, you may have ‘career envy’.

Career envy is that feeling of jealousy you experience when it comes to someone else achieving your desired career goals. At times, you may feel unworthy and insecure about your career path and can’t help but fall into the comparison trap.

It can put us in an awkward position that may make us resentful when it comes to the choices we make for our career, giving us the illusion that climbing the career ladder is no longer a possibility. 

There are signs that may indicate you have career envy - some not as obvious as others. If you identify with the signs below, you might have it:

4 signs you have career envy

  1. You feel a sense of jealousy.
  2. You keep falling into the comparison trap.
  3. You feel bitter when someone else gets the promotion you want.
  4. Your career path feels meaningless.

1. You feel a sense of jealousy.

Feeling a sense of jealousy is one of the first indicators of career envy. When someone has received a promotion or an offer of your dream job, you can’t help but feel spite instead of happiness. With people sharing career highlights on their social media profiles, it can often feel like you’ve failed knowing that someone else has the career that you want.

2. You keep falling into the comparison trap.

frustrated young woman

When you have a chat with your work colleagues or friends, hearing them talk about their achievements at work may provide the impression that you’re behind the career race. You may sense that urgency that you should be at a particular stage in your career because of your age. Being in the comparison trap can put us at risk of feeling inadequate and not being fulfilled career-wise. 

3. You feel bitter when someone else gets the promotion you want.

When one of your colleagues receives the promotion you originally wanted, it can feel equal parts disheartening and frustrating that your boss didn’t even consider you for the role. You may have had x years of experience in the industry, always going above and beyond but it appears that you haven’t received the recognition, despite your continued effort to do more.

4. Your career path feels meaningless.

Missing out on a promotion or your dream job can make it seem like the hard work you’ve been putting into your career isn’t paying off. You feel that what you’re doing now isn’t worthy and the career you’re trying to build isn’t what you pictured it to be. 

Having someone else where you can “envy” just seems like an easy option because it gives you something to blame, making your career path seem meaningless in comparison to the person you’re feeling envious of.

It’s important that if you relate to the following statements above to take further action in minimising the feeling of career envy. Here are some steps to take that may help you feel less jealous about another person’s career success. 

4 steps to take if you have career envy 

  1. See why your “enemies” are succeeding.
  2. Learn from your mistakes.
  3. Acknowledge your achievements.
  4. Set achievable goals and stick to them.

1. See why your “enemies” are succeeding.

If you’re feeling envious about people’s achievements, it’s time to change your perception and find ways to help avoid this. You have to ask yourself why are you feeling like this? Is it something you can change and move on from? 

These “enemies” may be some of your closest friends but their success is reminding you of what you don’t have. There are plenty of opportunities you can take advantage of that can help grow your career. Here are some other pathways to consider to help you find success:
  • Study a course: an online course can help you stay on track when it comes to your goals. If you’re worried about compromising your current schedule with work and other personal commitments, consider studying with Upskilled. Upskilled is a leading Registered Training Organisation (RTO) offering online courses for multiple in-demand industries such as community services, information technology, business and more. You will have the opportunity to study online at your own pace and have that flexibility to study less or more when you need to.
  • Work on your soft skills: there is a strong importance in having soft skills such as being able to work in a team, having a flexible attitude, ability to make decisions and good listening skills. It’s important to review what your “enemies” are doing to get ahead in their career. Identify any weaknesses you may have and work on developing them into strengths. This will help you strive to do better and help you excel in the responsibilities of your job, which may lead to the promotion or dream job you desire.
  • Find a mentor: finding someone who you can bounce off ideas from and be the first point of contact when you need career advice could help you stay on track when it comes to your career. Having a mentor not only helps you build a professional relationship with this person but they can motivate you to be one step closer in achieving your career goals. They can help you identify what skills you need to work on or make a recommendation in studying a course to help you get ahead in your career.

2. Learn from your mistakes.

man looking at sunrise

There may be some career mistakes you have made without realising it. It’s important that you take the time to reflect and ask yourself what you have done wrong when it comes to your career. Asking these questions may help determine why you are envious of other people:
  • Have you refused opportunities of growth within the company?
  • Do you have tunnel-vision and choose to actively pursue very specific job opportunities?
  • Have you gotten too comfortable in your role?
We all make mistakes, especially when it comes to our career. It’s important that we reflect on our choices and be aware of their impact. 

If you know you’re not flexible when it comes to change or aren’t open-minded when it comes to potential career opportunities, maybe it’s time to evaluate and make changes to help you feel less stagnant. 

Learning from your mistakes is the first step in making progress. A little reflection on what you’ve done wrong can go a long way.

3. Acknowledge your achievements.

Career envy can make us feel like we aren’t worthy enough to do great things but what happens when we try to improve our mindset and recognise the positives? 

Perhaps you’re stuck in a menial job that doesn’t offer much career progression but outside of it, you’re undertaking a couple of unpaid internships in marketing that could help secure a paid position once you successfully complete them. Sometimes it’s important to look at the bigger picture and try to be thankful when it comes to our small wins regarding our career. 

When we’re working so hard, it’s sometimes very easy to overlook our achievements and downplay them. It’s worthwhile to look back at what you’ve done and be thankful for the opportunities that encourage career growth.

4. Set achievable goals and stick to them.

Setting goals can help prevent you from feeling “envious” when it comes to another person’s career, especially if you have set yourself some goals that you want to accomplish for the short or long-term. 

By setting realistic expectations and timelines when it comes to goal-setting, it’s important to stay focused and be less preoccupied about another person’s career trajectory. By setting goals, you’ll most likely stick to them and avoid comparing yourself to others. Goal-setting also helps increase your productivity, which could help you avoid the feeling of ‘career envy’.

Want to boost your career with online study?

While it can be tough to get rid of the feeling of envy when seeing your peers or friends achieve their career goals, you can channel your energy into opportunities that will help boost your career

Upskilled has over 80 qualifications which are Nationally Recognised in various industries such as IT, human resources, community services and more. The courses are delivered online and most can be completed online in 12-months or less, depending on your progress. 

If you want more flexibility when it comes to your studies, get in touch with one of Upskilled’s education consultants and be one step closer in achieving your career goals today!
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