Career Envy: How to channel jealousy into motivation

It’s natural to compare yourself to others in all aspects of life, your career included. A recent study suggests 75% of people have felt envious of a friend or colleague in the past year. While constantly comparing yourself, and your achievements to others will have negative effects, you can learn to direct this energy to have a positive outcome.

Don’t let your career envy hold you back and interfere with your success, here are some strategies that will allow you to channel your jealousy into productivity and motivation.

Allow yourself to be curious

Understand the real reason for your jealousy. There could be a number of reasons that you’re unhappy in your job, maybe you don’t get on with your boss or you have no room to progress. Is the real reason you’re jealous of a friend’s career because they have the one thing you are lacking?

Don’t shy away from the people you are envious of, in fact, get slower to them. Understand what it is specifically that they have, and you want. You might even find that after delving deeper, you’re not actually as jealous as you thought. It likely began because you saw how happy your friend/colleague got when speaking about their career, naturally you start to think how happy you would be if you had their job, but that is likely not the case.

Take the time to understand more about why you have career envy. You might discover that it’s not your job specifically, but you company, management or even the industry. If you want to make a move in your career to get over your career envy, make sure you understand what you want to change first.

Long term career goals

It’s ok if the job or field you’re in now isn’t where you see your long-term career goals. You might not even know what your long-term goals are right now, and that’s ok too. Of course, certain jobs require a specific path but many don’t and a different route into certain fields can even be a positive.

Hiring managers often see value in candidates who have taken a different route into their field, as it gives them a varied approach and more diverse qualities.

Choose to view your career as a portfolio, rather than just the job you’re in now. Everything you experience will allow you to learn something new, so even if you don’t love your current role focus on the positives. What have you learnt in your current role that will help you in the future, or in another job?

Changing your thinking to see the benefit of your current role will stopping you from dwelling on the negative aspects, which is particularly important now when securing a new job is even harder than usual.

Remember, it’s only natural

Don’t beat yourself up, because we all experience it at some point in our career. Admiring someone else’s success does not make you a failure!

Allow yourself to be intrigued and motivated by those who you feel envious of and take (small) steps towards reaching where you want to be in your career. If you applied for a role you really wanted and weren’t successful, ask for feedback and learn from the experience but accept that ultimately it was out of your hands.

Don’t let feelings of bitterness stop you from trying again!

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