It’s tempting to compare your career with your friends’, and it’s all too easy to find yourself feeling competitive or envious. But unless you’re after the same position, a friend’s victory should feel like yours too, since it makes you happy for them. You’re separate people, with separate stories, and it’s not a zero-sum game: you can both do well. Jessica Booth writing for Bustle recently listed eight reasons why comparing your progress with a friend’s doesn’t ultimately make a lot of sense and can be emotionally brutal on you.
01. Your jobs are probably not actually comparable
When a friend starts out-earning you at a similar job, it doesn’t really make sense to feel like you’re competing. Unless you had the same amount of experience at the same position at the same company, you can’t really compare your situations because you’re doing at least somewhat different jobs for different bosses, in different environments, and so on.
02. What’s your friend’s awesome new position really like?
It could be that your friend’s career sounds wonderful, and this makes you jealous. Bear in mind, though, you don’t know the whole story, even if your friend isn’t deliberately misleading you. You can trust that pretty much every job is a mix of the good and bad. Maybe your friend’s great new gig comes with pressures or insecurities you wouldn’t really want. You can’t know for sure.
03. Bitter much?
Being jealous of a friend’s success can lead to bad feelings that just get darker and darker over time. Maybe you’ll start not wanting to be around your bud much anymore, or maybe you’ll find yourself being destructively argumentative with them. In either case, it’s an excellent way of ruining a good friendship.
04. You’ll feel inferior
If you’re always making your friend the winner in your head — and you the loser — you stand to forfeit the confidence you need to get ahead in your own career. Not to mention it feels really bad to think of yourself this way.
05. It’s distracting
Your job likely has aspects you enjoy, and opportunities for advancement can pop up at any time. What a shame if you miss either of these things obsessing over your friend’s success.
06. It’s no help for your career
Being competitive is fine as long as it doesn’t overtake your energy and positive aspirations. If you’re to consumed by your friend’s situation, you won’t be present in yours. You know, the one you want to build upon to succeed?
07. It can poison your overall perspective
Anybody can think of more things that aren’t as we want them to be or things to worry about. But, beware, being negative has a way of feeding on itself. Your jealousy habit regarding your friend can become an emotional black hole that sucks in other, unrelated aspects of your life. Don’t let it.
08. Don’t waste your time
Resentment doesn’t deserve the space it takes up in your brain or the time it steals from your day. You’ve got so many other, better things to do. Like being positive and productive and making your own career something for someone else to be jealous of. (Just kidding.) Also, remember being happy?
In the end, if your friend is really your friend, you’ll both be happy for each others’ successes. A brief moment or two of jealousy every now and then is to be expected. If it isn’t quickly replaced by good feeling, though, think twice about the direction is which your competitive spirit is headed.