How to stop suffering from career envy

Career envy is extremely prevalent and totally natural – but that doesn’t always make it feel any easier to deal with. It can have a supremely negative effect on both your career and your life as a whole. Envy has been known to lead to low self-esteem, lack of motivation and problems with anger and even depression. Here are some tips to help you deal with it.

Know the difference between jealousy and envy

Jealousy is an emotion relating to suffering of loss – even if that loss is of something you never had. If you don’t get a promotion you think you deserve, you may be jealous of your co-worker. Jealousy is more of a reasonable emotion based on response to external stimuli, and can be dealt with accordingly.

Envy, however, is simply wanting what you don’t have. It has no real basis in reality – for example, you can have an arts degree and feel envious of a peer who’s working as a doctor. It also has no real value, as it doesn’t serve to improve your work ethic. If you’re suffering from pure envy, it can be harder to deal with, but it’s more important that you try to convert this energy into something productive.

Consider the bigger picture

You should try to bear in mind that you’re only seeing things from your perspective and you’re unlikely to be seeing all the facts. For example, the career you’re envying may seem totally perfect from afar – but if you actually had that job, you’d be more likely to notice all the less positive aspects of it. Know that no job is perfect, and if you’re seeing one as such then you’re likely blocking out some of its less exciting and glamorous aspects.

bigger picture

Don’t be ashamed

It can be easy to beat yourself up over feeling of envy or jealousy. But doing so will only serve to make you feel worse. You’re human, and facing your own less attractive feelings is all a part of personal development. If you can, talk to somebody about how you’re feeling. Not only will this help you get a fresh perspective on your situation and allow you to see things from another point of view, but it’ll also help you release your frustrations in a healthy way. Keeping things bottled up is almost a guaranteed way to make yourself feel worse.

Try to find specifics

Try to figure out what exactly is causing your feelings of envy. Is it a person’s salary? Their well-regarded reputation? Them hitting a career milestone? If you know exactly what it is you’re desirous of, you’ll at least be able to start taking steps towards getting it.


Use it as motivation

Once you’ve figured out what’s the general source for your feelings of envy, you can start to formulate a plan to achieve these things for yourself. The only real positive aspect of feeling envious is that you can use it to light a proverbial fire under yourself. Staying motivated is key to advancing in your career, and if you need to use envy to do so then so be it. Instead of getting bitter, use this feeling to help you get better.

Take care of yourself

It’s all to easy to allow negative emotions to build up until they start adversely affecting your entire life. If you notice yourself repeatedly envying others’ careers, you may well be stuck in a cycle of negativity. Know that everyone has their own career path, and progresses at their own rate. Try to stay in competition only with yourself, as focusing on outside influences tends only to distract and make you feel worse about yourself.

Ask for help

The vast majority of successful people want to help out others. If you’re particularly envious of a friend or colleague’s recent success, why not ask them? They’ll definitely be complimented by your interest, and you might actually learn something you would never have though of. Using what you have to the best of your abilities is the true marker of success, anyway. Swallowing your pride and admitting you may not have the skillset to get there on your own (yet) can actually be the turning point between envy and success of your very own.

Here’s how to overcome social media job envy.