How to use career envy to get ahead

Feeling envious? Good. Use it to propel your career forward.

How to use career envy to get ahead

Being envious of your co-workers can actually help your career.

Your work BFF just got the promotion you both applied for and you're happy for her, really you are, but you can’t help feeling a little envious that you didn’t get the job. Being envious doesn't feel good, especially when it involves a friend or colleague or is focused on things like a larger paycheck or a promotion. But the good news about that lousy feeling is it can become a motivator. If you’re proactive, you can use it to jump-start your own career.

Your friend got a raise

You started out at almost the same salary, but now she's making 10 percent more than you and it reminds you that you haven’t gotten a significant raise in two years. It’s a good cue that you should prepare to ask for a raise of your own. “Start pulling together a list of your accomplishments and prepare for your next performance review or schedule a meeting with your manager if you don’t have a review coming up,” says Romy Newman, co-founder and president of Fairygodboss, a career advice site for women. “Be sure to do some research and practice what you’re going to say so you can go into your meeting with confidence,” Newman says. If you don’t get the raise, ask why. If there are things you need to improve to get to the next level, find out and use it to create a game plan. If it’s a budget constraint, it might be time to start looking for new jobs where you (and your paycheck) can grow.

Your friend just got a promotion

You applied for a senior position in your department and a co-worker got the job. She hasn’t been at the company as long and you, but she just jumped in front of you in the hierarchy.

“Talk to your manager and see why you were not chosen," says Marietta Gentles Crawford, a New York City–based personal branding and career expert. "There may be some advice that you get that will make you aware of some blind spots.” It might be tough to get critical feedback, but you can use it to make sure you're in good standing the next time a position opens up or to gain skills that would be helpful if you switch departments or companies.

Your friend is a networking whiz

You would rather work all weekend than go to a networking event, but you’re starting to see the merit now that your friend landed a job with the help of some one she met at a conference. “Start working on expanding and improving you own network,” says Newman. Research industry events, conferences, and alumni get togethers where you might meet valuable connections. “Having a strong network can help you grow professionally, open up great opportunities for you at work, and even introduce you to new opportunities in the future,” says Newman.

Your friend got an exciting new job

Your co-worker is off to a cool company and your favorite thing about your job was taking coffee and lunch breaks together. You're bored with your job, but you haven’t put in the work to make a switch yet.

“Use her change as an opportunity to ask yourself what role would make you happy,” says Crawford. “Turn the envy into inspiration to start thinking more about what you'd like to do to be fulfilled and challenged, rather than what feels safe and comfortable.”

Ready to pull an Ariana Grande and say, “Thank you, next”? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you'll get job alerts sent directly to your inbox to cut down on time spent looking through ads. Additionally, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Be the object of someone else’s envy.