Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?

Green-eyed monster at work

Danger - Jealousy at work

Jealousy and envy are closely related but jealousy is usually when you wish you had something someone else has got eg a pay rise, or a plum project, and envy is when you haven’t got it and when you wish they hadn’t either.

Envy is also about feeling inferior, being resentful, and wishing ill-will to others. It also tends to be more about being competitive.

Jealousy can be aspirational or inspirational in encouraging you to better yourself so that you can also achieve what the other person has.

Research in USA by Professor Robert Vecchio suggests that 3 out of 4 people have witnessed jealousy at work and up to 50% of people get involved in it in some way.

If you feel envious of others at work you are more likely to use “social loafing” (not pulling your weight, spending time on the internet etc) to even up the score. You are also more likely to be looking for other jobs.

Generally woman are more likely to be jealous about social relationships; men to envy others in a competitive way.

Lack of consideration by supervisors can lead to jealousy and it is more likely to happen in a small office where it’s easy for unskilled bosses to develop favourites. If you work in large offices you tend to assume that unequal treatment is because of bureaucratic inefficiency.

If you feel you are the object of jealousy or envy:

  • Focus on the good things in your job (count your blessings) to bolster your self-esteem
  • Be humble – don’t flaunt your success
  • Don’t get involved in the drama
  • Help others to achieve and be as successful as you

Guest post adapted and reblogged with permission from sganda