Competition at work

'Winners focus on winning, losers focus on winners. It is always best to focus on the position you are in at the present moment and take a baby step each moment, each hour, and each day until you achieve the goal that you desire. When others have bitterness towards you, they are simply projecting their frustration of their own deemed failures in their life. Competition between colleagues can help to push you and others further and at a faster rate, yet, when the ego has been dented and that person feels they have lost or are less of a success than you, there is sure to be jealousy and hate. Successful people never take failures to heart or perceive them as a negative, instead, use the situation as a stepping stone and a learning curve to find a way to improve themselves so that they do not make the same mistake again.'

In this blog post, Sarah has written in to ask about a difficulty she has had with a work colleague. She has been friends with him for the past 6 years and started off in a similar role position, yet, since then, her career has risen faster than his and there has been growing tension between them as she now has to tell him what to do.

Hi Coach,

I currently have a dilemma at work. I work in banking and am in a male-dominated environment (there is only one other woman that works in my department). I have known one of my work colleagues since I started at the firm 6 years ago. Back then we were in similar roles and were at the bottom of the work ladder. He is very intelligent, and is able to do certain tasks that I would never dream of being able to do. Many would call him quite nerdy, although I would never like to categorise anybody in that way.

I left the company a few years ago and have been doing freelance work, whereas he has been in the same department throughout. I was re-employed recently to work on a project and it was great to see him. But I began to notice a change in my friend's behaviour. It began when he managed to find out what my pay was, which was marginally higher than his, and that I was now in a role where I was above him and sometimes had to tell him what to do.

Last Friday, he came into my office in the morning and put his feet up on the desk while sitting in my chair. He was moaning about how he was so stressed and had so many problems in his life. Previously, he had also moaned that he wasn't being paid enough. I looked at him and didn't understand what he was doing. I found the whole situation inappropriate as it was Friday morning and there was a lot that I had to get done for the day. He was also supposed to be training my team on a particular task, which he had been delaying for days. I looked at him and said: "When are you going to train the team?." I may have been a little abrupt, but I wasn't sure why he was just lying about in my office! He then blew the roof and started screaming and swearing at me! I was completely stunned and taken aback by his reaction. I thought the whole situation was completely inappropriate. He stormed off and I told him that if he wasn't going to train the team then I would just have to tell my boss. I haven't spoken to him since and I'm not really sure what do to? Should I apologise? Was I in the wrong?

He also now hangs out with the older, successful colleagues and thinks he's in the 'cool' crowd. Yet, they always laugh at him behind his back. I'm not sure if he has other problems outside of work or he is jealous of me.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.



Hi Sarah,

It's always important to remember that when someone has bitterness or hatred towards another, it is actually a reflection of how they feel about themselves. It is really important not to take his outburst to heart. There may be some external issues that he has in his life which are making him on edge, and you may be just the unlucky one that is bearing the brunt of it. It may be that he came into your office because he wanted your ear to listen to his issues, but it may not have been the best of times as you were busy for the work day. In this case, ask him the next time you see him if there is anything that he would like to talk to you about over some coffee.

However, it is also likely that your friend is uncomfortable that you are now in a higher position than he is. It is always very hard for one's ego to accept that a person that used to be in the same position as they were in, is now ahead of them and telling them what to do. It appears he is feeling bitterness and negativity because it is uncomfortable for him to admit that he could be doing better than where he is at. Instead, a better mind set would be to take inspiration and positivity from this, and see that if you are able to get into this position then so can he. As Einstein said: 'The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result.' If he has not been progressing or feels that he hasn't been growing in the company then he needs to change what he is doing. As you said, he is extremely intelligent, and is able to do things that you are not able to do, so it is clear other factors such as social skills are also very important in being able to progress in a work environment.

It's important that you do not focus on his negativity, as this will only allow his reality to encompass yours. Instead, do not react to his behaviour if it happens again. Keep your thoughts positive and focused on how you want the conversation to develop, and it is likely that his lower energy reality will shift towards a higher energy level which you are emitting. In doing so, you will most likely prevent another unwanted outburst on his behalf.

Good luck and I look forward to hearing from you.

Mindful Food Coach

If you have any difficulties, whether in a relationship or a belief, that you would like to be published then send me an email of no more than 600 words to and if chosen it will be published in a forthcoming newsletter. All published articles will be kept anonymous.

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