Jealousy Does Not Look Good on You

16 Dec

Yesterday, for the first time in what seems like a long time, I actually felt jealous.  Well, it was mostly schadenfraude, but that mostly stems from jealousy.  After the fact, I felt horrible, that I even felt that but couldn’t shake the feeling.

The story:

I met up last night with a friend who used to be a really good friend but our lives sort of went in different directions.   We would meet up at least weekly at our best, but nowadays, we might see each twice a year.  Except every time I meet up with her and get an “update,”  I end up feeling like I’m not doing enough and that I’m sort of a failure.  We’re both the same age, went to similar schools, have similar cultural/socio-economic backgrounds.  She started off with a better paying job than I did, was able to move out into a lovely studio apartment, and just recently got recruited into a higher paying and more visible role in her company.  

Up until that point, I truly never felt that way about my job.  I like it.  Scratch that, I actually love it.  Yes, I’m an analyst and in my company, that’s pretty much the lowest rung you could be on, but at the same time, I provide a lot of value to many people at my company, so many people actually think that I’m higher up.   I get to work with so many people and do some really interesting things (sorry I’m being vague, you know the old adage about writing about work…even if its good!).  In terms of the pay, well, who DOESN’T want more money? But because I live at home, and have very few bills, I actually feel pretty well off.  (Nerdy Econ moment:  my real income is definitely greater than my nominal income) 

So, why is that, that when I see someone that is simply my age that has a title higher than mine that I feel so awful?

Yes, I know, a title definitely doesn’t indicate much.  I might do manager level work (or even higher than that), but the title I have is Analyst for now.  I am going to school, so that will most certainly prepare me for a higher role in any company.  And for the most part, I sit back and rest on that:  that at least I’m going to school and working towards my masters, and she isn’t.  And I thought of after I’m done with school how I’ll probably have a better job.  And maybe, just maybe, my sucess would spill into other fields too like (life, family, etc…)

And then…that’s precisely when, my morals come in.  Shame on me for one, not enjoying in my friend’s successes and two, for not wishing her thrice as much more success in her upcoming endeavors.  Whether she got demoted or promoted:  It shouldn’t matter!  Life shouldn’t be measured by comparing yourself to others; no, it isn’t objective.  Life, and how it is lived, is completely subjective.  It is about setting up goals and ambitions for YOURSELF, and working towards them.  I would never think that someone who isn’t doing what I’m doing isn’t doing enough.  Why?  Because financial analysis isn’t for everyone.  What I should admire and perhaps, envy in others, is having a passion for whatever it is they do, whether its Financial Analysis (which I do!) or Underwater Basket Weaving (I haven’t found anyone that loves that, but I know so many people that are scuba fanatics).  

To broaden this not-so-obvious life lesson:  Defining yourself by your job/circumstance limits your possibilities to just your job description and/or situation.  In other words, if you do that, you can only be as great as that spreadsheet you’re working on.  However, if you define yourself by the experiences you have, the relationships you’ve cultivated and the knowledge that you have acquired, your greatness is limitless.  It will be a work-in-progress but it will be in the right direction.

In conclusion:

Hopefully I never forget it!

-A

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