When sh** hits the fan, who are you going to call?

No, this is not a post about Ghostbusters.


  • It’s human to feel jealous when someone else is progressing faster in their career
  • While it’s easy to think they don’t deserve it, take an objective view to figure out what exactly they did so you can learn from their success
  • Take comfort in knowing that in the long run, capability prevails; the strongest performer will eventually come out on top (if you're reading this, that strongest performer is you 🫵🏻)
Pro tip: You can comment directly on this post if you have questions or feedback

Onto the debrief

Hi friends - I recently got promoted!

I’ll pause to let you cheer. Thank you, thank you very much. Ok you can stop clapping now, you’re embarrassing me.

When the the promotions were announced, a few colleagues reached out to say congratulations. One of those messages stood out:

(I really hope he doesn’t mind being used as an example)

In short, this teammate (and friend) was expressing surprise at how quickly another colleague of ours got promoted

At this point I’d like to emphasize I’m not sharing this story to put anyone down, because this is exactly what I might have said a few years back, and this “pettiness” is something I struggled with a lot in the past:

“How is it fair that XXX got promoted before me when they’re not as hard-working/not as capable/not as smart?! That’s bullsh**”

I’ve since reflected on this behavior of mine (since I know it is not a good character trait to have) by speaking with mentors and reading inspirational articles like Stop competing: everyone has their own timeline

What I learned

First, having a victim’s mindset (i.e. feeling jealous) only hurt myself. It’s like the old saying, “Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die”

Secondly, when I took a step back to analyze the situation objectively, the person who got promoted or awarded did indeed do something truly outstanding

  • For example, an ex-colleague was amazing at storytelling. She wasn’t necessarily the hardest worker but she was able to present her work in a way that impressed all the senior stakeholders

Sure we can shake our heads in disgust at someone for “just” being a good storyteller (by the way it’s a very very underrated skill), but why not learn from her presentations instead? That way we can be hard-working, smart, AND great at telling stories!

Finally, I realized that in the long run, capability prevails

When push comes to shove (i.e. when shit hits the fan), if a project NEEDS to succeed, if a campaign NEEDS to launch by a certain date, senior leaders will rely on people who have real capability. And if that person is you, leverage that capability in your next career development discussion or an external opportunity!

Have you been through a similar experience? I’d love to know how you approached it! Or just let me know in the comments what I should spend my raise on 😏

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