What About Me? How To Deal With Your Friends Finding Success Before You Do

by Nikki Lakin

A Monday evening can hit us all pretty hard, especially after working eight hours straight at a job or internship. One particular Monday, however, I was unusually excited for the beginning of the week.

I walked out the door from my internship, and headed uptown to meet with a friend for dinner. He was in town for the summer and scored the gig of a lifetime in the production department at a national TV station.

When we sat down, he described the details of his new job, from the behind-the-scenes details of the control room to escorting celebrities through the building. While I maintained a smile on my face and was glad that he was having a great time, I could feel my stomach sink.

I can do all of this, too, I thought to myself. I was jealous, I was envious and I wanted his job.

“You should apply!” he chirped as if applying and interviewing for internships was as simple as a walk in the park. “You think I haven’t?" I replied.

After hearing about his experience and the opportunities his friends were given on all coasts of the country, I left with a sense of defeat and felt gray clouds hovering above the skyscrapers. It’s not that I didn’t want him or his friends to be successful, but I do wish I could be in their places.

Be honest with yourself on this one: When you hear about classmates, cousins, frenemies or practically anyone who gets hired for the ultimate internship, you want to know everything about it -- especially how they got there.

When you’re approached by these “lucky winners,” whether it be through your Facebook news feed or in person, they inundate you with conversation about the endless perks they get from their top-tier jobs.

Whether he or she is a fashion blogger, marketing associate or investment banker in training, hearing about this person's success makes you wish you were in the same spot.

All sorts of questions are running through your head, now: Why not me?; what do they have that I don’t?; what am I doing wrong?

Knowing that these individuals, who are all still (surprisingly) full-time students, can soon be picked up and hired for full-time careers is stress-inducing on the rest of us.

So many career hunters in this generation want to be in the same place and the unfortunate reality is that we’re competing with each other for the same jobs.

The problem with this is that we’re going up against people we might have grown up with, people we went to college with and even our friends.

There is no denying that this is awkward and uncomfortable. Most of my friends and I have our own blogs that we’re trying to get off the ground and attract readership for. But if one topic is more popular, or if one person gets discovered by a higher authority, it naturally leads to jealousy.

When you’re faced with the event that your friend gets the internship or the job you want, how are you supposed to react?

It’s okay to be jealous; it’s human nature to be disappointed about not getting something you wanted. No one can lie to you and tell you that it won’t hurt; your classmates getting jobs that you also applied for is its own form of rejection.

Should you be happy for them? Imagine you’re 10 years old again playing little league baseball and your team loses the game. At the end, you shake hands with the team because your coach tells you it's polite, it’s good sportsmanship and it’s the right thing to do.

Even if you’re overwhelmed with jealousy, force a smile onto your face, be an adult and congratulate them. After all, these are your friends and you'd want them to do the same for you.

The one thing these situations should not do is discourage you from the work you’re doing and the effort you’re putting in. As difficult as it may be to see others getting what you want, use it as motivation to keep up your momentum in the career-hunting playing field.

Also, understand that the jobs some people get aren’t suited for everyone. If you weren’t picked for the job, accept that it wasn’t meant to be, and trust that you will end up where you’re meant to.

The next time your friend talks about his big paycheck at the law firm or the girl in class gloats about the newest collaboration for her blog, use that as fuel to work twice as hard, and remember that you will get the job that best suits you.

If you don’t have it already, soon you’ll have something to talk (or brag) about.