Back in my younger days we loved to play board games; Pictionary, Balderdash, Cranium, and even Monopoly. But one game stood out as my favorite. It was a quiz game called Trivial Pursuit. The objective of the game was to complete the board by answering genre specific questions that were color coded to locations on the game board. The categories ranged from science to sports and even tested your knowledge of history and literature. Being a particularly arrogant intellectual, I loved this game and usually finished my board before most of the others. The group of friends that I played this game with the most included a sibling group of two brothers and a sister. We usually played the game at their house where the game was kept. One night the game was very competitive and an extremely hard question came up in the Literature category. “What is the middle name of Thoreau’s grandmother’s childhood best friend’s neighbor’s aunt?” Of course, I know now that the answer is Nottingham! But I was a bit surprised when my friend’s sister spit out the correct answer all those years ago to win the board!
“Screw you Jessica! There is no way you should know that. Now everybody knows you read the cards when you’re taking a crap”, her brother accused! The situation was tense. The long assumed speculation had become truth---She had been cheating all those years, or had she?
Staying late, taking extra responsibilities, making small talk with your superiors, and following policies may seem like cheating to some co-workers. Self-promotion is probably the most hated co-worker trait that we could have if people were honest. It may even seem like the equivalent of Jessica reading the trivial pursuit cards on the can.
It took quite a few years for me to see the dedication and effort it must have taken on Jessica’s part to grab that stack of game cards and sit focused, gaining information while losing lunch. When I decided in retrospect that the tactic was genius, I began to see those self-promoting behaviors as advantages that I wasn’t capitalizing on. The best part about promoting yourself is that it costs very little and has the potential of huge returns. The worst part is that the secret isn’t entirely out and that some co-workers mask their envy with back-biting. The worst thing that can happen is when jealous behaviors take place without any reason.
If your find yourself on the wrong side of this equation, the great equalizer to workplace envy is easily attainable by everyone. Be a good employee, do extra without being asked, and act nicely to everyone and a lot of those feelings of resentment will disappear when you realize the opportunities and experiences that will come your way as a result. The adage of “your hard work will be rewarded with more hard work” is 100% true. But to those that hard work seems like a burden, they will never know the feeling of victory as a result of extra work and dedication. The truth is, you may feel like you’ve just ridden to the beach in the back of a garbage truck, but, remember, you’re at the beach!
Don’t let the idea of others thinking of you as a suck-up or cheat change your dedication and effort towards self-promotion. Tell the skeptics the secret, and be sure to tell them it’s free. It may even be hard at first. I’m sure Jessica didn’t feel 100% sure about her bathroom study sessions, but you should have seen her face when it paid off!
High Fiber Success Story,