Coping with envy

Coping with envy

By Becky Brewis 22/01/14

Some people can swing higher than you on the swings. Get over it. Show them what you can do on the see-saw. Here’s our guide to coping with envy…

In the arts, work and play go hand in hand and your best friend can be your best collaborator. All fine and dandy until they go and do the unforgiveable: get a cracking good job while you’re scraping together rent from temping and selling your pets on ebay. Here’s how to cope.


Get off social media 

You’ve heard it before. So why is that tab still open? Like most of the internet, social media can be brilliant, useful and fun. It can also make things pop up on your screen that you wish you’d never seen. 

When you’re feeling low, an invite to your friend’s new show, or a status update like, “So happy!!! Got the job!!!” are envy booby-traps. But they don’t show the bigger picture – the rejections along the way that never made it onto Facebook, and all the other crap that’s going on in people’s lives.


It might not be right for you anyway 

Take a step back. Is your best friend’s dream job your dream job, too? In sniffing out a fulfilling creative career it’s easy to be thrown off the scent by the smell of success. Better to focus on where your talents lie than get distracted by a fancy job title or a flash organisation. 

If you’re really suffering, give some thought to why. While envy might feel like a natural part of creative life, we feel most envious of others when we are unhappy ourselves. When that’s the case, sticking your claws into others isn’t going to make it better. 


It’s a marathon, not a sprint

Success comes to different people at different stages of life. Few are successful in their 20s. There’s no shame in taking time to build up a portfolio of work and to get experience. What’s important is that you nurture your talent

And it’s worth remembering, too, that friends who do well may in time be useful contacts. So don’t drive them away.


Take a break 

Sometimes being surrounded by brilliant, like-minded creatives can be knackering. If you’re finding it hard to be supportive, give yourself a change of scene by hanging out with friends doing something completely different to you. 

And if you’re feeling disheartened by the whole dratted shebang, try doing something creative that you don’t do professionally and aren’t being judged on.


Focus on the people who can help you

As a writer, who’s going to give you work? Hate to break it to you but it sure as heck ain’t going to be other writers.

And it’s the same regardless of your trade. Competitors don’t share, so focusing your attention on people doing the same work as you isn’t going to get you a job. Instead, use that energy to establish relationships with those who can actually give you work. Producers, editors, commissioners. The ones with the cash.


Whatever you do, for God’s sake don’t bad-mouth. Slagging off the friends you envy is not going to make anything better. It reflects badly on you and, worse, is likely to lose you friends who you do love, after all, even if they have got a job. 

So stop sucking that lemon.


What do you do when the green-eyed monster comes knocking? Let us know in a comment below!


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Image by lukesaagi, on a Creative Commons license. 

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