Q&A With Jane

The HR Digest - - Q&A With Jane -

As a man­age­ment stu­dent dur­ing my col­lege years, my se­niors as well as the fac­ulty made sure our batch was aware of the fact that the cor­po­rate world is full of highly com­pet­i­tive peo­ple. At that time, I thought com­pe­ti­tion is a part of ev­ery pro­fes­sion which one has to deal with in a healthy man­ner. I read a cou­ple of ar­ti­cles on­line which made me be­lieve that a lit­tle com­pe­ti­tion helps in mo­ti­vat­ing peo­ple to im­prove on their work ef­fi­ciency. On get­ting re­cruited in the cam­pus it­self for a multi­na­tional fi­nance com­pany, I had my hopes high that this would be an op­por­tu­nity of a life­time and I will get to learn some­thing new ev­ery day. Well, things def­i­nitely turn out the way I ex­pected them to be.

Right from my first day at the of­fice, my man­ager made it clear to me that I have to be the best in my job and must go to any ex­tent to achieve that kind of progress. I took this in­struc­tion in a pos­i­tive way as I thought all he was do­ing was mo­ti­vat­ing me to work well. But ap­par­ently, he was sim­ply get­ting me in the spirit of the work­place. Each and ev­ery em­ployee over here only thinks about at­tain­ing suc­cess for which they can even pull down their col­leagues. I wanted to es­tab­lish cor­dial re­la­tions with the peo­ple I in­ter­act but no­body to open to it. The com­pet­i­tive vibe in the air has cre­ated en­e­mies within one team it­self which makes it re­ally dif­fi­cult to work. My col­leagues don’t even share a cour­te­ous greet­ing in­stead just give cold stares as they think that I might be a threat to their job. Even when I need some guid­ance as I am new here, no­body is ready to help. There is a lot of

The bru­tal and straight­for­ward an­swers to Hr-re­lated queries and con­cerns.

jeal­ousy and in­se­cu­rity around. I don’t know how to deal with this. Can you please help me out?


I would firstly like to clar­ify that what­ever you heard about cut-throat com­pe­ti­tion be­ing in­evitable in a cor­po­rate cul­ture is ab­so­lutely true. It has been preva­lent for as long as one can re­mem­ber and will in­crease with the rise in ed­u­ca­tional pro­fes­sion­als. There was a time when a ma­jor­ity of the pop­u­la­tion was not as highly ed­u­cated as they are right now and hence peo­ple with ex­per­tise in the field were hired. But as the lit­er­acy rate is in­creas­ing in al­most all the parts of the world, it is ex­pected that com­pe­ti­tion in the pro­fes­sional arena will also in­crease. This and many other eco­nomic fac­tors have made peo­ple highly com­pet­i­tive in the work­place. Ini­tially com­pe­ti­tion was a healthy phe­nom­e­non as it mo­ti­vated peo­ple to do bet­ter at their job. But sadly, a lot of neg­a­tiv­ity is spread in the work­place in the name of com­pe­ti­tion. Due to the en­vi­ous na­ture of some peo­ple, it be­comes dif­fi­cult for oth­ers to func­tion smoothly in such an en­vi­ron­ment.

There have been cases when jeal­ousy has led peo­ple to pull down oth­ers or try to dis­rupt the work of their col­leagues in an of­fice. Though this hap­pens only in ex­treme sit­u­a­tions, it is nec­es­sary to be wary of such overly-am­bi­tious em­ploy­ees. Apart from this, re­cent stud­ies by psy­chi­a­trists have also proved that cut-throat com­pe­ti­tion is a ma­jor fac­tor be­hind de­pres­sion among the work­ing adults. Due to such a com­pet­i­tive cor­po­rate cul­ture, a num­ber of peo­ple face a con­flict be­tween their per­sonal and pro­fes­sional lives. They are in a con­stant dilemma as to how to ex­cel at both the places. This is when

anx­i­ety kicks in. It will be wrong to blame the co-work­ers for in­still­ing such an en­vi­ron­ment at the work­place. There are cer­tain com­pa­nies which pro­mote com­pe­ti­tion even if they are aware that it might get un­healthy. This is be­cause all these com­pa­nies care about are num­bers and they are ready to jeop­ar­dize their em­ploy­ees’ men­tal state if that helps them at­tain im­pres­sive prof­its. In the long run, it de­stroys any kind of cor­dial re­la­tions the em­ploy­ees share within them­selves. As a re­sult of such fac­tors, an em­ployee might grad­u­ally lose the will to work as he will have noth­ing to look for­ward to in the of­fice. This will ad­versely af­fect his pro­duc­tiv­ity which will harm his ca­reer. Thus it is im­por­tant to main­tain a pos­i­tive out­look even if the peo­ple around are highly com­pet­i­tive.

As soon as you feel that stress is af­fect­ing your re­la­tions with your peers or fam­ily mem­bers, it is a sign that some­thing should be done about it. At such a time, try to in­tro­spect in the rap­port you share with your man­ager or your team mem­bers. If you sense any neg­a­tive feel­ings from any of them, make it clear that you are here to do your work and not to pull down oth­ers. By clar­i­fy­ing this, your col­leagues will be as­cer­tained that you hold no threat to them and will be­have with you nor­mally. De­spite this, it is also im­por­tant for you to be the best at what you do. The ex­ter­nal stim­uli must not in­flu­ence your work ef­fi­ciency. In­stead of be­com­ing a part of the com­pe­ti­tion to prove your worth, be on top of the game right from the be­gin­ning. Be ex­tremely pre­cise in what­ever you do, stay up­dated with the news of your field, fol­low the dis­ci­plinary rules of the of­fice, re­port to your man­ager on time and no­body will find a rea­son to point fin­gers at you.

The best way to steer clear of such a neg­a­tive com­pet­i­tive spirit is to never in­dulge in any kind of gos­sip at the work­place. Of­fice gos­sip can hurt peo­ple’s feel­ings as it is usu­ally about dis­cussing the neg­a­tive traits of an em­ployee. Once you get in­volved in it, you will spi­ral deeper into it and will be­come one of the back-stab­bing com­peti­tors of your of­fice which is the last thing you want to be. It is ideal to lose your­self in work to keep away from such a com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment. If you are busy all day, you won’t have time to spare be­hind such mea­ger is­sues. This will ul­ti­mately re­sult in your own growth and pro­fes­sional sat­is­fac­tion.

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