5 Signs That You Have an Envious Colleague

If you have an envious co-worker, you may find the atmosphere at work unpleasant. However, it's best not to let this affect you.
5 Signs That You Have an Envious Colleague

Last update: 17 August, 2021

Having an envious colleague can be a real problem. Not only does it create a bad atmosphere around you, it sometimes becomes a major obstacle to you in achieving your own work goals. The problem with envy is that it’s a deceitful kind of emotion, which is also masked and camouflaged. That’s why it’s not always easy to detect.

It’s normal for there to be some degree of rivalry in the workplace. However, when the work environment is healthy, cooperation prevails over these kinds of individualistic pursuits. Nevertheless, in both healthy and toxic environmentsan envious colleague might appear who wants to put a spoke in your wheel of progress.

“The harvest is always richer in another man’s field.”

-Ovid-

An envious person will look at you as if you’re completely worthless. They believe that you don’t deserve to be who you are, or have what you have. In fact, they think that they should have it.

Their actions are inspired by a misguided sense of righteousness. In fact, they don’t see themselves as envious colleagues but as avengers of justice. Here are five signs that identify these kinds of people.

1. They notice your mistakes but don’t care about your achievements

Generally, the people within your work environment are moderately attentive to what you do or say. Furthermore, from time to time they might comment on your mistakes, or compliment you on your achievements.

If someone appears to be extremely aware of what you do and frequently refers to your mistakes or the difficulties you might be having in your work, they may be an envious colleague. Even more so if, when you achieve something, they’re simply indifferent.

Having an envious co-worker can be a real problem

2. They obstruct your work

This is an unmistakable sign that you have an envious colleague. It’s never reasonable for someone to try and obstruct your work. Indeed, all members of an organization are supposed to share similar goals. For this reason, to obstruct the work of another means going against the organization itself.

These types of actions are only carried out when something else is at play. In this case, that something else is envy. Whoever feels it doesn’t care about hurting others or even hurting themselves. That’s so long as, in the end, they manage to negatively affect the person they envy. Therefore, if you notice that someone is deliberately obstructing your work, you can be pretty sure they’re envious.

3. They’re malicious about your progress

This happens when you’re the subject of a promotion or recognition. Many times, in a half-joking and half-serious manner, an envious colleague will try to sow doubts. In other words, they promote the idea that you obtained your promotion fraudulently or, in any case, that you certainly don’t deserve it.

They’ll probably make comments that imply that your achievement is due to you sucking up to the boss. Or, that you’re far too submissive or far too something or other, and that’s why you got the breakthrough. This is pure envy speaking, not reason.

4. They put down your ideas

People who consistently put down your ideas are also often envious. That’s because disqualifying what you think and say is a way of minimizing or even making your contributions to the workplace invisible. This satisfies their need to do harm, a traditional accompaniment to envy.

They’ll frequently try to boycott your actions. For instance, they’ll talk while you’re talking or they’ll interrupt you in the middle of an idea. Or, they might question in one way or another what you say. Sometimes they also try to ridicule you or they use a derogatory tone in which to make their objections.

Woman glaring at a female colleague

5. They’re hostile for no reason

You can always sense hostility, even though it’s sometimes not explicit. An envious colleague might choose to greet you sometimes and at others ignore you. They also tend to have a way of addressing you that can either be authoritative or impolite.

The most surprising thing for you may be the fact that you don’t remember ever having any real conflict or problem with this person. However, simply by their attitude, they’re evidently rejecting you. Even more confusingly, this can alternate with pleasant and sympathetic behaviors. Nevertheless, they’ll always exhibit just a hint of aggressiveness.

If you have an envious colleague, there’s not a great deal you can do. Because that person actually rejects the fact that you even exist. However, this has far more to do with them than you. The best response you can give is indifference, as long as the situation doesn’t get out of hand. If this happens, you need to act firmly and decisively and set some boundaries.

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  • León, R. (2002). Un estudio acerca de la envidia en los centros laborales en el Perú. Persona, (5), 147-165.