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Anne Zimmerman

Anne Zimmerman

June 23, 2015

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Competition at Work

There she is, sitting at her neatly organized desk in her too-cute outfit. The Other Woman. No, no. I’m not talking about that kind of other woman—the husband stealing, boyfriend smooching other woman. I’m talking about the other woman at work. You know, the one you subconsciously compete with all the time.

Don’t shake your head, you know it’s true. A guy gets hired at work and everything is cool—here’s a new friend to bounce ideas off of and commiserate with. He might even be date-able. But a woman? A new woman at work represents all of our deepest fears. Once confident, we’re suddenly worried that we aren’t ambitious, talented, or smart enough. What if they like her better than me?

It doesn’t have to be a competition. In fact, dare I say it, you might even become friends with the new girl. Or at the very least, a team that gets things done. Here’s how to get beyond the jealousy.

Focus on the big picture. Sure they hired someone new—and she’s your age and equally well educated and experienced. But they hired her to work in accounting. You write press releases. Can she really be that big of a threat?

Strategize. If she was hired to work in your department at a job that sounds strangely similar to yours, think before you stab her in the back or go crying to the boss. Get to know her better and learn what her goals are. This could be the partner in crime you’ve been looking for, the one other person in the world who wants to start a PR business representing bad-boy chefs. How would you know this if spent all your time plotting against her?

Don’t let her get you. Let’s assume the worst, that the other woman at work is evil. She wants your job, your paycheck, heck she’d even like your dog. She’d difficult to work with and a complete kiss-up. Again, breathe deep. There are two ways to deal with this situation. One is to HATE her. Your performance may slip and your positive outlook will go down the drain, but at least you can blame this on the fact that you hate your co-worker. Or, you could take the high road. Consider her a challenge, and if she’s a challenge that you just aren’t willing to take on, review your options. Take it as a sign that maybe it’s time for you to move on, ask for a raise, or pursue an MBA. Whatever it is, make sure the choice is for you, not for her.