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I suffer from professional envy. Argh, there she is again. How does she always get so many posts out? These thoughts race through my head as I scroll through my Instagram feed, which is becoming a gallery of people who are more successful professionally than me. I keep clicking on their profiles to see how many followers they are ahead of me. And because I just can't stop doing it, I involuntarily worked with Instagram's algorithm to put together my very own nightmare feed, which shows me every day people who do the same job as me, but are so much more successful at it. I'm not just jealous that they have more followers or make more money than me; no, apparently they just do more than me. It's really draining me creatively to do the absolute minimum work every week, and I don't understand how you can create so much so often. As a 32 year old writer, career coach, and consultant with over a decade of work experience, I know these feelings are complicated. Nevertheless, I measure success in terms of follower numbers, output and newsletter subscribers. I keep refreshing my pages as if I could magically increase the number of followers and subscribers. Then I put my phone aside for a few minutes, only to pick it up again shortly afterwards. And then I run into someone with a podcast who is much more successful than mine and has a brand new sponsor. When I listen to the podcast and there is advertising in between, it goes through my head how much money it has to bring in - but not for me. And then I can no longer concentrate on what the podcast is actually about. Before the pandemic, my creative career was going well and I made a good living from it. Since last year, however, marketing budgets have been throttled everywhere and sponsorship deals withdrawn. It feels like the limited resources are only going to a handful of people who have always been doing well. Success is definitely a pyramid, and I feel like I've slipped back down to the bottom. But it wasn't always like that for me. Before that, I was happy with my job; my job fulfills me and as a career coach I help people with problems such as the pressure to always want to compare themselves to others. But just because I know what to do about it doesn't mean I'll do it. And especially in the last few months of lockdown I have noticed that my professional envy is getting completely out of hand. I want the working version of the perfect life - money and professional fulfillment - and I have a hard time seeing those who have already reached that finish line. Although the corona restrictions are gradually being relaxed, my world remains very small and my work is at the center of my life. Because co-working, on-site meetings and live events are still missing in everyday life, my working life is no longer as intense as it used to be. For over a year we have existed primarily at home and online - and although I suddenly had more time than ever, I just didn't have the energy for everything. So I kept scrolling as my confidence fizzled out and my envy grew and grew. One of the symptoms of work-related burnout is disappointment in your job because you don't get what you put in. And how should we not feel like this after this past year? There are just fewer great professional opportunities than usual, and our efforts may sometimes seem completely pointless - after all, at some point we all get fed up with begging for more salaries in one email after another. Before the pandemic, things looked different for me. E-mails regularly fluttered into my mailbox, which opened up exciting opportunities and gave me the financial freedom to choose my projects myself as I pleased. We are all going through this pandemic right now, but our individual experiences with it differ depending on our personal circumstances. Precisely because of this, many have now developed a certain resentment towards those whose situation seems to be better than their own. For example, I am jealous of people who can afford a house with a garden, or whose work is not the bedroom, or of people with a steady full-time job and the security of a monthly wage. I also had more time to think about what I was hoping for in my life - and without a higher income I will never be able to achieve many of my wishes. I want the working version of the perfect life - money and professional fulfillment - and I have a hard time seeing those who have already reached that finish line. However, it is not only people who, like me, who work on the Internet notice a worsening envy of success. The 34-year-old Tamara *, brand manager in the healthcare sector, tells me: "My job has always been a high priority for me, but during the pandemic it became the focus of my life." to my colleagues: heavily criticized inside, ”she continues. “I've always done that, but now I've had so much more time to sit around and brood.” “In lockdown, we had the opportunity to question the meaning of our lives in many ways. What does our life mean to us? Are we fulfilled Are we developing our full potential? ”JODIE CARISS With one statement Tamara hits the mark with me:“ We all want to feel important and valuable - but especially during uncertain times. That's why I especially notice the envy when some job opportunities and projects are not going to me but to others. ”Like me, Tamara is especially jealous of the energy that some people seem to have - although studies have shown that we are locked down distracts, tired and slows down. “Sometimes I didn't want to show other people how exhausted I was, and then I was totally jealous of those who just smiled every day,” she says. "How does that even work ?!" I know exactly what she means. I'm still in a good mood at my (luckily rare) Zoom meetings, but when it comes to posting on social media, I stumble. I asked the psychologist and founder of the Mental Health Service Self Space, Jodie Cariss, if she could explain that to me. She says: “In lockdown we had the opportunity to question the meaning of our lives in many ways. What does our life mean to us? Are we fulfilled Are we developing our full potential? ”Jodie says, among her clients: inside and patient: there are many who are jealous of others, whose work obviously has a deeper meaning; others, however, are more likely to be jealous of the financial success of others. It seems to me that it is actually about the money, says Jodie. In lockdown, we notice the wealth of other people on social networks all the more. Therefore, Jodie emphasizes, it is important to keep in mind that these people there “had more time to put the image of themselves that they wanted to present to others in the right light - and that it distorted it Is an image that makes us doubt ourselves and our lives. Whether you feel bad for just sitting around at home and watching Netflix or not having a garden of your own, that jealousy is widespread. ”On top of that, Jodie says, we shouldn't ignore the economic uncertainty that the pandemic has brought about imposes on many of us. “A lot of people are very worried about their jobs right now,” she says. “This makes us think: Should I work all the harder to prove my own worth? Am i in a safe position? Oh man, look at this person who seems totally fulfilled, has a cool job and a great house. I wish I were in her place. ”Before speaking with Jodie, I was very ashamed to be so jealous of other people's professional successes. However, she showed me that I can turn this envy into a positive one. “What you don't say becomes more powerful over you,” she says. And with that thought, I decided to speak openly about my feelings. Jodie was right: Telling my friends about my problems helped me a lot, as did Jodie's advice to keep a diary of what my professional envy actually wants to tell me. As a result, I understood that it is important to me to be more active on social media in order to build a larger network for myself. So I adjusted my daily routine accordingly so that I always have a little time for social media in the morning. I also try to integrate more gratitude into my everyday life by celebrating the small steps at the end of each day that have brought me closer to major changes. Did my envy of success disappear as a result? No. I am not yet completely healed - after all, work is particularly strenuous right now and my life is not yet "normal" again. But now I can at least scroll through Instagram without letting other people's lives show me what is missing in my own life. And I think that's a real step forward. * Names have been changed by the editors. Like what you see? 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