“Wonder Woman Files” is a weekly career column on Madame Noire. Stay tuned for more topics, comment or write us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have suggestions!
We all know there’s bound to be someone one rung above us on the career ladder, someone who is a step or two ahead on the way up. But what happens when the heel you’re staring at is on your girlfriend’s foot?
No woman wants to admit it out loud but seeing friends making big career moves can leave us unsettled and insecure. Instead of helping each other along the way, the race to the top can have sisters acting like crabs in a barrel. And if we all know better, why do treat each other this way?
Being in a career rut can feel like an eternity when the people you love begin to rise higher and make bigger moves. It’s not that we don’t want the best for them or that we aren’t happy for their success, the true problem is that in a time when we can feel stuck, other people’s progress seems to shine a light on our own stagnancy.
Status anxiety seems to have only been made worse by Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn- our social networks that make the career mad race into exacerbated life competition. For the professional minded, it can be easy to disregard the folks posting statuses about how they’re “ballin’” and “counting stacks,” but there’s that little green tinge when an old classmate lands a promotion or gets some exposure we didn’t see coming.
To be completely candid, I’ve had to experience the effects of “status anxiety” from both sides. And while being the celebratory high-scorer beats being the reluctant cheerleader, I’ve found there is value in both.
Sometimes the competition in our social circles can serve as a positive motivator to push ourselves harder, to go further.
We may not realize it, but seeing people with whom we’re familiar move ahead can help us snap out of the thought that ‘maybe things like that don’t happen to people like me.’
On the other hand, when doors begin to open in our lives it’s important to remember the times when they seemed like they were closed tight and for us to help someone pry them open. There’s no better time to be a gracious friend than a moment when it has not been called for. Extending a hand or lending an ear to a fellow Madame can help lift her up and may even push you further along.
If we learn to handle it the right way, we can raise the bar without using it to put a wedge in our relationships. Maybe it’s time we embrace the fabulous women we all are and turn our status anxiety into positive pressure. We can only go up from here.