August 17, 2010

Jealousy, Haters, and Success: Lessons to Live By

I am pretty successful at what I do. While I'm not well-known outside a small group of people, I consider myself an expert in certain areas, highly competent at others, and I know where I need improvement. It's confidence, not narcissism.

I feel lucky at the moment to not be well known because it seems that becoming popular means an equal amount of hate (really jealousy) as adoration. What bothers me about this is that the hate is often completely unwarranted. Those who know little about a person let their preconceived notions stew and fester and this may lead to very unprofessional public "hating".

Hating is uncool and here's why:

1. A potential hiring manager won't want you on the team.
2. You look like a jerk.
3. Hating can be scary for the person on the receiving end.
4. Hating can be misconstrued as a threat (in extreme circumstances) and this is definitely bad for your career.
5. You'll look like a jealous fool.

You may wonder where this is coming from so I'll vaguely explain. I've witnessed the rise of a few awesomely talented people with amazing experiences in just a few career-years. Because they lack a 20-year work history, they may be considered less experienced than others, and subsequently, the hating begins. This is jealousy. It's unnecessary, it's rude, and it's ridiculous.

Successful people don't need to be 50 years old with a 30 year career in a specialized field. Many successes stem from a youthful, energetic, and open-minded view. Whether 30 years or 5 years, success stems from how well you handle projects, how you communicate, and the level of trust and respect from your peers. Successfully popular people often are charismatic and perhaps that is what others are jealous of. I can't speak for the haters but I can say what it looks like - jealously to an extreme.

If you find yourself wanting to flame someone you think is undeserving of popularity, stop and think before you post on twitter, a blog, facebook, etc. It's public. Do you really believe what you are saying? Do you know the whole story? Step back and respond with the intention to dialog.

What's better than being a juvenile meanie? Being a communicative adult.

Wrong: "Why are you the authority?"
Right: I'd love to hear more about the projects you've worked on. Do you have time to chat this week?

Wrong: "How come you are so popular?"
Right: "How have you used networking to build a rapport? I'd love to learn more."

Wrong: "You suck."
Right: "I don't understand your background. Would you mind walking me through how you got where you are today?"

I don't care if you are right out of school or the CEO, be courteous at all times because you never know who's watching. I certainly am and at least to myself, my family, and my friends, I am important. That's what matters. Haters don't matter at all.


Gary J. Anderson said...

Well said, Samantha, well said. It is always better to make a friend than an enemy, so when possible, why would someone ever want to do the latter?

Like you suggest in your examples, I think whenever we can ask questions rather than making statements, our overall understanding and any underlying relationships are all-the-better for it.

Lori Widelitz-Cavallucci said...

Bravo Samantha! I couldn't have stated it better myself and thank you for writing this. This is a topic which has bugged me of late and you are so spot on with it.

You are so right about the different ways to ask questions which are much more acceptable and don't come across so aggressive.