What Do You Envy?

Are you envious of the guy who has started his own restaurant? What about the attorney who has argued a case before the Supreme Court (this is one of the examples in Quiet)? How about the friend who is a stay-at-home mom by day, painter by night with happy kids and her art in galleries all over the country? Maybe you’re jealous of the teacher who inspires you when she talks with passion about what the students in her class are learning. You wish you had that kind of passion.

In reading, Quiet- The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, I came across another great question to ask in determining work values: What do you envy?

We are taught to see jealousy as an unbecoming trait, but the author, Susan Cain, is so insightful in her reasoning for examining what you envy as a way to identify what she describes as your “personal projects.” She states, “Jealousy is an ugly emotion, but it tells the truth. You mostly envy those who have what you desire.”

Work and life values should be a key driver of career choice because they impact career satisfaction. There a host of questions (and assessment tools), which can help identify a person’s work values, but maybe the best place to start is by examining a feeling that we are discouraged from seeing as valuable.

What do you envy?

Mary Ila Ward

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