Each workplace has an employee who constantly garners positive feedback from seniors. Don’t you simply envy him/her? Such comparisons amongst colleagues are inevitable but how you react to them will decide the fate of your career to a large extent.
Ankit and Gaurav were childhood friends who went to the same school, same college and in fact the same B school too. But once they got over with their MBA life took them to separate directions. While Ankit hit it off with a huge FMCG brand and bagged a great offer with a huge pay package, Gaurav got through a relatively medium level organization with a pay package that was not so boastful. And this is when Ankit’s quick success started getting on to Gaurav and he started feeling like a failure. And to add more to his insecurity the comparisons never stopped.
There are various kinds of career pressures that a working professional can face due to his/her peers. But, where do these pressures stem from? The pressure of building one’s career and comparison with peers starts right from one’s childhood. Parents inadvertently start comparing their children with respect to school grades, sporting abilities etc and the seed of peer pressure is sown right them. Peer pressure plays a very important role in how we work and do things. Typically, one could get influenced either positively or negatively by factors like growth (promotion of peers) compensation (salary differentiation with peers), opportunities (challenging assignment / type of work / on site opportunity / type of work / on site opportunity), capability insecurities at the workplace etc.
In a working environment , if one employees outperforms, others feel the pressure to do the same.
Experts say that keeping close tabs on your peers can have harmful effects on your career. Under such circumstances people with solid or even enviable careers can see themselves failures. It can effect negatively and play havoc in your personal and professional life. At times, it may result into low self esteem, low confidence depression, etc. Conversely, there are positive effects of social comparison too If the individual introspects and takes it as a challenge it may become a positive source for the individual to get charged and motivates the individual to overcome his areas of weakness, beat his peers and emerge as a winner..
Peer pressure is the human tendency to join the bandwagon in which the person loses his /her original way of looking at life. It can prove beneficial but it is most often observed to have negative effects on working professionals. Extreme peer pressure may lead them to follow what their peers feel right.
There can be a positive impact of peer pressure too. Peer pressure that arises out of a sense of self worth and need to improve can create a fruitful impact. A healthy competitive work environment can help build aspirations. In fact, if taken in the right spirit peer pressure can help individuals strive towards excellence at work.
So, how should a working professional go about dealing with peer career pressure and not let it have a negative impact on him /her? The next step is to identify and hone these skills and see how they can be leveraged best in the larger organizational context. Also, setting the right expectations and making realistic comparisons can help in gaining perspective.
For Joshi dealing with peer pressure is all about establishing your own values about life and the things that are important to you and in sticking to your own principles. It is imperative that one sets down goals for themselves and works towards achieving the same. In this way, the success of your peers will not deter your own sense of achievement. If one is able to compartmentalize his / her own beliefs and those of others and work towards attaining his /her objectives, he / she will be untouched by peer career pressure.
When people work together it is inevitable to get influenced impressed or at times get carried away. The only solution is introspection – building upon our strengths and working on our weakness. We need to develop a personality that absorbs the positives and discards the rest.
Hence rather than comparing yourself with your peers and feeling miserable try to use that energy to make yourself a better professional. Don’t get bogged down by looking at others. Instead carve you own niche and make your own journey to the top!