There’s such a thing as healthy competition—you know, the kind that fosters good working relationships at the office—and then there's just plain old rivalry. While some companies encourage both, there is a downside to an “up or out” environment at work. According to Fortune Magazine, employees may spend more time trying to outmaneuver their colleagues instead of coming up with ideas for the greater good. They may also end up underperforming as people who know that they're being ranked often do. Either way, it doesn't take much for things to spiral out of control. Here, signs that you’re just too competitive.
1. You stop playing fair.
Sure, you’re still playing by the rules now, but it won’t be long before you start bending, and eventually breaking, them. Niccolò Machiavelli did say that the end justifies the means. If impressing your boss means having to cheat your way to the top, then you’ll just have to be careful not to get caught, right? Not quite. If there’s anything we’ve learned from the past, it’s that things always have a way of biting you back in the end.
2. You see everything as a race.
You feel like you always have to be the first to volunteer, the first to get your boss their coffee, the first to arrive at work, and the list goes on and on. At the rate you’re going, however, we wouldn’t be surprised if you end up being the first to exhaust yourself. Not everything is a race. Pace yourself. While you get brownie points for being proactive, you’re useless if you end up fainting just before the finish line.
3. You kill other people’s ideas from the get-go.
Even if their suggestions have merit, you shoot them down. This isn’t just the fastest way to lose potential allies; this also puts you in a bad light in front of your boss. Someday, you’re going to need people to listen to your ideas, and if you want them to be considered, you’re going to have to play nice.
4. You let things get personal.
You’ve become so competitive that you’ve started to compare your personal life with your co-workers’. The fact that you have a better car or nicer clothes makes you feel like you have something over them. News flash: You’ve lost sight of your goal.
5. You can no longer stand to eat lunch with them.
It’s hard to eat your baon with people whom you see as rivals. The very thought of sharing the same table with them makes you want to throw up. Ease up on the competitiveness a little. Remember, two heads are better than one and that great minds think alike.
6. You become overly sensitive.
Every little remark your co-workers make will feel like a jab at you or your performance. As a result, you can end up second guessing yourself or overthinking things. Don’t let their offhand comments affect you. Focus on doing your best and everything else will fall into place.
7. You have a kill list.
You actually see your co-workers as enemies who need to be taken down. In your head, you already have an elaborate plan to discredit them in front of your boss. Instead of hoping you do well, you hope they do worse. If this is how you plan to think in the long run, we don’t really see you going very far.
(Flashbox photo from Bridesmaids courtesy of Solar Entertainment)