Yup, that just happened. Even if it’s not your EXACT dream job, it seems like it. They just signed on for a full time gig: salary, benefits, cubicle, coffeemaker in the kitchen, all that grown-up job-y stuff.
What do you do? In one way you’re happy for them, “Yeah, they’re my friend… Good for them… The economy must be picking up, I’ll get a job in no time… This means I’ll get better Christmas presents…” (obviously my mind wanders, my train of thought is often exhaustingly annoying). But, on the other hand, that little devil on your shoulder is screaming, “WHY NOT ME!!!!” Often, you have gone through school with these people, attended the same networking events, applied for the same positions, and all you can think is, “Aren’t I just as good?”
Instead of giving you all the obligatory, encouraging “your day will come” statements, I plan on giving you some advice you can actually use. You have to keep in mind that although they have started a bit ahead of you, they are still your peer and you may need to call on their help and connections one day, so you must keep the relationship a good one.
Generally, I have discovered that a hearty congratulations will usually suffice in this situation, but how you look when you hear their exciting news is what it really comes down to. It’s all about how you control your facial expressions.
Acceptable “Happy” Faces:
Stay Away From These:
If you keep your face plastered in one of the first category expressions, you’ll probably make it out of the situation with most of your dignity intact. Immediately following the interaction you need to calm yourself down and get back to basics, this usually will require either a beer or glass of wine. However, I highly encourage you to politely decline to grab celebratory drinks with this person, lest you embark upon an alcohol-infused evening of explaining to all the patrons of the bar that someday you will make it too.