I wrote a shorter version of this post on friendships and success for anyone who has wanted to support a friend making career progressions, but had to deal with their own emotions first. I have been there before, so it came from the heart. Here goes:
Ok, let’s talk truths, there are times when you feel ‘some kinda way’ about your friend’s career achievements because you haven’t gotten to your own place of fulfilment yet, career wise.
I have been there.
After university, when some of my friends were getting top grad jobs, in big renowned organisations, I was still figuring out my next plan. I was sending out CV’s, applying to far away cities, anything to get my leg in the door. I really should have applied and tried to secure internships after my first and second year, but somehow I had convinced myself that everything would be OK. I had been so worried about the future in those years, it made me nervous to even put in the beginning stages of preparation, by trying to get an internship.
I paid for those nerves during my first year as graduate with no job. Once I got a rejection email from a careers fair! Careers fair where you meet employers 😂😭😭. That was not a happy moment.
In those days, I would hear my friends happy career news – it started with job, then next promotion, and my first human emotion was a twinge of hurt about my own situation; I still didn’t have a job.
That experience taught me that you do have to accept this hurt (the human emotion itself is not a bad thing), but you do not have to entertain it (that’s when you throw yourself a pity party and sit at the party for months). I did not do that.
I found it in me to be happy about their news, (if you want it to come it will come) and celebrate with them, like I knew I would want when my time came.
My time came, I got that great job and they celebrated with me too!
But now, I understand the emotions of waiting for your own.
I understand the psychological battles and the warfare going on in your head when you go to celebrate with your firiends, while still worried about your current situation and what your future situation will look like.
So, if you feel like your friend who is not quite ‘there’ yet’, in that career building position she wants to be, is being a bit ‘off’ with you, and you think it might be because they are not in that place that maybe you have come into: be patient, be tolerant, and sensitive, if you can. But remember, nobody wants pity.
And to friend who is not there yet: find it in you to celebrate, you would want the same too. It helps to keep thinking about that.
Women supporting women is not always a candy floss party, as some instagram posts will have you believe. It can be hard and demand from us, what feels like too-much emotionally. But it’s a two way street that can be very rewarding, too, when you’re getting the support & celebration.
I am a Woman Supporter, but it’s not a perfect story! This is one story that illustrates the tensions involved in being a woman supporter.
How do you deal with success when friends are not supportive? Or have you been in the position where you had to support your friends but it was difficult because you were still waiting on your ‘own’? Maybe you or someone you know is going through this?
Please share details in the comments below.