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Mel Kenny: Getting over professional envy

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I was recently talking to someone years my junior about the so-called modern problem of the ‘quarter life’ crisis.

The problem is exacerbated by ‘happy happy’ social media that can make your own life seem boring and unsatisfactory. 

Comparing oneself to the unrealistic images projected by social media can worsen low self-esteem and even lead people who suffer from it to seek comfort in others facing the same struggles, sometimes leading to terrible outcomes.

Log on to Facebook or Twitter and, depending on your ‘friends’ list, you can be hit with a barrage of happiness – unless, of course, a tragedy has befallen them, such as their latte being cold or their train being five minutes late.

Of course, sometimes you want to see your best friend’s wedding photos or holiday snaps and feel happy for them but what about those other people you don’t really know or care about?

They just invite comparisons and dissatisfaction with your own lot. Now add to this the fact that what you see are edited highlights – trailers for a life that, just like the films, is remarkably inferior to the advertisement. This unhealthy competition is worse because photoshopped highlights are tough to beat.

This effect is true in financial services too. All those marvellous online articles about how wonderful business is, how other advisers just need to do things properly and stop complaining. 

Who wants to project a negative image of themselves, though? Nobody.

This is your professional reputation on the line and you can only be seen as either the perfect paragon of excellence in the industry or a loser. That’s your choice.

Except me. Everything I say is the absolute truth, obviously.

So what can readers of these articles do to protect themselves from professional envy? Personally, I love to read the comments under the articles. A more realistic perspective soon emerges. OK, some people are just having a moan, but still, it makes me chuckle.

Life is not a straight line.

Hassles come in all sorts of forms, whether it be home life, an employee at work, annoying compliance – or maybe a new piece of legislation has made you redundant. 

It’s important to keep the passion and conviction.

Maybe some feel the pressure to conform to new super-hip systems when in fact they are already happy with something that works for them and their clients. 

Just remember that the guy telling everyone how he’s just changed the world and is the best adviser ever has possibly also just lost an important client, made a mess of a report – and now has to stay three hours later at work to fix it – thinks he’s ugly when he looks in the mirror and stubbed his toe getting out of bed this morning.

But he’s also a brilliant adviser, doing the best he can for his clients and he might just have a great idea to impart to you on his latest blog post.

Mel Kenny is chartered financial planner at Radcliffe & Newlands 

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