What can you do to improve your work situation if a colleague at the same level seems to get special treatment? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Erin Berkery-Rovner, Career Advisor, Former Recruiter, on Quora:

What can you do to improve your work situation if a colleague at the same level seems to get special treatment?

Depending on your circumstances many things could work, but here are a few things to try. Many are centered around perceptions, just an FYI.

  • Keep up your own work regardless!
  • Ask them for advice, it's highly possible that they are getting special treatment for a reason. Also often they don't know (I know they can be hard to believe but it's true) and I've seen instances where it was pointed out and the person receiving special treatment had it corrected.
  • Treat them (and all those around you) like a field study. Are you treated differently than others? Perhaps you are given benefits you don't see. Try to identify those and help others if that's the case (since that is what you'd most likely prefer to happen to you). This is a problem but without collecting evidence objectively it can be difficult to find a solution.
  • Find people around you who you can make their workday better. This will not improve your situation (although 9 times out of 10 having a better network at work will make you feel better) but sometimes it does.
  • Identify how your work (not you personally) would benefit from this treatment. Make notes on your productivity. You should bring these to your review. This only applies to the work, not you feeling better.
  • Ask about mentorship options.
  • Go to professional organizations in your field and ask about mentorship, with specifics you can often identify small things to do.
  • Mirror the person getting special treatment, as I mentioned earlier they could be getting special treatment due to their performance.
  • Make small changes to your workday. If you normally get coffee at 2:15, consider taking a walk around the block instead. Often making changes is linked to creative problem solving and if you are stuck in a pattern there types of changes are important although they seem trivial.
  • Create an action plan to overcome this situation. The goal is to improve your work and output so much that the preferential treatment won't matter.
  • Remind yourself of your hard work: frame your success in the light that you had to work harder to get it, this will help you as you apply to promotions and for other jobs.
  • Learn about conflict resolutions, read books on communication and implement the strategies. If nothing else, How to Win Friends and Influence people.
  • Volunteer in something unrelated inside or outside of work. It will help to put things in perspective.
  • Find a healthy way to let out your frustration. Sometimes you just need a punching bag, a long run, a cupcake or whatever works for you. If you have no method, start finding one now.
  • Look to your future self: all of your peers will move up and out in different ways. This person probably annoys you now, but they could be a good contact after you've left the company. Reframing to think of them as a networking asset in the future can improve how you perceive what's going on now.

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Published on: Jan 28, 2019