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Colleagues try to belittle my work

Dear Fiona, I’m employed within the civil service and enjoy my work but am being treated like I’m a nobody by two colleagues.

I’m a genuinely caring person who wanted to be a nurse but I decided to get a job straight after school. Now I am training in alternative therapies and love it. I’m finally in a caring role and I’m doing it for myself, even my manager’s very supportive and complimentary about my endeavours.

However, these women constantly belittle my qualifications and say they’d probably get the certificates without having read a book. I must be really annoying them to be getting treated like this.

Confused Girl, Lisburn Rd, Belfast

Dear Confused Girl,

People often feel they’re to blame when others behave nastily or inappropriately in some way towards them.

It really isn’t logical to think, ‘Oh, X is subdued today so I must have done something wrong’, so if you’re suffering from this thought process, it’s because of low self-esteem. It’s highly unlikely that idiosyncrasies in your personality are inciting them but you should consider the possibility they’re feeling threatened and are experiencing insecurity and jealousy.

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Jealousy because you’ve the disposable income, time, support (even from your manager) and the motivation to improve yourself.

You have shown courage and commitment to exploring something you feel passionately about whereas they’re possibly frustrated, unfulfilled, and too stuck in a rut to make changes.

Your manager’s positive appraisal and support, and the fact you’re expanding your skills base is undoubtedly fuelling their professional insecurity.

Some people resent other people’s success but that’s not your issue. And finally, as they’re not remotely educated in this arena, they’re in no position to provide criticism on these subjects.

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