“Look in the mirror. That’s your competition.” – someone on the Internet

Ah, another day, another quote. The one above I found somewhere back in time on LinkedIn, and after searching for a bit I could not find an original author for it. I did however find it on lookupquotes.com.

I have a love-hate relationship for this one, because it’s not all bad…but it’s not all good either.

The quote is meant for those people who tend to get disheartened when comparing themselves to others based on their performance in a certain field and realizing that other people are better than them. Here’s the problem with it. Up to a certain point, you HAVE to compare yourself to others around you. I know it’s been proven that competitiveness in school is bad for people and that teamwork should be more encouraged and bla bla, but when it comes down to a certain defining moment e.g. a job interview, you HAVE to have a good argument as to why you are better than other candidates. And more often than not, the other candidates are people just like you, probably from the same college as you, and you kinda need to know where you rank in the pecking order. And that is done by comparison (of course, where possible, I’m not suggesting stalking them or anything…we’re not Sting).

That being said, once you do get a job, it’s best to adopt this attitude where possible, both as manager and as an employee. Sadly there are many companies that still encourage competitiveness, mostly in sales, especially those based on commission. Because even though the end goal is the same, sell as much as you can, why not play a game? Of course, I’ve seen tech companies encourage such behavior, and this is a thing I’ll never get. Much as will never get why there are so many different levels of programmers, but that’s another rant for another day I guess.

In the end, this attitude is not all that bad as I’ve said. The key is to know when to adopt it and when not.

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