The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received

By: Alli Kelly

I have worked the same job for seven years. That’s a really long time for a millennial with our reputation of non-committal behavior. Within seven years, I have been promoted twice and now sit in the highest position attainable without running the building. When I was promoted to assistant manager, I was given the best piece of professional advice I have ever received.

My boss looked at me and said, “I know you think you have a lot of friends here, but with this promotion, you will see who your real friends are. And it will be painful to see those you thought were friends turn against you.”

This was totally shocking to me and at first I didn’t believe it. What do you mean I’ll find out who my friends are? I already know who my friends are! But what I hadn’t realized at the time is that personal growth can make people envious and envy can make people ugly and mean. As I’m sure you can assume, I found this out the hard way.

I didn’t see it at first. Everyone seemed excited for me, until one of my “friends” came up to me during a shift and said, “Oh, by the way, congratulations. Although I’m not really sure why you got promoted…” I stood there with my mouth wide open, unable to speak and completely amazed at the level of immaturity my friend was displaying. Needless to say, he and I are only acquaintances now; he never learned how to respect my new position and that is a shame.

Questioning the people you associate yourself with is just one of the side effects of a negative reaction to your promotion. Most of us like to give people the benefit of the doubt and hope that when someone calls you their friend, they will treat you kindly. A real friend is someone who will be happy for you, regardless of their personal feelings. It can be hard to get over ourselves, but when it comes down to it, that’s what a real friend does.

In the future, when you find yourself working your tail off and receiving promotions for the hard work you have done, relish in the joy. Don’t feel bad for a second about your personal gain just because someone has a sour attitude about it, (keep in mind that becoming an ego-tripping monster will cause you to lose friends as well, so don’t let it go to your head too much). It is in the best times and in the bumpy times that we see who we can count on. As Tim McGraw song goes, “you find out who your friends are.”

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