The 'work enemy': you keep an eye on him all day long and you get annoyed at everything he does. Is that rivalry motivating or especially childish?
The chance that you have such a work enemy is likely. A British survey among more than seven thousand employees showed that six in ten people have a "work enemy."
Friends at work were there too, but a lot less: two in ten employees said they had a close friendship in the workplace. So we are three times more likely to be annoyed by a colleague than to become friends with him or her, according to the results of this study.
Why you need an arch rival
Annoying an office enemy is just what you need to make office life bearable, says British journalist and writer Elle Hunt. She wrote the book Why everyone needs a nemesis , or Why everyone needs an arch rival .
If you choose a colleague as arch enemy, office life becomes a kind of television show, the journalist says, and that gives you less the feeling of being a wage slave with a monotonous life.
"If you choose a colleague as arch enemy, office life becomes a kind of television show." Elle Hunt
"As an ambitious and sometimes quite childish person, I know that an imagined competition with people who are probably not involved with me at all motivates me."
Searching for enmity has a psychological function, shows American scientific research at the University of Kansas. By considering yourself as someone with important enemies, we feel we have control over potential dangers.
Lying and commenting
According to Totaljobs' research, that office enemy, opponent or arch-rival is usually of the same gender as you, and the cooperation between you was once very good. Until something happened.
There are two main reasons why after a while we designate someone to be an office enemy: we can't stand it if someone distorts the truth to get it right and also comment on the work performance of others is a reason to designate someone to be an enemy. .
"Choosing an enemy at the office ensures sham security." Lodewijk van Ommeren
Finding that rivalry and pointing out a work enemy: those are rather childish office emotions. That is what Lodewijk van Ommeren says, as director of consultancy and training agency Bureau Zuidema, training companies in effective communication.
"Seeing your colleague as a rival may help you to become more motivated, but in the end it won't help you. Rivals must be eliminated, and that seems to me a costly loss of energy."
Competing with someone can be enormously stimulating, says Van Ommeren. But office work is not top sport. "Choosing an enemy in the office ensures sham security. You create cliques and clubs in the workplace with it. That is really an unhealthy working environment that does not benefit anyone."
Are you bothered by someone? Then change yourself
If you really need an office enemy, says Van Ommeren, focus on your competitor. "That enemy that is sitting in front of you will not change itself. If someone is bothering you: look in the mirror and change your own behavior."
The benefits of a work enemy, apart from the feeling that they make your office day more interesting, there are hardly any: around 8 percent of those surveyed in the British study say that the work enemy motivates and makes them more involved in the organization. More than 70 percent go looking for a new job thanks to the office enemy.
Van Ommeren: "The positive thing about a competitive environment with rivals is that you bring out the best in yourself. But then focus that energy on an external goal, not to be able to measure yourself against a colleague."