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I work in the Programming industry. I hired a guy to work with me. He was older although had a great resume and I couldn't understand why he was unemployed for so long. He explained later that he thought it was ageism. I didn't care; I just thought he would help me step up my department's output. Well, 2 years later, the department output has greatly increased... and he's been making my life hell. Simply put, he wants my job.

He complains to higher-up's that he's more qualified and outputs projects faster. The quality of our projects is equal, although he does output projects faster than me. Not a lot faster, although faster. I make more money as I've been there many years longer. He's received yearly merit raises, although he told me that knowing that I make more money than him really makes him angry. He's actually on the same path as myself regarding salary.

The work environment has slowly become toxic. I've been trying to stay positive and stay focused although his anger and need to always push past me has me worried. I've noticed I'm becoming less confident and have been losing sleep over this. I started to look for other positions although nothing comes close to my current salary. I have a family and seriously can't afford to jump ship.

The higher-up's have noticed that his output is faster and have joked with me in meetings that it looks like I need to step up my game. I laugh it off although I feel like I'm sinking. I meet all of my deadlines although I've noticed that I've been putting in longer hours to get things in faster. I feel the constant weight of stress that I can't seem to shake. I used to enjoy my job now I find myself always looking in the rear view mirror.

closed as unclear what you're asking by solarflare, J. Chris Compton, JazzmanJim, gnat, sf02 Jan 24 at 16:12

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    Are you his manager or are you coworkers? – Sandra K Jan 23 at 2:37
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    Is this kind of aggressive competition common at your workplace or is it just this one guy? – AffableAmbler Jan 23 at 3:03
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    And the issue is..? – solarflare Jan 23 at 3:09
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    It was my idea to expand the dept and I did the work to bring in candidates to interview. That said, we are co-workers. I am not his manager although I have a senior title as I have been there longer. The aggressive competition is not common at this company, it's just this one guy. Solarflare... Not sure if this new constant stress is common. Maybe I've just been lucky over my career. – Stephen Summers Jan 23 at 4:23
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    He is your co-worker? So, you are both team leads? And the issue is that his team is more productive? In any case, as long as there is enough work for one, not that someone has to go, I would not be too concerned. – Mawg Jan 23 at 8:05
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Look at it from his perspective. He is by your estimation delivering more code of the same quality as someone who has a senior title and getting paid less for his efforts. That's going to be tough for most people to accept so it makes sense that he'd be raising concerns to management.

How is it that he knows that you make more than he does and that you know what he makes and what raises he gets? Since you're coworkers rather than acting as his manager, that's unusual. And one of the reasons that sharing salary information can be problematic-- people tend to get jealous if they know they're making less than someone they see as delivering less value to the company and most people have an overinflated sense of where they rank in the hierarchy (the same way that very few people think they are below average drivers). It's hard to put that genie back into the bottle now, unfortunately, though you can presumably stop sharing salary information going forward.

One option would be to join him in suggesting to management that since you're both delivering equal value, it would be appropriate to give him more than a merit raise. If he's delivering the same value that you are, he realistically deserves the same title and the same paycheck. That would probably go a long way to making him see you as an ally rather than someone that he has to compete with.

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    I like the last paragraph. This is exactly how it should be dealt with. – red-shield Jan 23 at 6:55
  • I don't understand how he "wants your job" if you're both functionally equivalent coworkers. If he wants a "Senior" title and/or raise, that doesn't really imply that you two are in any sort of conflict - versus, say, if you were his manager and he was an individual contributor. – dwizum Jan 23 at 13:02
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he told me that knowing that I make more money than him really makes him angry

Just tell him his salary isn't up to your discretion so it's no use getting angry with you, he needs to take it up with management.

As for the rest, you're meeting your deadlines, you have seniority and he's a colleague not an underling, he can't take your job, it's the same job he already has just that you get paid more, which is none of his business. So don't stress.

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    +1 to this. If the two of you are effectively co-workers with no management/supervisory relationship, then, really, you should both just mind your own business. Focus on the quality and pace of your own work and ensuring that you are delivering satisfactory results. If he wants to waste time or energy comparing himself to you, that's his problem, you don't have to make it your problem. – dwizum Jan 23 at 13:08
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    Also - if the situation really has become confrontational, the one thing I would add to Kilisi's answer would be: look for opportunities to help each other. Instead of worrying about him being better than you, look for opportunities to learn from where you're different. – dwizum Jan 23 at 13:09

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