I recently joined the Engineering a very young company (3 years in business) who are doing very well in the market.

The existing team all came from another company after they had a massive exit. So almost everyone ended up making a fortune. Then, this new company did very well over the last 3 years and they have all multiplied their fortunes.

Since all of them were aware of the wealth they were building, the team is very open in terms of finances.

This is strange for me for multiple reasons, 1. This has not been my experience in other places where people are usually very secretive about wealth matters 2. I have nowhere near close to the amounts these guys talk about all the time

My co-workers are not too old from me in age, just a couple of years. This makes me feel quite inadequate despite making above market compensation in terms of skill set.

How do I get over this feeling of not having accomplished enough when the people I am comparing myself to sit just around me? If it were 1 or 2, I could have managed, but roughly 30/40 people in the team fall in this category. The remaining are mostly fresh college graduates.

I am very sure that they are not doing anything deliberately to make me feel anything. This has been a close bunch of people working together for a lot of years and so they are just open about these things.

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    I understand this situation can suck - it's natural to compare yourself to people close by. But the reality is, if you're being compensated fairly, there is no real workplace issue here. It's no different than "It turns out all my colleagues won the lottery". I don't see what workplace problem there really is to be solved - so VTC.
    – user81330
    Aug 14, 2019 at 16:22
  • Do you feel the same way about people who win the lottery?
    – sf02
    Aug 14, 2019 at 17:25
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    @sf02 I am not sure how I would feel about people winning the lottery because I personally don't anyone who has yet. I don't think that is the same comparison - a lottery is strictly based on luck. What my colleagues have, can be attributed to luck to some extent but I know they have put in the work to deserve every bit of it.
    – wplace
    Aug 14, 2019 at 19:39

5 Answers 5


How do I get over this feeling of not having accomplished enough when the people I am comparing myself to sit just around me

Set higher goals! Use it as motivation. You have a great opportunity to learn about how they handle their money and what lessons they learn with that stuff that will help you when you get to their level too.

Of course they're not trying to rub anything in your face. It's not personal.


How do I get over this feeling of not having accomplished enough when the people I am comparing myself to sit just around me?

The simple answer is to stop comparing your self to others.

This is really the only way to conquer this issue. People who have made a bit of money, especially as a group, will tend to talk about it. Be happy for them because this is not common and they are indeed lucky.

A step you can take for yourself is to focus on what you have accomplished, and what you plan to accomplish in the future.

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    I will also add. If your coworkers are so open about their wealth, they might also be open about how they invest and accumulate more wealth. I would learn as much as I can from them.
    – jcmack
    Aug 14, 2019 at 16:16
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    @jcmack: The fact that they got lucky with which startups they joined doesn't mean that they're good at money management or that you should take their investment advice, though. I would be very wary of trying to learn anything about money from them. Aug 15, 2019 at 0:52
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    @user2357112 Exactly. Obligatory xkcd "Survivorship Bias": xkcd.com/1827 Aug 15, 2019 at 7:22
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    I would actually take the opportunity to get more information from them how they did it and what would they suggest for me to accomplish the same. If it's bothering you, it means you want in, so why not use the situation to your advantage?
    – Chapz
    Aug 15, 2019 at 9:19

Are you generally happy at work? Are you satisfied with your salary? Are you happy in your personal life? Do you find fulfillment outside of work? If so, who cares what everyone else's financial situation is?

I make more than a lot of people. I make less than a lot of people.

I'm better off than a lot of people. I'm not better off than a lot of people.

I don't measure my success by comparing it to someone else's, and my happiness isn't dependent upon how my life and finances compare to someone/everyone else.

Stop comparing yourself from a have/have not perspective. What brings you happiness? What makes you joyful? Focus on those things. External factors and comparisons will not lead to happiness.

Additionally, if someone comes upon their success through their own efforts then never begrudge them that.


It’s all about perspective. Instead of thinking about how sad it is that you don’t have as much money as your coworkers, think about how lucky you are to have so many successful peers who can share their wisdom with you. A lot of people would love to be in your situation. I know I would.


Change your perspective on success in life

I was in a similar situation, although my peers made about the same as me most of them were 5-8 years younger. I also felt somewhat inadequate - how had I squandered my time, if I was not "further along" despite taking 6 more years ?

After serious pondering, I evaluated my life decisions and tried to set up my goals. And my most important goal was quality time, personal happiness and fulfillment. I did find these in my university degree, where I took some extra time to study abroad because I enjoyed the experience. I also chose my jobs for work-life balance and personal fulfillment with what I do. I could've done things differently to make more money, but I identified that was not and is not my primary goal.

Identify your personal goals and priorities in life and evaluate how good your decisions match to these goals. And if making money is not in the top 3 of your current and past goals just see the situation as if they were all part time iron-man runners and ripped as hell. And know that if you made it a priority above other things in your life you could also get there, but comparing yourself like in a race doesn't work.

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