Delphic Maxim 60 - Be Jealous of No One

Φθονει μηδενι

%sintable%| | ||-|-||Approximate transliteration|Fthonei Megeni||Direct translation|Envy Zero||Typical translation|Be Jealous of No Onemaxim-060-fn1|

When I started going to write about the Delphic Maxims, I wished that I had started a few months ago before so many others had started to themselves. For a while, this stopped me from writing about them. Of course, this was paradoxical: as I didn't write, more people started to. It was envy of being first that prevented me from doing what I wanted.

Source: Dilbert

Nearly every specific problem I have seen at my old job came from someone's envy. The one I remember best was when I first joined the company.

Around the middle of the summer, a woman was injured at work. Her hand or arm was injured enough that the doctor she saw said that she shouldn't go back to work for two weeks. The woman was already scheduled to take a vacation two weeks after her injury. She asked her boss if she could just cancel the vacation time as it was about to become time off due to personal injury. The boss had no problem with that. Why burn the vacation time if you couldn't be at work anyway?

While the woman was on vacation, a co-worker discovered what happened. The co-worker didn't like that the woman was "getting free vacation time" because her hand was broken. She demanded that she also get a week of free vacation time or the company would be sued. The company was already under legal scrutiny. The woman returned to find her boss explaining that her vacation time was used instead.

What did the co-worker gain from this? She was labeled the bitch of the office, and everyone she worked with hated her and didn't trust her anymore. Is a week of someone else's time, time that has nothing to do with you, worth becoming the pariah of the office? The co-worker couldn't have wanted that outcome.

I don't know what became of that woman. I didn't work in that department, and I wouldn't have risked talking to her anyway.

Rather than envying the woman, the co-worker could have just been happy they both had a boss that was helpful. She probably could have expected the same kindness if she was ever in a gray area situation, too, rather than becoming the bane of the office.

Source: Enframing Press

Be jealous of no one. It only leads to bad things. Others' achievements should cause inspiration, not hate. J.R.R. Tolkein's Lord of the Rings series inspired the entire modern fantasy genre. Patrick Bateman's desire to have the best of everything led to a messy, confusing, unfulfilled life.

maxim-060-fn1 Although "jealousy" and "envy" have become interchangeable over time in English, strictly speaking I am using the definition of envy in this context. This corresponds closer to "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods" rather than the fear of losing someone's affection e.g. a "jealous boyfriend."