Make sure to have at least one hand covering your face if you find yourself ready to spar at work.
Now of course this isn’t literal, since fighting in the workplace can have worse consequences than a black eye or a bloody nose. Think of the reference to being on your toes and at the ready at all times. This can be with witty banter, a pitch that improves on your co-workers last effort, or maybe it’s consistently meeting all your deadlines on time; unlike your peers.
Maintaining a healthy level of competition can keep things lively in what could otherwise be a drone-like environment. You don’t want to think of work simply as a paycheck, so don’t view a challenge as something cut-throat or the “be all end all”.
Recently we had a writing contest at work. Everyone had an opportunity to submit work that would be judged by peers, and with the few that participated witter banter and competition ensued. As long as your comments don’t get too aggressive it’s perfectly fine to tease a co-worker, but it would be best to follow up the joke or tease with a compliment on their work. Be supportive of their efforts, and they may do the same. Unless you’re a one person island it helps to have people working around you that believe in you and would stick out their neck for you.
With that said, competitiveness can extend to job promotions, project assignments, or even favoritism. In something as sensitive as a job promotion it would serve you well to put your best foot forward. Throwing your “rival” under the bus may help change the way the boss views them, but it could alsoÂ alter how they see you in a negative way. In this case you should mind your own business, and let your hard work and innovation do the talking for you.
Even with being in cut-throat fields like writing, marketing, advertising, and medicine you should be mindful of when it’s time to take the gloves off. Just because you feel like someone is being unfairly promoted or getting preferential treatment don’t broadcast your feelings to a big audience. For all you know what you’re running on is emotion, not facts. Unless you can prove that this person is not doing their job and dumping work off on other people than you should stay out of the ring and in your cube, or office. Just remember what you came to work to do that day, not who you came to work to “destroy.”