How to Cope With Favoritism at Work (When You're Not the Favorite)

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k
May 30, 2024 at 10:49AM UTC

“I am so tired of the favoritism at work,” a Fairygodboss member recently wrote on the community feed. “Clearly I am being treated like I don’t exist unless something is needed. If I were in the 'it' group, people would be responsive….Favoritism runs rampant in this office and others have mentioned it among their groups….I am over it and sick and tired of being ignored.”

Favoritism is, well, unfair, but unfortunately, it’s something many people have had to deal with at work. What should you do if you encounter it?

1. Have a conversation with your manager.

“I would have a conversation with your manager and ask if you could work on special projects or an area that would align with some growth and development,” Vanda Lee wrote. “start the conversation and see what options there may be. If that doesn’t offer some relief, move on.”

It’s important to make yourself heard (politely). After all, it’s possible that the favoritism is inadvertent or has gone unnoticed by management.

2. Work on your own growth.

Because the original poster mentioned that they have a strong relationship with their manager, other members of the community encouraged them to leverage this. 

“That is YOUR advantage!” one Fairygodboss member wrote. “That is YOUR power. Get with your manager and outline goals and growth that you want to make and utilize to impact a strong organization.  Keep regular 1:1s with your manager with updates and how to include your coworker as a mentee. You and your manager are the senior (role and tenure) staff with experience and history.  Push yourself up — with advice, programs, efficiencies, policies, etc. — along with your manager.”

3. Focus on what you can control.

You can’t control how others behave; you can only control what you do. 

“I like to think there are things under my control that I can act upon,” Maria Paula Calvo wrote. “So, I look for those things and focus there, and that provides me a sense of satisfaction that I am building a better person out of myself whenever and wherever I can. And what is not under my control, I just try to live with or by it.”

4. Prepare your exit.

Of course, in some instances, this may just be the wrong environment for you. In that case, it’s probably time to leave.

To prepare for your exit, brush up on your skills, and continue to put forth energy and effort into your current role, so as not to burn any bridges. 

Anna Hughes McCoy, a recruiter, offers these tips as well:  “If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile (or if it’s not very detailed about your experience, don’t have a good headshot, etc.) now is the time to update it and make sure to indicate you’re ‘Open to Work.’ After you update your LinkedIn profile, search for recruiters who specialize in the industry you have experience in, connect with them and see if they have any job opportunities available that could be a good fit. 

“Resume: Remove dates of when you graduated from college, list your previous 15 years of work experience and remove early career experience, especially if it’s not relevant to what you currently do.  When applying for new opportunities, make sure your experience aligns with most of the key skills/necessary experience within the job description, then write a cover letter explaining how your background fits for that particular role.”

Keep looking, and don’t give up — it’s always better to leave on your own terms — and on good terms!


This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket, and Funny-ish. View her work and get in touch at:

What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for dealing with favoritism at work? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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