I have a confession to make. There have been a few times over the years when a woman I worked with really, really made me mad, and I couldn’t help but think of her as anything but a bitch.

Chances are, you can relate. At some point we’ve probably all had a co- worker who we’ve thought of this way, maybe it’s a woman who hogs the limelight at meetings so no one else can get a word in edgewise. Or she endlessly sucks up to the boss and he seems totally taken in by it, unwilling to connect with anyone else as much as her. Or she sneakily secures little perks or opportunities or even critical information others don’t have the gumption and gall to go after.

Guys can be awful too—I’m not suggesting only women cause trouble for us at work—but I think difficult female co-workers can make our blood boil in a unique way.

And here’s why. I have this theory that when we think of a female colleague as a bitch and she keeps getting under our skin, part of what’s going on in certain cases is that deep down we feel envious of her. She’s doing something we know we should be doing, though maybe not in the same way

If there’s a bitch in your midst, instead of hating on her, start taking notes.

Does this so-called bitch obnoxiously hog the limelight at meetings? Okay, you don’t want to be insufferable, but maybe it’s time you started going to meetings better prepared and more eager to pitch. When your bitchy colleague is momentarily winded, announce you have an idea that could garner terrific buzz for the company or increase sales. Watch everyone pay attention.

Does this so-called bitch suck up to the boss big time? Maybe you should be booking more face time with your boss and doing more to dazzle him or her. Make an interesting discovery in some of the data you monitor and arrange to give your boss a presentation on what it means for the company. Make a point of popping your head into her office when you have news she might find interesting.

Does this so-called bitch sneakily secure info and opportunities? Maybe you should be networking more and networking assertively, really making a point to meet new people and hear what they have to say. And don’t wait to be given opportunities. Ask for them. No one is going to hand you the keys to the kingdom—you need to grab them yourself.