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Taking Credit For Other People’s Work

November 30, 2018

Everyone hates it right? You work on a joint project and when it comes time to report the results, the guy making the report takes full credit. Or worse, yet, you are working on a project solo and when you complete it, a coworker manages to get credit.

I was working at Microsoft. Through a recent reorg, a guy that I’d helped hire was put into an advisory position within our training team. I had seniority on the team, but Jay had managed to gain a lot of influence. Much of it was by playing politics. At that time, it wasn’t one of my strong suits.

I didn’t realize exactly what Jay was up to until one day we were discussing an idea I had for a new course. Jay and I had discussed it previously and I was still trying to finalize the details.

Don’t bother.

What do you mean?

I mean, I already suggested it to management and they don’t want to do it.

It was a good plan on his part. If it turned out to be a good idea, he got credit, if it was a bad idea he had nothing to lose.

The next time I had an idea I kept to to myself until I was ready to present it to management. Ironically, the next major project I developed was a comprehensive curriculum for new engineers. The program involved dozens of courses, some written by us, some purchased. In all there were three different tracks and the program would take almost two years for the engineers to work their way through.

As I went to present it to management, Jay insisted on tagging along. Every time someone asked him a question he had to defer to me. The funny thing was, I love collaboration projects. I much prefer to share the credit than take it. But, share and share alike.

I recently got an award at my company. It goes to the top 2% of the employees. I was nominated by one of the groups I work with. When they came to tell me about the award, I was surprised. I talked to my boss about it a couple hours later.

So, what did you say?

I told them I thought they’d made a terrible mistake.

It wasn’t false modesty. I really didn’t see that I did that much. Sure, I did my job, but top 2%? There were too many others who had contributed to my success. I was often the one pulling virtual teams together to solve issues, but the team did all the real work. My job wasn’t to fix problems. My job was to get the right people involved who could fix the problems.

I guess I was good at it.

I mean they gave me an award for it.

Share and share alike.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2018 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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