my coworker is getting credit for my work

A reader writes:

I work for a medium sized company on a very small team. For all intents and purposes, it is just me and my colleague, “Joe.” Joe and I both started at the same time and work on the same types of projects. The similarities end there, as Joe is the type to take 2-3 hour lunches and surf the internet, while I am working hard only a few feet away.

About six months ago, Joe was assigned a very large, very visible project. He struggled to handle it, and I was quickly pulled in to help by management. As Joe would freely admit, I ended up doing a majority of the project myself. It was extremely important for the company, and a month or so later we both received employee of the month for our contributions.

Fast forward to today, when Joe revealed that he has been selected as company-wide MVP based, in significant part, on this project. I congratulated him, but I can’t help but feel betrayed and disheartened by this turn of events. I worked day, night, and weekends on that project to make it successful after he all but gave up on it. Since then, he has turned down several large projects while I have taken on significantly more responsibility, yet he is the one receiving awards.

Part of me wants to speak with my manager and ask why someone received an award based on my project, but part of me thinks maybe that would be viewed as petty. I am already looking for another job, mostly due to the fact that I often feel I am being overlooked and under appreciated, but this was still a big shock. Do you have any suggestions? Is there even any point in trying anymore?

I answer this question over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.

{ 111 comments… read them below }

  1. DCompliance*

    I am curious if the letter writer and Joe both report to the same manager. I would assume they do since the letter writer said it is just the letter writer and Joe, but there is no specific mention of having the same manager. Sometimes different managers hold people to different standards and it causes this lack of calibration on what counts as exceptional or good performance across an office. Many years ago I was searching for a way to bring up this type of situation to my manager.

    1. Marshmellin*

      Maybe, but making him MVP for crossing a lower bar seems silly. It’s a good performance *for him,* but that doesn’t make him an example of hard work under pressure to the company. I’d privately tell him he did well, but would have awarded it to OP, based on the info I have.

      While you can hold your all-star employees who are kicking butt and taking names to a much higher standard than average, you have to reward them and you can’t overload them. Your all-stars could likely get a job more quickly than average employees — and it’s unfair to push more work on them because they’re exceptional. I recently read an article about this, and how it leads to burn out, when you ask your all-stars to take on 2+ people’s worth of work because “they can handle it, they’re awesome.” From personal experience, this is crappy and will make your good employees look.

  2. Frank Doyle*

    Oh man, I wish there had been an update to this one! Did Joe get his comeuppance? Did the OP receive her deserved recognition? We must know!

    1. Hills to Die on*

      I wish there were an update too; I’m curious about how this turned out for the OP.

    2. Massmatt*

      I wish there were an update also but I’m more pessimistic. For whatever reason the coworker is getting credit despite being a slacker and it’s not likely to change. Maybe Joe is good at tooting his own horn, or is golf buddies with the boss, or is someone’s nephew. I’ve seen too many people like Joe flourish and get promotions to have much optimism that Alison’s script will change anything, good as the script is. I would start looking for another job where you are appreciated more, perhaps when you leave they will realize who was doing the work but I doubt it even then.

      1. Ali*

        This. And I kind of assume the person having credit stolen is a woman because I see this ALL THE TIME. One woman I know was finishing projects for her lazy male co-worker while she was on maternity leave, literally recovering from making another human being, and she returns to work to find out he got a promotion. I can’t even with this nonsense. It makes me so mad.

        1. BummedOut*

          I’m currently in the same boat. It really is demoralizing. My coworker surfs the web and plays solitaire on his phone all day. The funny thing is that he sits right next to our manager.

  3. JeanB in NC*

    Ugh, I just hate this. I used to work at a company that regularly gave employee of the month to a couple of people who were well-known for staying late almost every night. I knew one of them specifically could not get her work done even working late, and I caught her up more than once. Yet somehow she got the rewards and acknowledgment and I did not, because I got my work done in 8 hours or less. And another guy was universally loved and got employee of the year more than once, and I found out several years later (after I stopped working there) that he ended up embezzling from the company! It seems to be all about face-time or likeability in most places.

    1. Luna*

      Yeah IME these types of programs are almost always a bad idea, mainly because management never seems to understand how to run them properly.

    2. paul*

      we briefly tried one; it basically become a rota of whose turn it was to be employee of the month. Thankfully it died quickly

        1. Gaz112*

          I worked somewhere that decided employee of the month / year by popular vote – whoever got the most votes won.

          Went about as well as you’d expect….

    3. Alternative Person*

      My place doesn’t do employee of the month but there is one part-timer who gets held up as a paragon of a good worker because she puts in a lot of face time, maxing out the part-timer hours limit every week (and possibly hiding more one way or another with the manager’s support) but the reality is her output is functional at best and the other staff take half the time to get their paperwork done.

    4. BWooster*

      “I found out several years later (after I stopped working there) that he ended up embezzling from the company! It seems to be all about face-time or likeability in most places.”

      It is absolutely bizarre that I had the same exact experience! If the person I’m thinking of hadn’t been a woman, I’d wonder if you and I worked at the same place.

      1. Jiya*

        There’s actually a direct correlation between embezzling and putting in as much office time as possible – the embezzlers know that if they take more than a bit of time off, their house of cards could come tumbling down, so a lot of them are that “super reliable” employee who hasn’t taken a sick day in years. (Obviously the correlation doesn’t go in the reverse.)

        1. Jennifer Thneed*

          Which is exactly why some companies, especially that deal with money, force people to take time off every year — so this kind of thing can be surfaced. (The fact that it’s good for the employee too is beside the point.)

          1. TardyTardis*

            I had to tell a friend who was reluctant to take a vacation that ‘the only thing worse than an accountant who takes too much vacation is an accountant who won’t take one at all’. She got the hint.

    5. Mazzy*

      At one past job my coworker gave an Excel training then he got it the next month. Nothing wrong with the Excel training, and nothing wrong with the award, but we all predicted it would lead to an award. It felt very transactional. More complicated and longer-term items weren’t rewarded, just these one time little things.

    6. Fenchurch*

      Reminds me of a quote from the office.

      “Jim Halpert. Pros: smart, cool, good-looking. Remind you of anybody you know? Cons: not a hard worker. I can spend all day on a project, and he will finish the same project in a half an hour. So that should tell you something.”
      – Michael Scott

    7. Wren*

      Where my partner works, they have peer nominated awards, I guess to encourage collegiality. It’s a big org, and people don’t go overboard in nominating for it or taking it too seriously. He always laughs about the time he was given the award for (something like,) “taking a lead in time management,” which was code for having stood up and left a large meeting when the essential parts were done with, and skipping a boring presentation that nobody wanted to sit through, but no one had the nerve to leave until he did.

  4. Curious Cat*

    I will never understand people like Joe, who just give up on projects and pass them to other people & feel no guilt in the process (especially if he’s getting recognized for work he knows he didn’t do!). I’m definitely on the opposite end of the spectrum, I take on too much and convince myself that I don’t need help and must do it all myself.

    1. Jill*

      What’s not not to understand? He does a minimum of work and gets a maximum of credit. Seems to be a much better deal than doing all the work and getting none of the credit.

  5. Ann Nonymous*

    I wonder if LW is a woman; Joe is obviously a man. That would explain 1) why Joe gets the recognition and 2) why LW is not advocating for herself and/or announcing that it was mostly her work. Somehow I feel that this is the case. As a woman I have been working harder in the past several years at taking credit for my work, touting my skills being proud and open about my accomplishments. This is hard for most women but oh so necessary. LW cannot and must not let this stand.

    1. Engineer Girl*

      Yes. There’s now plenty of studies that show that women get less credit on shared work assignments.
      It’s really important to toot your horn.
      I ususally do a weekly activity report to my manager. In it I make very specific statements about the work I did for the week. It’s also good for heads up on project slippage. I bring out the activity reports when it’s time to write up my annual review. Again, I get very specific about what I accomplished and what tasks I completed. If I can show quantitative numbers for improvement I use those.
      But the first step is to talk to the manager and ask why questions. Don’t let the manager hand wave. And focus specifically on what you need to do to get credit for your work.

    2. Samiratou*

      I’d be willing to bet a lot that she is.

      In retrospect, she should have taken steps to formally own the project once he gave up on it, no matter their genders, but women tend to be less likely to do that type of thing.

    3. Steve*

      Isnt that pretty prejudicial to make assumptions about them based soley on sex? I know i would get a lot of hateful replies here if i based my judgment on that.

      1. Engineer Girl*

        I see your point. That said, it’s a pretty rampant phenomenon which is born out by studies (see above links).

        Sure, men get credit for other men’s work. But men disproportionately get credit for women’s work. So much so that data can be collected on it.

        1. Specialk9*

          It’s always Steve’s point, almost exclusively:
          -Calling out racism is actually racist.
          -Calling out sexism is actually sexist.

          It’s a really good example of gaslighting.

          1. Anon.*

            Every time I see someone using the term “gaslighting” I have to wonder if they’ve seen that really terrific movie…gave me nightmares for years.

            1. Former Employee*

              I saw the movie “Gaslight” at least twice, though it’s been years. Ingrid Bergman made it seem as if she really could be fooled, Charles Boyer was suitably convincing and Angela Lansbury was quite entertaining in her first role (thank you Wikipedia for the info on Ms. Lansbury).

              No nightmares, but it was pretty good, though a bit melodramatic for my taste.

      2. Specialk9*

        Oh Steve. Always sticking up for the mistreated white male. Keep up the good fight, brah.

  6. CM*

    My suspicion is that Joe is more of a people person. He speaks up in meetings and is great at small talk, shows up to social events and in general is good at being social, friendly and memorable. That tends to stick in peoples mind more than nose to the grindstone, producing solid work but doesn’t necessarily speak up much or socialize. It shouldn’t be that way, but a lot of times that is what happens.

    1. Artemesia*

      It is absolutely crucial to be your own PR agent especially in situations where you are doing someone else’s work. The OP should have met with the boss early on to go over how she was rescuing this project (and to ‘get his advice’ on it) so that he was aware. She should then have updated him. This can often be with little informal stories in the break room or when on the elevator e.g. ‘you are so pleased at the client reaction on X’ or ‘thank goodness, we got the Finster project back on track; you just got the report they needed our this morning.’

      Silently laboring is rarely rewarded and especially not when yoked with a weak link with good social skills. And yeah — women.

      1. Hills to Die on*

        Truth! Don’t put your head down and work harder–surely they will notice the sweat on my brow this time!! Go in and TELL them. and then tell them again next week, and the week after, etc.

      2. Alternative Person*

        Yeah, my silent labouring has helped dig me a hole with a couple of weak link co-workers and a placating manager. It is not fun to go against.

  7. Aaron*

    I had the wonder about the writer’s gender but also about whether they’re part of a visible minority.

  8. Bostonian*

    Oh man. I want so bad to share this with my office so that they can see what a legitimate concern with recognition looks like. ie, it’s not: “I made a small contribution to one small part of this project, why am I not getting the same recognition as the person leading it and doing 70% of the work?”

  9. A Non E. Mouse*

    Oh, this one hit me right in the gut.

    I had to get Very Stern with a new coworker once that kept saying “we” had completed something when *I* had completed something.

    Do not “We” my work.

    1. Engineer Girl*

      I had someone do that in a meeting. I corrected them on the spot, stating that “You weren’t there, so why are you saying “we”?” She started to bluster and said that it was “for the group”.

      If someone publicly takes credit for my work I will publicly correct them. Nicely, but publicly.

      1. Yet Even Another Alison*

        Good for you Engineer Girl. I assume you are female because of your Name. Please know that in many organizations women who do what you did are labeled difficult and bitchy. I think what you did was awesome – just know the downsides.

        1. atalanta0jess*

          This feels so policing to me. Why would you think she doesn’t know the downsides? How many women could function in the world without knowing that we are supposed to be nice? Engineer Girl is stepping out! Why shove her back into the nice woman box?

        2. nonegiven*

          From some of her stories, I get the impression Engineer Girl has been around long enough, she could write the book on that.

        3. Engineer Girl*

          I have been called too agressive. But according to a Forbes study, 70% of high performing tech women get that on their performance reviews. Ironically, I’ve been complimented for my ability to negotiate tricky positions.
          At some point you decide it’s worth the negatives to speak up. Because after 30 years you kind of hoped that kind of Stuff would go away. And it’s annoying it is still there.

          1. Susan Sto Helit*

            I’ve had two separate (male) managers tell me “you can be quite blunt. I am too and I like that you speak up, and you make valuable contributions, but some of your co-workers dislike it.”

            It’s maddening feedback. So you want me to simultaneously speak up and also not speak up, so that unspecified other people don’t get upset about opinionated women in the workplace? I wish they’d either get specific and say “I’d rather you didn’t do this”/”Please moderate your style with Jane/Susan/Bob”, or else tell my co-workers to deal.

            1. Engineer Girl*

              I swear, some people get hypersensitive about feedback from women. One guy said it reminded him of getting a lecture from his mother. Except I didn’t lecture. I simply stated I wasn’t going to accept his work because of problem A,B, C. One guy complained that I stated his procedure “totally couldn’t work” (it was jaw dropping bad). You can’t fix that.

    2. Bea W*

      I had a co-worker who would use “I” when it was, at best, a team effort in which she played a small part. There were times I hadn’t been part of a project where it rankled me just because I worked with the people busting their butts on these things. Unfortunately for everyone else, she was the person who ended up getting all of the visibility, and visibility is what mattered to the folks upstairs since they had no other way of knowing what the dept. was doing.

      1. 2 Cents*

        I work with an “I” guy now — a relatively new hire who shows no compunction about claiming credit for things that have been in the works for months before his arrival. I make sure to pipe up with he’s taking credit — and I’ve warned others who work with him about his tendencies.

  10. Pollygrammer*

    LW says Joe “would freely admit” she was responsible for the majority of the project, but I would place money that what he freely admits varies hugely depending on who he’s talking to. Of course he needs to acknowledge it with LW and their immediate boss, but he’s probably been free to claim credit with higher-ups or people less familiar with the project.

    And there are all kinds of ways to spin this–if he said “LW spent more time on the project than I did” he can easily imply that he had all the ideas, took on all the major decisions, with total plausible deniability if he’s called on it.

    IME, this sort of thing happens all the time.

    1. Hills to Die on*

      oh, absoolutely. He freely admits it to her so that she will keep doing it. Behind close doors, he freely admits that he did it all.

      The only comfort in this scenario is that you let him be the ‘I’ in TEAM next time and he either screws up or works his butt off alone.

  11. rosiebyanyothername*

    lol so I’ve only been for-real in the workforce for roughly a year and I’ve already seen this happen a ton to male employees over female employees. Grr.

    1. Lil'*

      Yes, it can totally happen to both parties, nobody is really denying that. But realize that your personal experience as someone in the workforce for 1 year does not equate to the reality of the majority. See above for relevant links if you’d like to do more research on the topic.

      1. only acting normal*

        I guess it could be read either way, but I read rosiebyanyothername’s comment as already having witnessed a ton of male employees *getting recognition* over female employees (which is what the research bears out).

      2. BenAdminGeek*

        I think rosie is actually agreeing with the details in the links above. But yes, anecdata is a bad thing, agreeing or not!

  12. Engineer Girl*

    I’d also let Joe know that there will be no more assistance without proper credit. Joe has the ability to advocate for you if he chooses to do so. Hold firm on that.

    Joe needs to learn that there’s consequences for silence when a wrong occurs.

    1. Marthooh*

      LW says they were pulled in by management to assist Joe, so they may not have a choice about that.

  13. Mockingjay*

    At ExToxic Job, several team leads with special qualifications (think PMP cert, MS degree, etc.) were required to write management plans for their areas (engineering, finance, and other technical areas). They produced zero after six months.

    So I was brought in to write these plans from scratch. In about six weeks, I developed outlines conforming with myriad specs and standards, did all the research, wrote the drafts, addressed the review comments (very few), and produced the final documents with my name on them as the author.


    The stuff hit the fan and flew in every direction. How dare I put my name on their work!!!???
    Yep, these lovely people got to put their name on a doc they didn’t write, while I received verbal and written reprimands for my audacity. (Note that common practice in our industry is for people who write something to be listed as the author; the higher-ups sign as approvers.) I can only surmise that they didn’t want their failure known.

      1. Mockingjay*

        It was the final straw of many straws breaking my back. I left not long after this.

        The entire place is a failure. I recently talked to a coworker; management has changed twice (read: fired) in the last 18 months and layoffs will commence soon.

    1. Uncanny Valley*

      Wow. Jay . . . . .truly cold-blooded. Corruption and toxicity in the entire chain of command.

      My last job tried a similar play on me but it hit the fan before I could be completely exploited and I had to high tail it up out of there (to borrow the expression)

      Extremely bush league.

  14. Technical_Kitty*

    I have a similar issue, a person transferred to my department, has the same title as me, but contributes much much less in terms of critical work and I have leaps and bounds more technical expertise than he does. My boss has admitted I am senior to him in position and technical work, but not only is our boss having trouble getting the title issue addressed, but I get paid less than this person.

    I gave my boss a time frame for addressing it, basically things will shake out in April when it comes to raises and whatnot. If this isn’t addressed appropriately I am looking for another job, because life it too short to get treated like crap. You should look into other jobs if management is being blind about this sort f thing.

    1. Artemesia*

      Don’t mention looking for another job again, but get that started now. Be at least ready with your stuff together the day you don’t get the promotion. Don’t whine, don’t fuss, search diligently and then leave. You never want to discover how long it takes to move on when you have made a show of ‘if I don’t get rewarded I leave.’ Any mention is a ‘show of.’

      1. Technical_Kitty*

        It wasn’t a conversation around “if I don’t get” it was a conversation around inequity. Our boss knows I am unhappy about this and has indicated we should have some sort of resolution in April/May. I previously had a conversation with him (10 months ago) about my commitment level where I stated that was in for the long haul (we moved to a major city from a remote town). I’m not sure if he has connected how pissed off I am, but I told him plainly what my issues were and he agrees with me about both the pay and the title. But it’s pretty obnoxious than being one of the few, if not the only, females in the building doing technical work and having low performing men get the same or better credit and be paid more, so if it’s not resolved I’ll give them one more shot while I have another offer in hand.

        1. Alston*

          This isn’t something you should have to wait 10 months for until your review.

          Are you seeing an effort to get this addressed by your boss, or are you just hearing him say he’s trying?

          1. Technical_Kitty*

            We are in transition with new owners and restructuring our department, so I’m fine to give it until April/May. The conversation 10 months ago wasn’t around compensation, but it was when our department was just my boss and I managing contractors so I wasn’t as annoyed.

    2. Purple Jello*

      I’ve left at least two jobs when I couldn’t get the promotion and raises I was entitle to and requested. I love my current company.

      1. Technical_Kitty*

        Smart. If I leave this job I will have to move cities to stay in my industry, and I’d like to avoid that for now. But I’m pretty pissed off and that’s not a good way to work either, so I may be taking your route soon!

  15. Alston*

    Hey Alison, I was wondering if you would consider reaching out to the people whose letters you are digging out from the archives? I know some have had updates, but it would be interesting to see if there was any new updates, or whether the passing years changed their perspective on things.

  16. Kat*

    I have started to make sure I point out this sort of thing to my manager. I used to be shy about it but no longer. They’ll never bother otherwise!

    Recently, my manager, on two separate occasions and in settings with the rest of the company, including my bosses, accredited my colleague with doing half the work on a project I did entirely myself. I wrote the thing and liaised with the client. The first time I let it slide because I knew it was a mistake, but the second time I went to her afterwards and pointed it out. My reason to her for doing so was that I didn’t want it to be missed at my appraisal if she was under the impression I hadn’t done the work. She apologised profusely and offered to tell everyone, which of course I declined. I didn’t need the others to know, but just wanted to make sure SHE did.

    1. eplawyer*

      Actually, you do need the higher ups to know the truth. Otherwise you will be in the same situation as LW. The other people get recognized for work you did. Or worse, they get promoted for YOUR work and you don’t because you are “too valuable to the team to lose.”

      1. Kat*

        Nah, in my company telling the bosses would make no difference. The one boss who might have an influence is the one who had me do the project in the first place, so it wasn’t them I was worried about. It was more that my manager might miss it out when considering me for pay rise, etc.

        I think she meant ‘tell the rest of the team’ anyway, and they’re all junior to me, so I didn’t see much point! I also didn’t want my colleague to feel bad (the one she said did the work).

  17. Hannah*

    Oh man, been there. It sucks. (And I’d be willing to be the OP is female, right? Yeah..)

    I like Alison’s response, and I hope I can use some of that language to talk to my own boss, who routinely diminishes my accomplishments while celebrating my coworkers’.

    1. Hills to Die on*

      Ugh. Time to go if you are already speaking up and this is the response you are getting. That’s not good. >:(

  18. BizzieLizzie*

    Something very similar happened to me, except for my “Joe” was only ever supposed to have partial responsibility and openly acknowledged my input. I had been working for months in something and Joe did the final part. I spoke to my boss almost exactly as Alison outlined because I really did think that I had to be doing something massively wrong but perhaps more broadly than on that one project.
    Anyway it was apparently an oversight on the part of someone higher up who didn’t know about the joint work and had only seen the person who did the last 10% if the work, and the next quarter I ended up getting an MVP type award, which was a lot more than I deserved for the project contribution, but very nice to get.

  19. The work fairy*

    I had a similar experience. Coworker (not even in my team) left for a 2 week vacation, not informing the rest of us that she had a project due during her absence (CEO mandate). No one knew anything about it, but somehow it fell on my lap and I had to scramble to get things done. She had done NOTHING on the project.
    when she came back from her vacation, she got promoted and I got a talking to for not being able to deliver fast enough on the project. No amount of telling them it was not my area and that I wasn’t aware of it would make them understand.
    I quit for a much better opportunity 6 weeks later and this BS was brought up in my exit interview, that I wasn’t a team player and not adaptable enough. F*ck those guys.

  20. Anon for this one*

    Been there. And not just in the workplace. While caring for an ailing parent, my sister pulled the same stuff with our brothers, who of course did nothing. We did all the work, she took all the credit.

    OP, let us know how this turns out. Good luck to you!

  21. Jay*

    I have had consistent issues of this kind, after working in the non-profit sector. It’s to the point that I am now trying to change careers. In my first job, the department head and 2nd in command were known to do only a few hours a day of work. It turned out they were plugged into social media all day. Apparently they were buddy buddy with executive staff. As a result, I was responsible for a significant amount of work. At another place, a staff member I worked with trash-talked me to other staff members about my incompetence, while patting themselves on the back as though I made no contributions to their projects. Because of their huge network and connections in the org, no-one batted an eye. I had triple the workload compared to what they told me in the interview phase, and was dealing with an unappreciative slave driver. It was insane.

    Has anyone else seen/experienced this kind of issue in the non-profit field?

    1. only acting normal*

      Not the non-profit field, but in the public sector and the private sector (in different fields). Not sector or field specific I’m afraid. :-/
      I’ve even worked in large organisations where this sort of behaviour happened in some departments, but wouldn’t be tolerated in others.

      1. Jay*

        Damn – that’s why I’m hoping to gain hard skills in the market. Hoping it can allow for a higher degree of control over the job process. It sucks when soft skills lead to dysfunction because the fidelity of the management process is compromised.

  22. Elise*

    We have an annual award given to a staff member, and they are selected based on nomination and a team of peers who choose the winners. The problem is that they don’t get final approval from management so many times the speeches that are given when giving out the awards give them credit for work that they had only tertiary involvement with. As someone who works in technology, I have seen several people get awards where my project that involved months of work was cited for someone who only came in at the end for user testing, etc. It’s soul crushingly demotivating, but I’ve just had to get used to it. It’s basically a popularity contest so I have to chalk it up to that.

  23. The Sky is Purple*

    I had a sort of similar situation, but the stakes of the recognition were smaller and the whole thing was weird.A colleague was recognized in an all staff meeting for her “great work on the Peacock project”, at which point I was fuming because I had being the primary on the Peacock project and this person was going to be working on it, but hadn’t done anything yet (no fault of her own, she wasn’t supposed to have done anything yet). Five minutes later, I got recognized at same meeting for my great work on the Buffalo project.Y’all see where this is going. I didnt even know there was a Buffalo project. I didn’t do that work. Some other people got recognized for some other stuff but I’m assuming enough of us were wrongly complimented for a thing we didn’t do that by the end almost everyone knew the person giving the kudos had no idea what anyone did and we were pretty sure ALL the compliments were wrong, or mixed up. It started off insulting, then turned into very confusing, then circled back to insulting but in a different way.

  24. Not Australian*

    Grrr, I had a boss like this. She was the envy of her (national) peer group because they thought she was running her department single-handedly and they were astonished at the amount she got done … until they visited and found out we were a team of four; she’d taken the credit for all our work and never mentioned that she had staff/colleagues supporting her. When I needed surgery she hired her fifteen year old son as a replacement; he smoked pot in the office and pulled confidential information off the system to sell. When I got back, I told her that if he was such a good substitute he might as well have the job permanently – and promptly walked out.

  25. GM*

    Yeah I’ve had this happen to me when I was around 3 years’ experienced, and the male credit-swiping colleague 4 years senior to me. To be fair he was quite talented in his own right and need not have stooped to such levels, but whenever we worked together and he had to send the mail, it started with ‘I worked on this…’ and whenever I sent it started as ‘We worked on this…’
    No prizes for guessing my gender. The only good thing was it toughened me up rather early in my career, so I’ve never got myself into the same situation again.

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