When Someone Takes Credit for Your Work

It happens much more than we’d like – we do all the work and someone else, usually a boss or colleague with more seniority or the person who ends up making the presentation – gets all the credit. Here’s what to do when someone takes all the credit for your great idea.

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When it’s a Supervisor

In seeking appropriate credit for your idea or work, you need to tread carefully. First of all, collaboration and teamwork are highly valued in business today, and someone who is intent on claiming credit may run the risk of not appearing to be a team player.

It is best to choose your battles wisely. Sometimes, for example, it is better for a supervisor to take over an idea in order to give it more exposure in the company and push it to company leadership. Focus on instances where your contribution was clearly pivotal to a project and important enough to possibly impact your career progression, where recognition is clearly warranted.

If your manager has been taking credit when he should not, it’s best to start documenting everything when working with him so that there is a record of your work and contribution.

After meeting with the supervisor, send a follow up email summarizing your conversation and make reference to your idea or work in the message by saying that you appreciate the opportunity to put your idea into action or, for example, take the lead on the project.

If you feel that a more direct approach is needed, here again, tact is called for. Making accusations is simply counterproductive. You need to show how giving credit benefits the team, your supervisor and the business. For example, one good business reason for giving credit is that it enhances morale, employee engagement and productivity.

But if you have a supervisor who is constantly touting your ideas as his own and refuses to give you credit for your work, the best course of action may be to look for another job. You need to ask yourself, is this really the kind of person you want to work for?

Good managers do the exact opposite because they know how important it is to employee morale. They are more than happy to offer praise and recognition to workers who have made important contributions.

When a Coworker Steals Your Rightful Thunder

You’re on a more or less level playing field here and so can assert your rights more actively. If you are working with a person who steals credit, again make sure to keep a record of who contributed what in a project. Don’t share ideas with the person when you are alone with him.

You also can set some conditions when working with him. For example, you can say you will only work on the project with him if you present it.

If the coworker steals credit constantly and deliberately, take the problem to your supervisor. Frame the issue as a teamwork problem — explain how his or her actions are affecting the working relationships among team members and needlessly causing friction.

How Important Receiving Credit When Credit – to You – is Due?

Again: maintain perspective and remember why you seek credit – to advance your career. But you may be working at a company where who gets credit isn’t an issue: whether you get credit or not has no impact on your career progression or promotion at the company. In a case like this, it may not even be worth worrying about.

Give Credit to Colleagues

If you expect to receive credit for your work, you should be willing to set an example and give credit to others when they deserve it. If you make a practice of recognizing others, they are less likely to harbor negative feelings toward you when you seek credit for yourself.

Helpmates has many job opportunities for Orange County and Los Angeles residents. Take a look at our current openings and if one or more look interesting to you, follow application instructions or contact the branch office nearest you.

 

When You’re Really Asked to Do the Job to Get the Job

It’s fairly common these days for companies to ask job candidates to perform some task or do some assignment to showcase their skills. This is a perfectly reasonable request. In fact, it is a good idea for employers to ask for evidence of a candidate’s work to really see what he or she can do. It helps the employer make better decisions on whom to hire.

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Such tryouts give a more complete picture of a job candidate’s abilities, which might not be evident from just an interview. Conversely, there are people who interview well, but may not have the skillset that is required.

But when it comes to tryouts, there is a troubling trend that has been developing. Instead of some concise task or brief assignment, companies are increasingly asking job candidates to undertake lengthy and more complicated assignments, ones that demand a good deal of time and effort.

Important note: We have talked in the past about “doing the job to get the job” as a way of standing out among a sea of similar candidates. But when we recommend you do it, it’s voluntary, something you do on your own initiative.

Or, if you are asked to create a specific type of document or complete a short project, we recommend that you take it upon yourself to do more than is asked of you: write three social media plans rather than one; create two newsletter templates than just two.

How can you tell when you’re basically being asked to work for free? Some examples:

For example, an event planner was asked by a company to submit not one but three proposals for events that covered every aspect of the affair, including things like budgets, marketing, staffing and design. The company expected candidates to finish this assignment within seven days.

Another job candidate was asked to produce a 30-minute learning video, with voice over, discussion, graphics, and other features, a job that would normally take about 30 hours of work and cost several thousand dollars.

Assignments like these are asking for much more than is needed to judiciously evaluate a job candidate’s skills.

Candidates may sometimes be uncertain whether a particular job tryout is going over the line. If you are unsure, consider the time and effort you need to put into a project. A guideline some career counselors recommend is that if an assignment takes more than three hours, the job candidate should be paid for it.

The purpose of a short assignment is to assess how you think, your analytical ability and creativity. Longer assignments are generally tasks someone is hired to do because of their expertise, in other words, more what an employee does.

Remember: There is no legal way for an employer to ask you to work without paying you. Any employer that does so is breaking the law.

What You Can Do

If you are a job candidate and encounter a tryout request that seems unreasonable, what recourse do you have? One option is to walk away. And this is something to consider because an employer who would make an unreasonable tryout request may have unreasonable expectations for the job itself.

If, however, you cannot afford to take yourself out of consideration, you can also try negotiating with the employer. One way of doing this is to suggest a more streamlined version of the assignment, one that is no more than an hour or two. Or you could simply offer to provide a portfolio of your work.

Possibly the Worst of the Worst: Manipulators

While some employers are simply inconsiderate – or ill-informed as to the law – in expecting job candidates to complete long and involved assignments, others have a more underhanded motive: getting something for nothing. They have no intention of using the work to gauge a person’s qualifications, but rather to get a service for free.

There are a few telltale signs that you may be the victim of this type of manipulation. One is receiving an assignment several days after an initial interview without any prior notice or follow up plans. Another is being asked to put together a detailed strategy or redesign, or to write a full article or presentation. If the company is genuinely interested in your qualifications, the assignment will usually involve some hypothetical situation.

We understand why you may be afraid to say no to a potential employer, but do be careful. As mentioned above, any employer who requires you to do hours of work without compensation more than likely really is not a good employer. Run away. Fast!

If you need to find work quickly, consider registering here with us at Helpmates. You can work on temporary assignments with us while you look for other work. What’s more, many temporary assignments do turn into more permanent work.

Contact the Helpmates branch nearest you, or take a look at our current opportunities and if any appeal to you, follow the instructions for applying.

Moving from Colleague to Manager

Congratulations on your promotion to manager! Now you’re the supervisor….of your past colleagues!

Moving from co-worker to boss can be, well, fraught. No longer can you be true buddies. No longer can you dish on the boss together because, well, you’re the boss! Now you have to discipline former peers when they don’t perform as expected or needed. What’s more, you’re now going to have to deal with other managers as a peer and you want to make sure they look at you as an equal, not as a subordinate.

Take a look below for tips on how to make a smooth and successful transition to management.

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Dealing with Former Co-workers as a Supervisor

Face it: your relationships will change and it’s best to deal with it ASAP.

In fact, if at all possible, meet with your colleagues as soon as you’ve heard of the promotion.

Ask them all to lunch, for example, let them know of your new role, how excited you about the added responsibilities and how you realize things may be a bit awkward for the first few weeks or so.

Once the promotion takes place, meet with the team again and let them know your vision moving forward.  Ask them for ideas for improvement and let them know things will take time to improve, but that you’re committed to taking  the department  to new heights.

The most important thing you can do is establish your authority. For example, if during your first meeting with your new team, the “how can we improve things” discussion devolves into a whine-fest.  If so, speak up quickly and ask team members to bring up problems that have a solution and remind them to offer potential solutions as they do so.

In addition, never give special privileges or breaks to former colleagues.  Doing so only helps you stay their “buddy” in their eyes; you must establish your authority.

Finally, you must understand that you probably aren’t going to be asked to go to lunch with the group or meet with them in your favorite after-work hang out. You certainly can ask about family and non-work activities, but you will need to do so as a manager, not as a work buddy.

Becoming an Equal in Other Managers’ Eyes

If you treat your former colleagues as a leader — always with great respect – rather than as a colleague, your new manager peers will notice.

And, speaking of what they’ll notice, they’ll notice if you continue behaviors more typical of a subordinate. In other words, if you were routinely late to meetings and continue this pattern, you won’t be taken seriously. If you complain about upper management without offering possible solutions, you won’t be taken seriously. In other words, remember you’re your fellow managers’ peer and act accordingly.

To do so, take a look at a manager you admire. Watch what he/she does and how he/she does it. Aim to do the same in similar circumstances. In fact, it may be wise to ask this seasoned manager to be your mentor.  For example, chances are great you’re going to have to discipline a former co-worker at some point and if you’ve never done so before, you’ll want to do so as well—read: managerial – as possible . Going to a mentor and confidentially asking for advice on how best to do so can go a long way to helping you become the well-respected manager you want to be in the eyes of both former colleagues and new peers.

Looking to move up in the world? Is your Brea employer too small able and not able to promote you to the level you deserve? Then contact Helpmates. We have many direct-hire positions (you never work as a temporary associate but are hired directly by our client) with some of Orange and Los Angeles counties’ top employers. Contact us today.

When You Chose the Wrong Career

It happens: we spend four – or more! – years studying for a certain type of career or profession and then two or three years after working within it, we come to the conclusion that it’s simply the wrong career. For us.

If this is you, don’t panic.  Read below to find out when a career really is the wrong one for you.

Here’s a typical scenario: It’s Sunday afternoon and you start to dread going to work. As in, you contemplate somewhat seriously if the fifth “I’m not feeling well and won’t be coming in today” excuse in three months is going to cut it. (Hint: it won’t.) Once at work, you constantly count down the minutes until quitting time. Your family comments again and again that you look miserable.

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And you definitely are, but before you decide to open up that art gallery you’ve always wanted, understand that you may be miserable not because you’re in the wrong career, but because you’re working for and with the wrong people and/or in the wrong industry.

There’s a terrific saying that’s a cliché but still true: “People join companies but they leave managers.” Your colleagues and manager do make or break your day-to-day enjoyment of the job

If this turns out to be the case, then consider finding another job either in a different department or in a different company within the same industry. Or perhaps you enjoy the tasks of social media, just not in and for the insurance industry? Time to switch to an industry you think you’ll enjoy

But if:

  • You feel that working in this career means you have to compromise your values.
  • You conclude that this career/industry may be DOA in a few years. (Hello, artificial intelligence!)
  • You realize your basic personality simply isn’t cut out for this type of career: not all really personable people are great at sales, for example.
  • You decide that the career you chose for love just doesn’t pay the bills and you’ve crunched numbers and you’ve sadly discovered that the things that are most important to you in life are unaffordable within the career path you’ve chosen.

Then it may be time to change careers.

Still, be careful here. Perhaps a compromise can be made. As mentioned above, it may be more the industry in which you’re toiling and not the career itself. For example, perhaps you want to take your social media skills and help make a difference instead of help sell consumer goods or services. Then it may be a good idea to work for a non-profit.

Or if you’re a lawyer toiling in a law firm, look into working as a corporate lawyer.

If you’ve decided that yes indeed you need a change, before changing careers, consider looking into industries that can use your current skills. For example, in Southern California you could:

  • Take your administrative skills from a distribution center to a college campus, a marketing company, a financial services firm, etc.
  • Move from HR with a retailer to HR in a startup.
  • Change from accounting in a non-profit to within the entertainment industry.
  • And so on.

In fact, moving to a new industry within your career is a great way to ascertain if it’s just your co-workers or industry making you miserable, or if it really is the career. (And if you do discover that if you’ve truly chosen the wrong career, read our blog post on how to successfully change careers.)

If you’re looking to take your skills to a new industry, contact Los Angeles and Orange County’s premier staffing firm, Helpmates. Take a look at our direct-hire, temp-to-hire and temporary opportunities and then follow the instructions regarding applying when you find one or more that appeal to you.

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