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.

 

Southern California’s Job Outlook for 2019

So here it is, mid-January. Talent still is hard to find around the country. Candidates are ghosting when it comes to job interviews and even employees are just leaving their employer without notice.

But that’s nationwide. What’s this year’s job outlook for Southern California? We put on our sleuthing hats to find out.

  1. More of the same: an absolute candidate market (at least through the 2nd Q 2019).

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No surprise there. According to the California EDD (scroll down to the link at “Short-Term Projections: Two-Years” and download the spreadsheet), employment in Orange County from 2nd Quarter 2017 to 2nd Quarter 2019 is projected to grow overall by 3.4 percent (interestingly, self-employment is projected to grow by 4.2 percent). Not every employment sector is going to grow (mining and oil/gas extraction, for example, is projected to fall by 8.5 percent overall), but most are growing.  Manufacturing is to grow 1.8 percent; while software publishers are to grow a whopping 13 percent; auto equipment sales and leasing by 6 percent; professional and business services by 3 percent; advertising, PR and marketing by 3.4 percent; professional, scientific and technical services by 4 percent; office administrative services by 6.7 percent; and so on.

(Take a look at the document; it’s fascinating. For example, if you’re looking for work in the “travel arrangement and reservation services,” growth is expected to be 5.6 percent. And this, remember, is in a day when many of us make our own travel arrangements online. So much for the “death of the travel agent”!)

  1. But that’s statewide. And it’s for mid-2017 through mid-2019. What about in Southern California and in just 2019?

We hear you. It’s a bit trickier to find info/predictions for just Orange and Los Angeles counties, but here’s what we found: we may experience an economic slowdown in late 2019.

If you don’t want to read the link, here’s what it says in a nutshell:

Although the economy is currently operating at full employment and benefiting from the massive tax cut and spending increases, the economic stimulus coming from that combination will likely run out in 2020, and deficits it creates will linger for another decade.

In spite of concerns about the risk of a full-blown trade war with China, the forecast for the U.S. economy is one of growth, albeit slower growth. California remains one of the most prosperous states, with a strong market that is expected to continue to grow.

You’ll notice it says the big growth ends in 2020, but further down the report states the growth “will slow to 2 percent in 2019 and to a near recession at 1 percent in 2020.”

As for California: the state’s growth will slow along with the nation’s but our economy is still expected to grow faster than the country’s as a whole. Here’s the skinny, below:

The total employment growth forecasts for 2018, 2019 and 2020 are 1.7 percent, 1.8 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively. Payrolls are expected to grow by 1.7 percent in 2018, by 1.8 percent in 2019, and by 0.8 percent in 2020. Real personal income growth is forecast to be 2.5 percent, 3.6 percent and 2.9 percent in 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively. California’s average unemployment rate is expected to have its normal differential to the U.S. rate at 4.2 percent in 2020. Home building will accelerate to about 140,000 units per year by the end of the 2020 forecast.

  1. Most job growth is in the Inland Empire.

Sorry, OC and LA, but the job growth is greatest due east. Which could be great news if you live there and work west and wish to find a job closer to home. Pay rates are a bit lower, however. For example, Indeed.com reports that the average hourly rate for an administrative assistant in Anaheim is 16.21/hour while in Riverside, it’s $15.28. Yet housing also is less expensive, with the median gross rent in Riverside County hitting $1,212/month, while it’s $1,264 in Los Angeles County and $1,608 in Orange County. (Data is from 2017.)

  1. Wrapping up.

So things look great for job seekers for at least the next six months and possibly throughout the entire year. After all, slower growth still is growth. But don’t be complacent because often in business, slower growth often means….job cutbacks! And that means the unemployment rate will rise and jobs will be harder to come by.

 

So if you can:

  • Learn new skills.
  • Take note of your accomplishments and add them to your resume.
  • Work to add value to your employer (don’t just “show up for work,” do the minimum expected of you and then think that you’re “valuable”).
  • Grow your professional network.
  • Never, ever become complacent. If you’ve never been laid off from a job before, if you’re laid off next year or early in 2020, get ready for potential WEEKS of unemployment. It happens. And to talented, valuable workers. No one is immune.

That’s why it’s a good idea to have a Helpmates recruiter in your professional network. In fact, take a look at our current opportunities, and if one appeals to you, follow the directions to apply. You also can contact the branch office nearest you to register.

Navigating the Office Holiday Gift Giving Obstacle Course

It’s December! Bring on the office gift exchange!

As we move into the 2018 gift-giving season, many of us may wonder: Do I give my boss a gift? Do I have to purchase holiday wrapping paper from my colleague’s son’s Scout fundraiser? Can I opt out of the office gift exchange?

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The answers to these questions are – frankly – important because office interactions do impact career success. What’s more holiday gifting traditions at the office often can be fraught with landmines. Here’s how to navigate them successfully while also enjoying this lovely time of year at work.

  1. Should I give my boss a gift?

In a nutshell: you don’t have to. In fact, it’s probably best that you don’t, because it could come across as toady-ish: as if you’re trying to curry favor with your supervisor. If you really, really want to, it’s best if you go in a group gift with your department.

If you feel you must give your manager a gift because he/she expects it and will not look upon you favorably if you don’t, you may want to think about getting another job and another boss…

By the way, many bosses often give gifts to their team members. (Such holiday gifts often are flowers, movie tickets, food, gifts that are the same for everyone, etc..) This is appropriate and in no way obligates you to reciprocate. Even if the boss gives different gifts to everyone (the boss has taken note of his/her team members’ likes and dislikes), accept the gift graciously.

  1. Do I have to give my coworkers gifts?

If you feel that one or more coworkers is a true friend (that is, you’re personal friends outside the office and you want to give a personal gift), then do so. Just make sure you give the gift outside the office.

As for giving coworkers with whom your professionally friendly? It’s appropriate to do so with those with whom you interact daily or with those in your department. If you feel uncomfortable giving individual gifts, consider asking if there’s a formal office gift exchange event such as a white elephant gift exchange (often hilarious) or Secret Santas.

If you’re hard up for funds and you don’t want to provide gifts for colleagues, you should never feel ashamed (or shamed into doing so). If people give gifts as a matter of course and you don’t want to come across as Scrooge, consider baking cookies or bread and giving those as gifts.

If you plan to give gifts to some, but not all of your colleagues, present the gifts privately so that the co-workers who are left out don’t have hurt feelings.

  1. Do I have to purchase items during holiday school fundraisers?

No, you do not. Yes, it can be very hard when a colleague asks you to purchase flavored popcorn or wrapping paper for his/her child’s school fundraiser. If you don’t want to, say so politely. A simple “No, thank you” should suffice.

  1. Can I opt out of the office gift exchange?

Probably not. The good news is that full-office gift exchanges often come with price points (you don’t have to spend more than $10, $20 or $25, for example) and you often only have to purchase one gift for one person.

In addition, office holiday gift exchanges often come with office parties and are festive and usually loads of fun. (Look up white elephant exchanges, for example….)

But refusing to play along if your department holds an “official” gift exchange? You could hurt your reputation as a team player. Probably best to play along, follow the stated budget guidelines (or make your own) and enjoy the fun of the exchange itself

Why not give yourself a great holiday gift by taking a look at Helpmates’ current opportunities and then following the instructions within each job description to apply and/or contact the Helpmates office nearest you to register with us.

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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