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Your Credit Crisis

The topic today is what to do when your boss takes credit for your work. It’s a thorny workplace situation that will never, ever happen to you.

Let’s be honest here. Your boss isn’t going to take credit. Your co-workers aren’t going to take credit. Even you don’t want to take credit for your work!

Still, I do think it is worthwhile for you to know what to do about it, if it ever should happen. It’s the law of averages, right? Or the idea of putting 100 monkeys in front of Dell workstations for a millennium or two. If they stay there long enough, typing away, they’ll eventually produce a masterpiece, like “The Notebook” or, since we’re being honest here, this column. (OK, guys. You can stop typing now. There are bananas in the conference room.)

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According to a recent post on CareerBuilder, Deanna Hartley, or whoever wrote the article for which she is taking credit, suggests that the first rule in this situation is to “avoid the temptation to vent to your co-workers.”

This should not be difficult for you, since none of your co-worker will listen to you vent, not after you started raving about management’s decision to replace the Mike & Ike’s in the snack machine with Fig Newtons. (That vent lasted two years, and ended up with the snack machine being stocked with Candied Chard, Krispy Kale Krackers and other vegan treats. Except for the fact that everyone hates you, it’s the triumph of your working career.)

“If you must vent,” recommends Hartley, “discuss it with loved ones only.” That also could be a problem for you, since your loved ones are even more tired of your complaining than your co-workers. But this is why we have pets. Trust me, a goldfish is a very sympathetic listener.

If you can’t find a willing target for your venting, the recommendation du jour is to “seek the counsel of a mentor.” Assuming that your mentor was fired immediately after hiring you, it is still possible to “schedule a time to chat with someone you turn to for sage professional advice.”

Of course, that would be the Kit Kat Klub’s morning bartender, Louie. Having achieved total guru status after 30 years behind, before and under the bar, you can always count on Louie to have the answer to any of life’s problems. Interestingly, it’s always the same answer, “Have another drink. Let’s make it a double.”

You can also “use other opportunities to get your name out there.” Great idea! Being arrested for indecent exposure by clogging naked in the employee parking lot will quickly bring you the attention you seek.

If all else fails, you may finally come to the point where you “attempt to have a direct conversation with your boss about it.” The idea here is that if you don’t say anything, resentment will “build up and overflow.”

While I doubt that the Boulder Dam is strong enough to hold back a tidal wave of your resentment, you definitely should give the situation time to resolve on its own. As doomed as you may feel, think positive. There’s always a chance that something wonderful will happen, like the company will go out of business, or you’re transferred to the Pyongyang office.

Before you decide to do something foolhardy and give openness and honesty a try, consider that there are better strategies for dealing with a credit-stealing manager

One of my suggestions, which Hartley choose to ignore, is to publically compliment your boss on “their” work. “I’m really impressed, sir,” you might say. “It took me three weeks of back-breaking work to reach that conclusion, but you realized it was the right solution the minute I laid my report on your desk.”

You might also use your in-depth knowledge of the subject to highlight the crime committed by your credit-stealing manager. “Concerning the part of the report in which you discuss the tax advantages of moving production to Estonia, do you think it will be sufficient to incorporate the new entity in Tabasalu, or will the Czecho/Slovakia International Development Treaty of 1845 protect us from the likely tax issues?”

Your boss’s pathetic attempts to come up with some bogus answer will not only demonstrate the real author of the work, but it will be a memory that you will cherish in days ahead, while your boss continues their rapid rise in the company and you wait in line at the unemployment office.

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He now works out of Bellingham, Washington. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at bob@bgplanning.com. To find out more about Bob Goldman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.

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