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My colleague is getting the credit stolen from right under him and I'm the one getting mad
2

My colleague is getting the credit stolen from right under him and I'm the one getting mad

My colleague is getting the credit stolen from right under him and I'm the one getting mad

(OP)
I just wanted to pass along a curious experience I had and ask a tangential question.

My colleague (colleague A) spent the last two months developing and completing completely new risk assessments for the process we are re-commissioning. He was very successful in this task and delivered ahead of the project schedule, but he asked for some help on the risk assessment from another colleague(colleague B). B has been pushing this idea that he did more than half the work and was super clever to be able to manage his workload and help out. He contributed maybe 2 days worth of work? I was doing all the documentation polishing and it was very evident to me that A spent a lot of late nights putting these documents together.

Personally, I just can't stand this type of behavior and I wouldn't have any qualms directly calling out someone's BS if they tried it on me, but A isn't the type to assert himself and make B stop. I intervened with the project manager so that when he gives the project review, he'll tell the upper management exactly who deserves kudos for what. I just made it very clear that I admired A for their hard work and how much they contributed to the project and that B wasn't so instrumental in the risk assessment part of the project. I am the least experienced engineer on the project, so I didn't speak from a position of influence I just thought it was the right thing to do.

If you were the project manager, how would you view my actions? Would you take into consider the content of what I told you or is speaking ill (however mildly) of a colleague an unforgivable act? I don't regret speaking up, but I wonder if being blunt was best or if I should have used more flowery language.

RE: My colleague is getting the credit stolen from right under him and I'm the one getting mad

If I were the project manager and heard both sides, not knowing who to believe, I would give a different project with similar unrelated problems to solve, and let B run with it. The outcome will tell all.

Kinda like "Big Eyes" in the courtroom...

Mike McCann, PE, SE (WA)


RE: My colleague is getting the credit stolen from right under him and I'm the one getting mad

Depends on the quality of the project manager.

A good, properly engaged, one will already know who did all the work and will welcome somebody saying positive stuff about Colleague A.

A poorer project manager is much less predictable.

Especially if you are the least experienced engineer on the project, being outspoken like that has greatest impact when deployed very sparingly indeed.

Forget about flowery language. It turns "This is really bothering me.." into "Look at me, look at me!" in many people's minds.

A.

RE: My colleague is getting the credit stolen from right under him and I'm the one getting mad

One possibility, based on the ancient principle that there's nowt as queer as folk:

"B" has behaved like this ever since Granny first told him what a clever boy he was.

The whole firm, with one exception, knows "B" sometimes does this and they take all his claims with a healthy pinch of salt (I reckon you could make a whole sermon from the idea of a "healthy" pinch of salt)

"A" tolerates it because he knows everybody else understands, so it doesn't harm his reputation (and "B", like everybody, has positive qualities too).

The only person completely oblivious to all this is "B" himself: If he ever found out, he would curl up and die of shame.

A.

RE: My colleague is getting the credit stolen from right under him and I'm the one getting mad

First, find out whether "B" also golfs with -or- mows the Project Manager's lawn.
The situation may be a hopeless case, and you might want to move on.


Proud Member of the Reality-Based Community..

To the Toolmaker, your nice little cartoon drawing of your glass looks cool, but your solid model sucks. Do you want me to fix it, or are you going to take all week to get it back to me so I can get some work done?

RE: My colleague is getting the credit stolen from right under him and I'm the one getting mad

Worrying about this political crap is above your pay grade.
Let the managers manage; do your own work.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: My colleague is getting the credit stolen from right under him and I'm the one getting mad

My decades of experience have taught me that in situations like this you are not the only one to see it. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the project manager you spoke to already knew it himself, or at least suspected it. I have learned that if you give people like colleague B enough rope they will eventually hang themselves. Their continuous self-aggrandizement to overcome their own inferiority complex will become widely known by all. There's nothing wrong with discretely and appropriately expressing yourself, but remember to keep the longer term picture in mind. Things have a way of working themselves out.

RE: My colleague is getting the credit stolen from right under him and I'm the one getting mad

Per Capn hook, bigger deal is who Engineers A & B are 'friends' with. Not just the project manager but senior management...

Frankly, not knowing where you fit in on the 'who's friends with who' aspect, cudos to you as a person for seeing this and saying something points to your integrity.

As a career move it may or may not be the smartest but you can't have anything.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: My colleague is getting the credit stolen from right under him and I'm the one getting mad

(OP)
The biggest reason I approached the project manager about this is he has many projects he is overseeing, and colleagues A and B are the de-facto managers on the day to day stuff because they are mid/senior level people. I hope the blatant nature of what B is doing will be the downfall and I'm glad some of you think that he will be found out. I don't understand why he would want to take some of this glory without doing the work, I would be afraid of being asked to work on something like that again but with no-one to help!

@MikeHalloran - I tell myself this all the time but I can't seem to hold my tongue when this blatant lying is happening right in front of my face. I mean, must I forsake Right and Wrong at work?

@capnhook - I'm not harping on this situation to the project manager, so in a sense I've moved on. I know they aren't acquainted with each other outside of work because the project manager is new to the company and when they first saw each other they didn't have the "can't believe you're here now" speech.

RE: My colleague is getting the credit stolen from right under him and I'm the one getting mad

Similar but not the same story. An aquaintances son in law (A), fresh out of college, MSME, army before that. Paired with a much senior supervisor (B) for a project at a prestigious aerospace supplier. A works late comes home, eats dinner, and works into the night for a year or so. Project complete and successful, B takes all of the credit in front of the client and A. A addresses the issue with management quietly 'hey B is talking like he did all the work, simply not so...' without making a scene. A gets yelled at for coming in a couple minutes late, written up for being a few minutes late back from lunch. A says 'I see how it is' and quits. A is happy and well paid at a bank now.

My perception here: Calling out/showing up folk can get serious quickly.

RE: My colleague is getting the credit stolen from right under him and I'm the one getting mad

Colleague A sounds like a hard working and humble person. Both admirable qualities. If you want to do something, let Colleague A know you recognize and admire his hard work and humility. Ask him what makes him tick, he might have an interesting answer.

I used to count sand. Now I don't count at all.

RE: My colleague is getting the credit stolen from right under him and I'm the one getting mad

(OP)
The subject of the after project review happened to come up with the project manager and a couple of us in the project team, he mentioned that upper management was happy with the progress and that A and B will likely get a boost in their performance evals (neither of them were there). I hope A gets a higher boost!

@moon161 - That goes to the questions I asked in the original post about how you would view my speaking up if you were in the position of the project manager. If the project manager saw it as unforgivable, I think he'd tell upper management and let them handle it. One complication that I didn't mention was that I am a contractor at this company so I use that as an excuse not to be political with everything I say and do, so I'm not very worried about retaliation. But I'm not outrageous so as to give a bad name to my company. I'm glad your acquaintance's son-in-law was able to quit on his terms; I get that the senior guy is more valuable to the company, so they weren't going to fire him for hogging credit but if I were the boss I'd take the son-in-law's complaint as justification to have a discussion with the senior guy about the company's ethical standards for behavior and so forth...I think that is a sufficient response for a (hopefully) one-off infraction. But I'm also the kind of person that believes if you help others succeed, some of that spotlight can't help but fall on you too.

@SandCounter - I admired A's knowledge and work ethic right from the start and I asked him that very question. He's the kind of guy that likes engineering for engineering and wants to be an engineer. He's very nice too and always helps the couple junior engineers like me; he seems to know everything. He joked and said he likes teaching people things so that when he works with them again he doesn't worry if they are competent or not! Knowing this, I think he doesn't care all that much that B is taking credit for his work because he sees the work as the reward. It's also the reason I don't really talk about this with A because I don't want him to think I'm trying to push him into being someone he's not. I hope I can maintain such a work ethic but I guess I am not as humble as A because if I were in his position I'd have shot B down the moment I got wind of what he was doing.

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