My Boss is Taking Credit for My Work

August 7, 2017

My Boss is Taking Credit for My Work

This post will apply primarily to those working in large companies or very established ones. It might have less relevance if you’re in a small company or a new one or a young one.

The situation

You have been working on a great new game for smart pre-kindergarteners. Your boss (Melody) has been unstinting in her praise. You have done a prototype and it’s now ready for prime time—that is, presentation to the executive committee. But it becomes clear that Melody will do it, not you. This annoys you and you decide to have it out with her.

Should you do the presentation?

You: Melody, got a moment?
Melody: Sure, Nick. What’s on your mind?
You: I have a bone to pick. How come you’re doing the presentation to the executive committee?
Melody: Well, because the VP asked me to.
You: In my last company, I got to do the presentations.
Melody: But here, it’s usually the manager who does it.
You: How come? I know the product best.
Melody: Absolutely, but do you know about the costs, the projected sales and the ROI?
You: The what?
Melody: Return on Investment—the executive committee will want to know this.
You: But that’s not my job.
Melody: Absolutely right—but they’ll still want those answers.
You: Can’t you teach me that stuff?
Melody: So that you can make the presentation?
You: Well, yeah.
Melody: Nick, I can’t teach you all that before the presentation.
You: So, how do I get credit?
Melody: Haven’t I been telling you what a great job you’re doing? I won’t forget it at bonus time, for sure.
You: Yeah, that’s great, but…
Melody: Nick, this is the way we do it here. Maybe you’ll get a chance some other time.

This might be a battle you can’t win

I understand that you want to make sure the powers-that-be know what you’ve done. After all, it is the way to build your credibility and even your career. I understand this but it might be a battle that isn’t worth fighting.

Companies do differ on this. In smaller companies, it might be the norm that the inventor does everything—invention, financial, sales pitch. And it’s good experience to garner. However, the larger the company, the more likely that these tasks are specialized. Unless you are willing to make a major issue of this, I’d go along with the cultural norms of your company.

This is a chance for Melody. In a large company, there are often more than a few layers between the senior people and the working level. This being the case, Melody might not get in front of the executive committee all that often herself. So, she’s unlikely to give up a chance to further her career so that you can further yours. Come on, you’d do the same in her shoes.

Sometimes, the company’s culture dictates who gets the credit. But you can up the chances that you get credit in this senior gathering. Next post.

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