Getting Credit for Your Work

"My boss, also the owner of the company, is an egomaniac who constantly asks for my input/suggestions. After I give her my suggestions she disregards them. Months later, when it becomes apparent that competitors are doing exactly what I suggested, she uses my idea as if it were her original thought and then takes the credit for her ingenuity. Then it becomes my rush project to implement it. She does the same thing with any information I share with her. How do I handle this kind of person without losing my mind?"
-- ivillager Kate.

Question:

You will always have your ideas, wherever you go, and will learn a lot from seeing them implemented. Even so, it's frustrating to deal with someone like your boss. The truth is, there are a lot of them just like her out there. She is helping you learn a valuable lesson: that you are much more likely to see your ideas implemented if someone else thinks they are theirs. The harder you fight to keep credit for an idea, the more other people tend to reject it. The more ideas you can give to other people, the more you can achieve.

Here's what to do, though, to keep from tearing your hair out in frustration while you are waiting for all your good ideas to pay off.

  1. When you think of ideas, don't blurt them out. Think about them. Then, for the really, really good ones, make sure that you tell your boss in front of someone else. It's always safe to phrase it as a question. "Gee, do you think it would be a good idea to annex the next state?" She may say no and do it later, but both of you will know that others heard you.
  2. Update her on a more formal basis. Give her a list of things, on paper or in email, and tell her how your projects are going. Date it. Somewhere in the middle, include a short paragraph on whatever the new idea is. Then you will have documentation in your files without being obvious about it.
  3. Stay upbeat. You want to look as if having fabulous ideas and getting them done is easy for someone as talented and clearly as destined for great things as you are. Remember that getting to the future you desire is the best revenge.

 

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