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StorkNet Home > Parenting Channel > Working Mothers Cubby

"For The Good of the Team"
by Kenyatta Thomas
One of my side projects at work was developing an intranet website for our documentation group - something that wasn't even a thought. Something that I came up with, developed, and created with FrontPage 98 - all on my own.

Well, right after I completed it, we were inundated with deadline oriented work, and I put it to the side.

You guessed it. A a newer member of our group, who'd seen my finished product (but now claims he never saw it), stole my idea, created his OWN web pages for our group, and of course, is taking all the credit for it being his idea.

Just writing this, I'm still hurt because our manager (the witch) KNEW what I have been working on, but because we haven't been getting along lately, decided to use HIS page - and then preceded to tell me that I was not a team player, and that I was just grumbling, and I should work with HIM on HIS page, and incorporate my page with his.


I felt lied to, betrayed, and sick to my stomach, because I took her at her word that when the time was right, we would discuss implementing my idea, and now . . .

Now I'm just angry and disillusioned, but it DID push me into sending my paperwork in to my TOP manager/VP about going ahead and getting my Master Certificate in Web Development and Web Design. I had to channel my anger into something positive, but it left a VERY bad taste in my mouth.

And I think I finally get it, how it REALLY feels to put your heart and soul into something, your creativity, only to have some sneaky backstabbing lying dog, steal it.

I've retreated into my shell at work, and I can't even LOOK at my manager because all I see is a liar, but I AM going to talk to my other manager, the one who's sending me to school and talk to him about how I feel about this whole mess.

My husband says that while it was wrong, I should have seen it coming because this guy is SO afraid of losing his job. Since he doesn't have "defined duties" like the rest of us, my husband was NOT surprised when I came home and told him what this guy did.

I really resent the implication that I really shouldn't be mad, and that I should just work with him, because regardless of who "came up with" the idea, it benefits the group.

I disagree, and I am just kicking myself because I was naive to think that I could trust her - that when the time was right, and the subject came up - that she would tell them that I'd already come up with and completed this webpage. She KNEW he was working on it, and only now is trying to backtrack, not knowing that I'd be so angry . . .

How could she not think I wouldn't be angry!

This was a problem that bothered me for so long, and I finally brought it to the message boards, because I realized it's a problem that we, as working women, face everyday. The old, "Go Along to Get Along" philosophy, that we are constantly dealing with on a daily basis.

Here is what our StorkNet members had to say on the topic of teamwork:

AHHHH! I understand your aggravation. I have been visiting this site now for a couple of months, and have never felt the need to post a reply as strongly as I do right now. There are several things I'd like to say, so I will try to be as brief as possible.

  1. What goes around, comes around. ALWAYS! It's very difficult to believe, especially when you are in a tough situation, but promise yourself you won't sink to the level your manager and "co-worker" have and they'll get their just rewards.

  2. DOCUMENTATION! I worked in a similarly negative environment during my first pregnancy, and by the time I left the company, I was a wiz at covering my own rear-end and documenting all my work orders and meeting minutes, even if the meetings were informal ones between my manager (the one I had trouble with) and myself regarding any sort of planning. I would walk out of a meeting - in which I took notes - and write up a very brief minute's record. Then I would email it to that manager with a message like "would you please double-check this. I want to be sure we are on the same page and I am doing what you asked." I did this just to get some sort of sign-off, etc. Then keep it as proof if your relationship deteriorates any further. You do NOT want a case of he said/she said between you and your manager. You are the professional, and unless the entire chain above her are idiots, your professionalism will hold you in good stead. (Not to mention it may make your manager see you aren't going to be a pushover anymore and she should take you seriously.)

  3. I agree with your husband only in part. Yes, you should have seen it coming with your manager if there has been a history of unsupportive behavior from her. And yes, you should have seen it with your co-worker if there were warning signs he was a lazy mooch. It's horrible to be in an environment where you don't feel you can trust anyone, but to make yourself feel more relaxed, I recommend quite simple solutions. a) Password protect any and all work you have on your computer that is private and not needed for team use. b) Lock file cabinets with the same sort of material (when you are leaving for the day and if you feel necessary. during breaks or meetings), or if you can't do that, start carrying a briefcase. c) Discuss your strategic work plans with your manager (if you have more than one, get them in a meeting together or make a point of copying them both on the meeting subject and minutes after it is done) and write out the meeting minutes.
I know the stress involved in doing all of those things, as well as staying at the job, altogether. However, these small steps protect you and at the same time will give you some peace of mind. Hopefully, you won't seem so distant and withdrawn once you are proactive regarding this, leaving you to do your best work despite the negativity surrounding you. ~Beck

If this guy is only using your ideas to hang onto his Job, it won't last forever! It's important to be a team player and friendly with coworkers and he just alienated himself from one person; it won't take long for others to Follow. Anyway keep up the schooling and in the near future your work will kick his you know what! In the mean time watch your back and document EVERYTHING! It's sad to have to be like that, but that's the way it is now! ~Share

And sometimes, there is resolution, but it leaves a bitter taste in your mouth . . .

Well the GOOD thing is, the web page I worked on, was one of those projects I did from home when Christian was sick, so it IS on record that I was working on it.

I also pulled up a copy of my last review last night, and 'lo and behold, it's on THERE as well.

It's just SO hard not to let my anger show, and now my manager wants us all to go to a "team building" seminar . . . one of those things where you sit around telling each other how you feel. Every instinct wants me to say NO!!!!! But I'm going to go. *Sigh*

In the meantime, I've taken your advice, and I've done the following:

  1. Changed my password on my PC,
  2. Transferred my all of my FrontPage files to a JAZ drive disk, taking it off of my hard drive, and it is now in my briefcase,
  3. I *did* take really good notes from previous meetings, and throughout many of them - there's mention of my "side"project. I've since removed those meeting notes to my briefcase as well,
  4. I documented ALL of this, and will continue to do so.
Thank you all so much for your advice . . . and support. ~Kenyatta

I thought long and hard and decided against legal action. I wound up having an arbitration of sorts between my supervisor (who I had the problems with), my Manager, and myself. We just hashed out everything and found that there was some miscommunication and some things that were handled wrong on my supervisor's part.

The biggest issue we discussed was her comments about my breastfeeding. I told her that I did NOT appreciate her derogatory and insensitive comments - that I did not like her comparing Christian to her horse. I felt kind of bad then, because she started to cry, and told me that she and her husband had been having problems, and she wanted to have a baby. She didn't know how to just come out and ask me questions about breastfeeding, because of the anti-child image she had always projected. I told her that her flip comments hurt more, and that she just should have told me the truth.

I told her that my hours were also something that I was not going to change anytime soon and that her constant harassment on that issue was also an irritant. Our company offers flex time, and it is something that I take advantage of, and she would just have to delegate HER work better, instead of waiting until the last minute to give me things, when I could have done them during the day.

All in all, I felt it was very productive, and it's been about three weeks, and so far everything has been going okay. I still keep a daily journal of what goes on, but I do not feel the stress and aggravation that I felt before. I put legal action on the back burner, and tried to talk things out, because it IS a job that I like.

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