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How to handle a competitive younger colleague

(32 Posts)
Levantine Thu 31-Jan-13 22:48:44

I have been nothing but encouraging and supportive to my maternity leave cover, and because in part of my praise of her (my manager was unsure at first) she is now a permanent member of staff. I feel like I have created a monster.

It's hard to talk about without sounding petty, but today she emailed a plan for a presentation that I had designed absolutely (imo) making it look like her work - not cc-ing me in but making me a recipient hmm

I am a mug. I am open about what I am working on, always always credit people's ideas. I just don't know how to handle her and I feel really upset.

So, how can I make it clear to those to whom it matters that it is MY work without lookig petty. And how can I get tougher in future?

MrsPoglesWood Thu 31-Jan-13 23:04:19

I would either send a 'reply to all' email saying that I am glad she found the presentation I desgined useful and offering to assist her if she needed any further help or I would forward it to my boss saying 'obviously you will be aware that X has used my presentation almost totally as a template for her own, perhaps we could discuss how I could mentor other staff for my own development?'

ceeveebee Thu 31-Jan-13 23:08:18

Is this the first / only time sonething like this has happened or is it an ongoing problem?

Levantine Thu 31-Jan-13 23:12:38

We are delivering it together, so I don't think the first would work but I like the way you're thinking....

I am so un-devious, I just rely on doing a good job and being nice that I worry that trying to manouvre back will backfire on me. I obviously need to become a bit more sophisticated but I don't know how.

Levantine Thu 31-Jan-13 23:14:19

She was in an email correspondence with a contributor to a project I was managing in a vaguely undermining way, lots of giggling about how I wouldn't be pleased that they were changing their incomprehensible blah yet again close to deadline, but nothing else apart from a vague instinct

MrsPoglesWood Thu 31-Jan-13 23:18:39

So has she been appointed to the same grade as you or are you more senior?

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Thu 31-Jan-13 23:23:12

Be very careful. I had a similar situation when I worked in sales for a magazine. A younger girl started, we got on fine, then suddenly I'd lost the magazine I worked on and liked because she flirted, actually flirted, with the clients and got more work than me. Then one day I came into work and she had switched our desks. Not just moved them, actually went through all my stuff and put it in her desk. She wanted mine because it faced the door so she could see who came into the office. I left soon after that. That's just a couple of examples, I forget what else happened, but I just put up with it and tried to be the grown up and it got me nowhere. I was far too nice. I got walked all over. I wish I'd had Mumsnet back then. grin

Levantine Thu 31-Jan-13 23:29:06

MrsP same grade unfortunately

Ilovemydog - oh no that is terrible - how did you change the way you worked after that or did you just never come across such a horror again?

the bummer is I was out of the office today as taking my 6 yo for paed assessments and I work part time - how the hell can I compete?

need to go to bed now, but am very grateful for hte moral support and for any suggestions

MrsPoglesWood Thu 31-Jan-13 23:35:48

You can compete because your boss has known you a lot longer. Yes it might go against the grain but you will have to make sure he/she is aware of what is going on. Say "I'm so pleased x found the presentation I developed useful and didn't need to amend it before she sent it out. I know our customers previously found it very useful. She's very keen, has potential but still has a lot to learn etc etc."

See yourself as her mentor and act like it both to your boss and customers. They will follow your lead.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Thu 31-Jan-13 23:39:34

I found myself pregnant shortly after that, we'd sort of been trying anyway, so I saw it as the perfect time to stop work. Don't know if I'd be any different sadly, I am still too nice and polite and would happily let someone walk over me to prevent me walking over them. Pathetic but true.

Unless they're doing it to my children, of course. Then I'll kill them. grin

hatgirl Thu 31-Jan-13 23:48:36

start protecting any documents you create from changes (if you don't know how to do this let me know)/ or make the read only and add headers and footers to any work you do (marking your territory!) if she removes/ replaces any of these 'marks' then you have proof she is plagiarising your work.

Your original presentation is date stamped on your computer - you will always be able prove that you created it rather than her if needs be.

you can either dob her in and say to manager how upset you are that she is passing off your work as her own after you have actively backed her (perhaps play up to your boss in that his reservations clearly had some basis) or you ignore, scowl and make sure she doesn't have opportunity to do it again.

chutneypig Fri 01-Feb-13 07:38:16

See yourself as her mentor and act like it both to your boss and customers. They will follow your lead.

I'm in total agreement with this approach. Professional and ultimately satisfying.

Levantine Fri 01-Feb-13 11:05:07

Yes, I think that's really good advice

So today (not a work day so am at home) I asked her to gather some more background materials for me and said what a wonderful job she is doing, thanks for her support etc etc

There is a lesson for me though in how I communicate, I clearly need to be more authoritative

Levantine Fri 01-Feb-13 11:06:18

One thing I have noticed she does, which I find really irritating but I think is probably quite effective is to praise senior colleagues whenever they blow their nose. People seem to like it so I thought I would start applying the same insincere tactic, starting with her

SPBInDisguise Fri 01-Feb-13 11:09:34

Yes, I was going to say be more authoritative. Tell her in a "just letting you know" way that it's the done thing to credit others when you send out their work ,else it looks as though they are the author. Just keep pulling her up on it.
I go out of my way to be fair about this, and if I'm delivering someone someone else started or has had input into I sometimes work on my phrasing to make sure they are mentioned in an appropriate way (I'm sure there will be the odd time I will have forgotten but that will ahve been genuine oversight). So far, I have been surrounded by people who are equally professional, and am lucky. There is nothing worse than someone else taking credit for your work (unless it's your boss).

SPBInDisguise Fri 01-Feb-13 11:10:51

Sorry about grammar in my first sentence, hopefully you can decipher my meaning. blush
Hopefully there are no GRAMMER POLICE about grin

SPBInDisguise Fri 01-Feb-13 11:11:35

second sentence
is it lunchtime?

Levantine Fri 01-Feb-13 11:25:23

Well yes, me too SPB and I used to work in a far more competitive and more creative industry than this

Ha ha at grammer police - they're gonna come and get you grin

doodledoodoo Fri 01-Feb-13 20:07:19


Don't give her the opportunity to get her mitts on your work. Add your name to the first slide then protect the document. Stop being so helpful! You are far too nice. grin

Chottie Fri 01-Feb-13 20:30:21

I would say step up and mark your patch. She definitely has her eyes on your job.....

Huge sympathies, I have lots of younger people snapping at my heels too. I am smiley, but not too helpful. Look after No. 1.

emess Fri 08-Feb-13 21:54:16

Hmm, I've got one of these on my team! I'm team leader. She's half my age, less than half my dress size envy, and has about 2 years experience in current org to my 10. I was am top dog, dealing with all sensitive & confidential matters both commercial and personal etc since day 1, close to boss etc. 8 weeks ago they appointed a super-boss, and she's been licking his a**e since day 1. He asked me 2 weeks ago if she could do some PA-type work for him, and when I said I'd need to consider the impact on the teamwork he said 'no, she can manage both'. Anyway. Today I asked her about some work I wanted her to do but she pleaded that she couldn't because she had to do some work for him, and it was higher priority (seemed to involve a lot of laminating, but hey, I guess that's in a PA's job description). Then she went all prim and said she wasn't sure what she was allowed to tell me about the work she's doing for him - like I couldn't be trusted or something!! Time for some damage limitation methinks, before I'm completely sidelined!

TravelinColour Fri 08-Feb-13 21:57:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheFallenNinja Fri 08-Feb-13 22:01:58

Grind them down with menial tasks. It's dog eat dog, be brutal and protect yourself.

princessx Fri 08-Feb-13 22:40:49

I've been there too, not much real advice because I handled it badly, but I agree you should pull her up on sending out your presentation as her own work. What is your network like? Could you mention to friends in the office how she's behaving? Just to see how others view her?

In my case I hired a temp for 2 days data entry work. It was this girl's first job after uni, and actually her first ever job as she didn't work at uni or school. Anyway my irritating colleague bigged up how 'smart' she was to my boss so she kept her on longer, next minute she's permanent and responsible for hiring pr agency and all press releases and strategy which was whole reason I'd taken job in first place. Then she wanted higher salary, I gave loads if advice and support only to discover after I left she was earning way more than me!


Re the praise them for blowing their nose etc, I was actually like that in my last job but it was genuine honest! Every idea or suggestion my boss had I'd blurt out 'thAt's brilliant' I wasn't being calculating, I was just genuinely impressed, but my colleagues must have thought u was trying to be teacher's pet.

Tasmania Sat 09-Feb-13 03:09:01

It happens (been there, done that). I note that the OP works part-time. I'm afraid that once you do that, you really CAN'T compete will full-timers anymore. Most likely, they will at some point overtake you... but that's inevitable, given they spend more time in their actual career. If the OP came back full-time, she would stand a much bigger chance.

I know people can get quite territorial at work... but really, rather than bringing in even more politics into the workplace (some of which has been suggested here), I would just work my a*se off every single day... and make my work really visible.

It helps always to belightyears away in terms of ability from the young ones. One thing also - get fit and slim, and try looking as young as possible. Looking closer in age to the new charge, but being ten steps ahead them knowledge-wise tends to impress people...

... and the new charge will just think: "I don't know how she does it."

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