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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?

amroc18 Sun 10-Feb-13 10:18:35

Taking credit for someone else's work is inexcusable. But two thoughts:

Does she know what the cc bit of emails is for? I had to explain this to a more inexperienced colleague when she started (and just kept outing everyone in the to line).

Remember she is doing this because she sees your work as great. Agree you should take steps to protect etc so she doesn't do again but perhaps she could do with encouragement in her own ability or some opportunities to be on different projects.

Tasmania Sat 09-Feb-13 12:27:56

Purplepidjin - as much as I would like to to tell my dcs that we live in a world where looks don't matter... it simply is not true. And it's not just about looking fit and slim - it's about looking young. In the culture we live in, youthful good looks is placed above everything else sometimes (and the media tells us how we should look like).

In my career, I've seen SEVERAL people being selected during the recruitment process based on their looks rather than their ability, i.e. there were other interviewees who showed more ability, but weren't as memorable. I used to think this was mainly a "women only" problem, until I saw first-hand how people reacted in one instance when the most able possible recruit was a not so handsome man, and the preferred option was a ditzy, pretty and chatty woman who completely failed the recruitment process (i.e. tests).

When I started my career, I was probably one of those "pretty young ones". But I put on a lot of weight since my 20s, and I realized it was seriously hindering my career. Pretty and thin colleagues with less ability would be given more opportunities. After making the decision to get back in shape a few years ago, shedding more than a dozen stones - and I thank my genes that I didn't change much otherwise since my 20s - I've been getting one promotion after another. Yet, my ability and work hasn't really changed.

It's not nice, I know... but the truth often hurts.

emess Sat 09-Feb-13 10:23:07

Sadly, the slim/fit/pretty thing is probably true. I'm quite sure my super-boss fancies my younger colleague. They are both gym addicts, love skiing, etc. He's old enough to be her father and she's eye candy whereas I, however confident , competent and comfortable in my skin I am, am not and never will be. So, I will compete with her on other ground.

Back to the OP - sorry, we've hijacked your thread. Time to do a bit of self-promotion, blow your own trumpet etc. Do not do it just to get back at her. Do it so that you cam demonstrate to everyone how great you are at everything. Don't just react - show that you are being pro-active.

<goes off to take own advice>

PurplePidjin Sat 09-Feb-13 05:24:12

*their blush

PurplePidjin Sat 09-Feb-13 05:23:24

I was replying to Tasmania's suggestion that slim, fit women get ahead in the workplace because they're colleagues get jealous and the male boss, because the boss is always a man, fancies them confused

Chottie Sat 09-Feb-13 05:10:54

purple I hear what you say, but I do understand where OP is coming from. I have to compete on all levels too...... shock and have no chinks in my armour.....

PurplePidjin Sat 09-Feb-13 04:54:43

get fit and slim, and try looking as young as possible

How enormously sexist hmm Dress smartly and professionally, yes, but fit and slim? That's got fuck all to do with ability

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."

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.

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

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

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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!

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.

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

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

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

second sentence
is it lunchtime?

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 11:09:34

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).

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

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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