My team at work had a meeting the other day, and we were discussing some ideas to present on a conference call with our boss’s boss. I had a terrific idea, we were all excited, and agreed that it was our best strategy. When the time came for the conference call…you guessed it…my coworker “Judy” completely stole my idea and presented it as her own! She was being dodgy about making eye contact for the rest of the call, and no one else on my team spoke up to defend me. I’m so angry, disillusioned, and hurt that she would do this to me, and that no one would back me up. It’s really depressing and now I hate going to work every day.
That a-hole exists in every office, in every company, in every city in this country. Possibly the world.
Confronting Judy about her dickishness is going to do nothing. Neither will asking her why she did it, yelling at her that you’re going you get back at her some day, or making voodoo dolls and stabbing them in the brain with ice picks. I think it’s okay to say to her, very calmly, “Judy, I don’t appreciate you presenting my idea as your own. Don’t do it again.”
I like to say stuff like this and then run away without giving the person an opportunity to respond. Really, you’re not interested in what she has to say, anyway. After that, carry on as if it never happened.
In the future, at your team meetings, announce all the shitty ideas you’ve ever had and act like they’re totally awesome. When the conference call comes and Judy The Idea Stealer mentions one of them, shoot her down. Being completely nice and professional about it, give all the reasons why her idea sucks, and then present your own, which will be much, much better.
This, of course, requires that you be prepared. So keep doing your work, be pleasant to her, and resist the temptation to give her a Joe Pesci-style fingers-to-eyes-I’m-watching-you gesture. Out-psychoing someone never works.