Ask Alma: My Co-worker Stole My Idea. What Should I do?

By Alma Gill (NNPA Newswire Columnist)

Dear Alma,

During a team meeting at work, I came up with an idea to better assist our members and increase membership. Later while sitting in my cubicle, our boss came over and complimented my co-worker on submitting such a great idea. I was shocked, I couldn’t believe he took my idea to management and took the credit for it. When I asked him about it, he said it was all of our ideas combined that made the suggestion a success and that’s just not true. I am so mad. Should I go to my boss and tell him the truth? I don’t want to be a part of his team anymore.

Disgruntled co-worker

Dear Disgruntled,

It is what it is; don’t make a fuss. I promise you, you’ll have your day. This happens all the time, and leads to one of two scenarios.

No. 1: This situation will come up again and they’ll look to him to lead the team.
No. 2: Questions will be asked and they’ll look to him for answers. What I would do is better prepare myself. From now on, after making suggestions during a team meeting, you should come out and send an email reiterating what you said. That’s right, add some “Loco” to your “Motion,” so you’ll be heard and seen the next go-round, otherwise you’ll look petty. This game is played all day, every day from corporate America to the family owned drugstore on Main Street.

To ease your pain, I’ll tell you what my mama use to tell me: “God, don’t like ugly.” LOL. So trust me, your time will come. I like the Michelle Obama quote: “When they go low, we go high.” That’s a good one, keep that tucked in your back pocket.

No doubt, on the back end of this two-faced co-worker coup, I can’t stress enough the importance of you taking the high road and continuing to be the best you can be. I know it doesn’t always look like it, but hard work and determination never goes unrewarded. Believe you me, managers and supervisors are always eyeballing, watching when you least expect it. They know who’s doing what and what’s doing who.

Truth is, we all strive for kudos, compliments, fist bumps and high fives, accompanying a big thanks from the boss. When that doesn’t happen, it’s cool. What I’ve found on the other side of 50 is, I was rewarded more when I didn’t get a pat on the back, no acknowledgement at all. It always worked out in the end. I’ve experienced and learned a conference room full of cheers is fleeting; it’s my confidence, fortitude and purpose that matters most. Those qualities will never leave you; they’ll always propel you to achieve your highest goals.

Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and The Washington Post. Email questions to: Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and Twitter @almaaskalma.

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