#21- Credit Stealers: My Crazy Office, Season 2

Kathi and Katherine answer questions about people who steal credit on this episode of the My Crazy Office podcast.

First, we give advice about how to handle a co-worker that takes credit for ideas that are not theirs.

Then we discuss whether or not a boss should give their employees credit for every good idea they produce and why.

Who is Getting Your Full Attention?

Distracted in a Meeting

Ever notice how irritating other people’s behavior can be in the heat of summer? When someone jumps in front of you in a line or pushes you into an elevator, or cuts you off in traffic, it can be very tempting to blow a fuse.

Similarly, when someone acts in a rude, obnoxious or inconsiderate manner at work, you may want to strike back by yelling, chiding or otherwise telling them off.

While a quick blow up may release steam in the moment, losing your cool at work is generally not recommended. You don’t want to risk looking volatile or unprofessional or out of control.

The next time someone really ticks you off, try to hit the pause button. Take a mental time out, and then find a way to release the anger physically, through exercise, deep breathing, or splashing cold water on your face.

Once you’ve cooled down, then you can consider whether the incident is worth addressing from a cool, collected position on your part. The key is to use your anger constructively — to draw a line or communicate a boundary. Don’t let it set you on fire.

Is there someone who you resent at work?

Is there someone at work who you simply can’t forgive? Maybe she got the promotion that you wanted, or he said something thoughtless that still makes you mad. Now you ignore her or badmouth him whenever the opportunity arises.

The verb “to resent” comes from the french word “resentir” which literally means re-feel. But that’s the problem with resentments — we use them to protect ourselves, to feel stronger. Yet, they actually make us sick inside.
As Malachy McCourt said, “Resentment is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

So what do you do with a resentment? Well, the first step is to acknowledge that you’re holding a grudge. The second step is decide whether it’s really helping you. What are you “winning” by hating or resenting the other person? How is it furthering your career?

If the answer is, “very little,” then you may be close to releasing it. Don’t worry, releasing a resentment doesn’t really hurt. You don’t have to give up your principals or suck up to someone you despise. You just have to be willing to release the past and protect yourself going forward. We can discuss more about that next time.

Low on HoHoHo

It’s that time of year again, and I’m in a frenzied, anxious state of mind. How are you? If you are able to weather this holiday season calmly, please tell me your secret. Tell me because, despite my best efforts, I find this time of year deplorable.

Don’t get me wrong — I love the lights, I like the fellowship, I like the idea of reconnecting with family and friends. But I hate the pressure and the barrage of advertisers insisting that I buy, buy, buy.

My hohoho usually comes from enjoying people, not things. At work, I am grateful for my clients, my business partner, our agent, our vendors, our service providers and everyone else who makes daily interactions and business exchanges pleasurable.

At home, I’m grateful for my loving husband, my stepchildren, my extended family and our overall health.

Okay, now I’m feeling a little bit better. But there’s still so much to do, right? I welcome your ideas on experiencing joy or peace or laughter or light during this time of year.

How to ride a bad mood

This week has been interesting because I can safely say I’ve been in a bad mood for much of it. Perhaps it’s because I don’t want summer to end. Maybe it’s connected to the approach of 9/11. Or Maybe it’s just ‘cuz. While it’s tempting to wonder why, the bigger issue is how to ride it out.

When I’m in a bad mood, external experiences tend to match. So this week, I lost my purse on my commuter bus (then had it returned), our phones went out for two days, the rain created two water leaks in my office, and I discovered that our basement was infested with mold (which I aggressively vacuumed away).

It’s kind of cute how the universe picked up on my bad mood and magnified it.

The good news is that I’m old enough to know that this too shall pass. I can see my mood and the irritating events of this week as tiny blips on life’s screen.

And I know that it would serve me to slow down, catch my breath, and do one of the many things we often suggest: restore my energy with exercise, yoga or rest; repair my emotional state by meditating, and spending time with people I love.

How do you ride out your bad mood(s)? Maybe we can help each other out.

The Business of Breathing

Have you ever just stopped during a work day and noticed your breathing? I have, and what I usually notice is how shallow it is when I’m feeling stressed out or fearful about something.

We always hear yoga instructors and meditation teachers telling us to breathe. But it’s more difficult to remember when you’re running to get to work or racing to make a deadline. Even scanning email or texting can lead to shallow, quick breathing which creates more tension, more headaches, more mental noise.

So here’s my challenge to you: As you read this, stop and notice your breathing. How is it? Fast? Slow? Deep? Shallow? Choppy? Smooth? Can you breathe down into your belly or does it stay in your upper chest? Can you breathe into your shoulders? Can you breathe down to your toes?

Just a few moments spent focused on your breath can open the door for less stress, less fear, and better concentration. And that lighter state will improve your productivity in ways that the shallow-breathing you can’t imagine.

Email? Text? Phone? I’m totally confused

If I want to make a date with you, do I text you, FB you, tweet you, email you, link to you or (God forbid) call you?

It seems to depend on each person’s preference and that preference is only known through familiarity.

I have certain friends who are offended when I text them. Others no longer answer their phones.

If I don’t pick the right medium, you may not respond. Even if I do pick the right medium, you may not respond.

I don’t know about you, but my brain gets tired just trying to figure this stuff out.

Any tips for managing our multi-device, constant response culture?

The Kindness of Strangers

Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a penchant for leaving and losing things: Keys, wallets, planners, phones, gloves, hats, shoes, purses, brief cases, even suitcases. I’ve left these items and more in taxis, airplanes, ATM vestibules, on top of cars, outside of buildings, at the edge of swimming pools, on football fields, in stores, on top of deli counters, and any other place you can imagine.

I hate this habit of mine. Honestly, it drives me crazy. I feel horrible when I’m with a family member or a friend and we have to spend time re-tracing my steps because I’ve lost something. And yet, try as I may – and I do try – the tendency to drop, leave or misplace possessions continues.

Recently, I hit a grand slam in the losing category. I managed to step off of my commuter bus (the 166 to Leonia, New Jersey) without my backpack, which contained my laptop (aka my brain), my planner (aka my memory), and all of the important papers of my life. I realized this grave mistake as I walked into the house.

Frantic and furious at myself, I immediately got on the phone and started calling. First, I called NJ Transit lost & found to file a report. Next, I contacted the bus dispatcher, who put out an alert. Then I contacted all the bus terminals. Finally, I stood by the bus stop for an hour, hailing every bus that passed with the hope that some friendly driver had unearthed it. No luck.

By 9:00 PM, I began to surrender. This was it. I’d committed the ultimate blunder. I started to rehearse confessing the mess I’d made to my business partner and my husband.

Then, the miracle happened. “PING!” I received an email, a Facebook message on my blackberry. “Are you missing anything?” the sender asked. Some wonderful, thoughtful, kind person had discovered my backpack under her seat and decided to take it home.

And that’s when it hit me. This ongoing, irritating, pathetic habit of mine once again had given me a gift. I was experiencing The Kindness of Strangers. In fact, I’d experienced the Kindness of Strangers hundreds of times because of my losing habit. Almost every time that I’ve dropped, left or misplaced something, some kind soul has gone out of his or her way to return it to me.

While I still wish that I could stop leaving, losing and forgetting things, today, I have a newfound appreciation for this maddening aspect of my personality. May you also know the Kindness of Strangers. Because of my foibles, I know there are a lot of kind strangers out there.