Credit Where Credit's Due, in the Workplace

    Initially written in 2013, edited, 2017
    Today my manager returned to work from the monthly ASPCA meeting; my position as Adoption Counselor is an ASPCA-funded one.
    "How'd the meeting go?" I asked as we passed in the hall; we were both busy.
    "Great! They love you. They're so happy with your work, everything's great," he said, smiling all the while.
    Eventually I caught a moment to pop in my manager's office to chat in greater detail.
    He went on about how impressed they were with the foster program, our numbers and... they even wanted him to go to a conference in September to talk about the program!
    "Great, that's great," I murmured, with as much fake enthusiasm as possible. "And did you tell them what I'm doing, about my part in all of this?" I asked.

     "Oh yeah. All your numbers are here," he gestured to a thick binder. "This is all thanks to you Jessica," he said, as I walked out of his office.
    It took a few minutes to realize why I was perturbed. And slowly, as with a cold that takes days to really catch, it came to me... I had started the Foster Program as we knew it.
    I had begun sending pets out on foster care primarily as an alternative to euthanasia. I worked with our first fosters and can name them. This was, of course, with my manager's blessing. He's the one that gave me the go-ahead and supported me in the venture from the start and, without that support the program would never have evolved.
    When the program began taking off he became much more involved- also recruiting, processing and assisting foster parents. He did a great job with the program.
    And perhaps most importantly to the administration and the NGOs giving Animal Services money- he made the program look good on paper. He was fundamental in creating a record-keeping database so we could track our success.
    "But I started it dammit!" (that thought kept swimming round' my head).
    I had done the necessary grit work to build a solid and momentous foundation for the program.
    And it felt as if my superiors were watching how the foster program was going from afar. -It was safe for them to be observers and make sure nothing would go terribly wrong, and if it did go wrong, the blame would be on me, which would've be fine with me, in all sincerity. -At the time all of this was going down I wanted to take full responsibility, and credit, for the program.
    When the program began gaining real momentum my manager dived in head first and basically made it his own.
    My manager was, and is, my friend. He was a dedicated, hard worker and we thought highly of each other; we made a great team. I respected him but, in a way, felt slighted that he was seemingly taking credit for a program I had started or, at the very least, we started together.
    Why couldn't he have just said, "Let me see if Jessica would like to go to the conference and speak too since she's the one who started the program?" I thought.

    It's worth mentioning here: this was far from the first time my work had been discredited, unacknowledged, or practically been plagiarized, in my post-college career.
    -2005 to 2013 felt like one professional disappointment after another in a way.
    And when put in these situations I typically had no idea how to react; I always felt caught off guard.
    A few people have shared similar stories with me. Women that worked in Corporate America their whole lives have told me, "Honey, get used to it," or, "That happens everywhere though, all companies do it."
    My Mother and Aunt Lisa had both already shared their workplace 'not getting credit where credit is due' stories with me circa 2006... just a year after graduating from college I needed these kinds of 'pep talks' (for lack of better wording).
    So what's a girl to do when she's not getting credit where credit's due in the workplace?
    -Smoke cigarettes, take Xanax, drink too much and/or suffer from lower back and/or neck pain from pent up frustration (I don't have these symptoms but have seen many that do)
    -Act like a raging, powerful, bitch... I have tried this but it never lasts or works for me
    -Just keep doing good and eventually 'your time will come'
    -Quit your job as in "I won't stand for this, I deserve better!" I've definitely done this and if we did this every time we felt stepped on like a roach in the workplace, well, we'd likely be switching jobs pretty frequently.
    So where does that leave us?
    I haven't quite figured that out but I do know where I don't want it to leave me-
    in a place of bitter resentment, feeling hopeless and doomed to a life of being unacknowledged.
    I'm leaning towards figuring out what I can do on my own (again). That's a very hard path to take but perhaps the only one to professional redemption.

 Now, here I sit, 4 1/2 years later, reading this and it feels strange. I remember very well how painful this experience was to me then. And if I really think on it now, it's still painful. However, through life experience I have learned better coping skills. And, this post didn't tell the whole story of why I wasn't permitted to take any credit for the foster program. Now I know and understand that and... it had nothing to do with my manager. -It came from above him. -And it was all bureaucracy and related to money.
Some other day I'll explain, briefly, what I mean by that. And I'll try to get to a better 'resolution' for any woman that finds herself in a situation similar to this one.
Best, J