“I do the work but she takes the credit…"

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…but our boss is oblivious, and I’m worried it looks like I’m no good at my job. We’re a small team and my colleague is very popular – even the boss loves her – but she’s subtle and tactical, claiming my work as hers in meetings where I’m too gob smacked to say anything. When it happens, I don’t want to appear petty in front of everyone, but then I’ll be hauled into our boss’s office for something “we” haven’t done right, while she gets away with murder. Last week, I drove for two and a half hours to an appointment she was responsible for setting up, only to be turned away because she hadn’t booked it, but our boss just laughed it off. What can I do?”

Fiona, 32, by email

EMMASAYS: “You have a right to be respected, so challenge her when she shows you up.”

Maybe you could start buying her lunch and cleaning her car, too? It sound harsh, but you’re letting her walk all over you without so much as a whimper of complaint. You have a right to be respected and valued, so challenge her when she takes credit for your ideas; it will lead to a far better work environment for you. Every office has a “sniper”, those sly, manipulative people who make it their business to get ahead – whatever it takes. Bringing that behaviour to the surface for everyone to see is essential, for the sake of your career – and your sanity!

I wonder, however, if you feel a bit jealous of her “teacher’s pet” status? Don’t sweat it, instead be genuine, friendly and helpful and you’ll forge strong relationships of your own, based on honesty. Also, remember, snipers often appear to have lots of friends because people are afraid of their apparent invincibility – it’s safer to just get along with them.

From now on, tell or email your ideas to your boss directly, so, should the sniper try to pass them off as her own, you can calmly refer to the fact it was your idea, and she’ll be less likely to target you again. And check appointments and confirm them with her in writing over email, so you have evidence in case you need to make a more formal complaint against her in future.

Sadly, playground behaviour continues long after school, but by standing up to your office bully, you’ll allow your work to shine, and she’ll be forced to change her behaviour, so everyone will benefit.

Remember that confident people are treated more positively, so work on becoming more assertive, and not allowing her the power to make you miserable. Good luck!

Stuck in a love rut?

In the wake of the Heidi Klum/Seal split, Emma offers advice for others feeling the “seven-year itch”…

“Many couples drift apart after a few years, when the lust that once underpinned their relationship is replaced by reality and responsibilities. It’s natural to feel a bit bored, bicker and even feel less attracted to your partner from time to time. Keep perspective, though – you took years to build your relationship, so devote time to nurturing it, too. Working through issues is the true mark of a successful couple so, if it’s getting really tough, give relationship therapy a go. Even if you decide to separate, it’ll help you do so in the most amicable way.”

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