Q. One of my co-workers is a credit stealer. Every time I come up with a good idea, she takes the praise. Every time I win a pitch, she basks in the glory. I've tried to say something to her before but she just laughs it off and says: 'We're a team!' I don't want to start whingeing to my boss but I'm worried she's going to sabotage my career.
Jeremy says: The real danger this woman poses is not the one you think. It's altogether subtler and more insidious: a sort of secondary threat.
The chances are that everyone else in your office, including your boss, is already well aware of what she's up to. She seems cheerfully open about what she's doing and may even have convinced herself that, as a co-member of your team, she's entirely entitled to whatever credit and glory happen to be around. If you let this get to you, which to some extent you already have, you'll soon turn into a mean-spirited credit-hogger. And, perversely, the more you seem to be trying to hog all the credit – even though you may have earned it – the less your colleagues will want you to enjoy it.
Instead, let your co-worker carry on as she chooses. Find it funny. Go with the flow. Everyone else will know exactly what's going on – and will admire you all the more for your easygoing attitude. I'm not asking you to be saintly, just canny. There's a lot of innocent self-satisfaction to be gleaned from behaving unexpectedly.
Jeremy Bullmore is a former creative director and chairman of J Walter Thompson London. Email him your problems on firstname.lastname@example.org. Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.