Q: Jill, I sent a colleague of mine an e-mail addressing my concerns with the way he handled a situation about five weeks ago. We were working on a project together. We completed it (with several bumps), but he took all the credit for it and hinted that I was the cause for our bumps. I e-mailed him to discuss this and he hasn’t responded. I think I’m being avoided. I’ve been away for a week and now he’s away. What should I do next?
A: Hmm ... how nice of that colleague to conveniently take all the credit while rendering your contributions trivial at best! I can empathize with your situation as I’ve been there myself. I believe you’ve made the best first move by addressing him directly. Some might question why you didn’t address him in person or via phone, but when dealing with disagreements, especially in business, making your initial contact via e-mail can serve as evidence later on. I don’t know if you addressed this issue with your superior as well or if you were doing the classy thing to go to the colleague first. According to how much you felt your work was overlooked, you might have considered copying your boss on the e-mail to the colleague as well as outlining a few dates and times he could select from for you two to talk about this in person.
Now, if we take a step back and don’t assume the worst, maybe he’s on holiday, it slipped his mind to respond, or, if we really tap into our inner Mr. Nice Guy, maybe he didn’t even realize he took all the credit!
If you chose to take that route I’d recommend you e-mail him one last time, outline that this is your last attempt and give him a deadline to respond indicating that no response means you’ll be taking it further. It is crucial the two of you communicate openly about this and in a timely fashion. Five weeks is already too long, but never addressing it might only set you up for a repeat performance should you be grouped together again.
You’ve got to nip this one in the bud. You don’t want anyone assuming him to be the better choice should an opportunity for advancement be in the cards for both of you.
Q: Jill, I’m attending a networking event this week and I wanted to know if it’s too pushy to come with resumés in hand. It’s more of an informal event at a downtown lounge.
A: Your first step should be to visit the website of this organization. Get a handle on who will be attending this event.
Walking in with tons of resumés in hand might be cumbersome, but there are ways to work around it. You could get some business cards made. Include a short bio on the back (just your credentials, recent employment and statement of interest). If you have access to web space you could upload your resumé there and include a link on the back of the card. One of my favourite networking guides is Make Your Contacts Count: Networking Know-How For Cash, Clients And Career Success by Anne Baber & Lynne Waymon. For more on this and other networking resources visit www.letusfacilitate.com. Good luck!
Jill Andrew CYW, BA (Hons.), BEd, MA ‘08 is an award-winning journalist and educator with additional expertise in the performing arts, public speaking, PR, media literacy/awareness, fundraising and entrepreneurship.
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