Inside every woman is a Kanye, which sounds uncomfortable but actually means that maybe we'd all be better off forgetting about the penalties associated with being forceful while female and just f*cking going for it when it's show-and-tell-what-you-did time. Might as well, because science says when you do a group project with men, they end up getting the glory *and* the promotions, while you stay right where you are. So much for being a team player.
Whatever the explanation is—bosses devaluing women's contributions relative to men's, women clinging to the fallacy of "likeability"—there's
one thing you can count on working in your favor, and that's you, serenely laying down the facts when Do-Nothing Doug tries to pass off your brilliant research as his own. Not today, Doug. Not ever.
Once more for emphasis: You must speak up for yourself. Or don't, and let your more assertive/articulate colleagues out-brag until you have to quit and live out the rest of your days as a hermit suffering from crippling shame and zero LinkedIn connections. And, as Vicki Salemi, career expert for Monster, put it: "If someone is taking credit for your work right in front of you, imagine what they're doing when you're not in the room."
Much like when you're talking about your coworkers, remember that you'll be seeing these people again, so think more Taylor Swift at the Grammys and less Kanye at the Grammys. Be civil but time it like you're sliding into a DM, and tread lightly if it's your boss who's stealing all your thunder. Key phrases: "When I worked on this project, I noticed…" and "Another interesting thing to point out is X, which I saw in my research…"
You don't have to body-slam Loudmouth Luke into the vending machine, but even casual credit theft should not be taken lightly because, in his mind, you not saying anything, even jokingly = "Oh, I can get away with this on a bigger scale MWAHAHAHAHA." So be like "Did you fall and smack your little head on the pavement?" all breezily, then watch Luke turn an alarming shade of red and scurry away.
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Chelsea Peng is a writer and editor who was formerly the assistant editor at MarieClaire.com. She's also worked for The Strategist and Refinery29, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. On her tombstone, she would like a GIF of herself that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, she's into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard she has to go lie down.
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