You can hardly restrain yourself. That guy on your team made you look bad AND took credit for your work. Now you’re stuck working late doing clean up! The only thing that makes you feel better is plotting your revenge. You’re not going to get screwed at work and let him get away with it (again).

I’ve been there. I, too, have stared at the ceiling throughout the sleepless night. I wonder how no one sees what’s happening. Not to worry though! I am ready with a set of snappy come-backs for the next time. I’ve also got a short to-(not)-do list ready for the next time I get screwed at work. Lucky for you, I’m willing to share it with you.

Here’s 5 things (not) to do when you get screwed at work

  1. Bring it up at every opportunity. Surely that guy only got away with it because no one realized he did it. Certainly if you bring it up repeatedly someone will make the situation right. At an All Hands meeting and have an opportunity to speak up? Perfect opportunity!
  2. Spend your time digging up dirt. Deadlines for work? Those can wait! As soon as you can prove this guy needs to be booted, you can go back to your normal work. It’s not like digging up dirt will take long. Sure your performance may drop off for a couple weeks but everyone will understand when they see how wronged you are.
  3. Send snarky emails to leadership about how blind they are. They’ll appreciate your honesty. Plus, they’ll know your name! Two birds with one stone. Next time they have an important project to assign, they’ll make sure to give it to you. You are someone who tells it how it is. Plus, obviously they owe it to you.
  4. Be a thorn in their side. You should absolutely not remove yourself from the situation. Changing teams or jobs is just letting him win. HE should have to change jobs.
  5. Keep score. If it were a one-time thing, you could understand letting it go. But this guy screws people all the time. You should definitely keep a list of all the things he has done. That way if someone mentions you not hitting deadlines or seemingly overly bitter, you have a list handy. They’ll completely understand then and be on your side.

In all seriousness, these 5 things are what you might want to do when you find yourself screwed at work. But, if you want to keep your career in the upward direction, you should do quite the opposite.

Know that when you get screwed at work

  1. Only a small number of people (if any) need to know. Just as when we were in kindergarten, tattletales aren’t well received.  If it needs to be mentioned at all, do so matter of factually (no whining) and then drop it.
  2. Your work and reputation is all you have in the work place. Unless your job is to dig up dirt, I assure you that an exceptional case of how-you-got-screwed won’t help your performance review.
  3. Snark doesn’t belong in the workplace. Save it for your non-work-friends during happy hour.
  4. Remove yourself from the situation if at all possible. And, if the team or office is one that supports or encourages screwing each other then immediately begin looking for a new job. You won’t be able to change the culture. It’s not going to get easier. Just get out.
  5. While you should absolutely document things that have happened or been said, you should not get into a tit-for-tat situation. In the book, The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything, they discuss that when you are in a low trust situation that people spend an inordinate amount of time documenting rather than working. As a result, productivity goes way down. So I recommend balancing documenting to protect yourself with finding a way out of the situation.