Face-Off: Are You Getting the Credit You Deserve?

Face off

Editor’s Note: Face-off is a new weekly series on YouTern, where we look at the same career question from two generational perspectives… and present two very different answers. Please let us know if this new take on career advice is helpful to you!


A young careerist spent weeks preparing for a major presentation to corporate executives who traveled into the regional office specifically for this meeting. The day before the presentation, her boss tells her that she will be making the presentation – and needs her to quickly walk her through it.

For many young professionals, this scenario happens far too often. Which begs the question:

What Happens When You Don’t Get the Credit You Deserve?

Albert Qian, Millennial:

Albert QianTaking and receiving credit in a professional setting can be a volatile situation, especially for new graduates at work. Often looked to as assistants for their role in spearheading and executing upon important projects, they sometimes do not receive the credit they deserve since their manager oversees the entire project.

As a result, reports can become easily disgruntled and feel like they are left out of the process.

Though I’ve never gone through this experience myself, the corporate setting lends to such situations occurring due to a workforce and employment culture that prides individuals on accomplishments. Employment paradigms aside, the culture of “paying your dues” is at work here, and assumes that the person who might not have received due credit will eventually bask in the glory. Continue to put in the work, and eventually recognition and acknowledgement will come. In the meantime, the work still counts and reports should place these accomplishments on their resume nonetheless.

Most important in this entire journey is the art of communication. A good manager recognizes the importance of the weekly one-on-one, where goals, deliverables, and progress are discussed, and seeks to integrate taking credit into the discussion as well. Sometimes the manager is under the gun from management to deliver a huge project and takes the credit with assumption that their report has done some help, while other times the nature and timing of work leaves a manager to say something that they didn’t mean to, while accidentally tossing their report under the bus. From the report’s side, it’s important to voice a thought on organizational process and role without sounding like they are complaining and entitled, as millennials are often misunderstood to be.

Not getting the credit for your effort may seem black and white… but hardly ever is.

The nature of employment paradigms, employee communication, and workplace priorities are all factors. While not being acknowledged can seem like a slap in the face, the reality is that sometimes it’s not a big a deal as it seems.

Albert Qian is an entrepreneur, product marketer and marketing manager. In March of 2013, he founded Albert’s List, a Facebook group that serves talent looking for work at businesses ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies.


Amy McCloskey Tobin, Gen X:

Amy TobinWhen I first heard of this scenario I turned to Facebook to ask my friends how THEY would handle this situation. I was amazed by how many “Quit now!” and “Did you tell him where to stick it?” responses I saw!

My mind immediately went to the current economy and how many people I know still looking for work. Yes, the job market is improving, but many of us are still freelance or contract workers. Perhaps that knowledge colored my initial conservative response.

I thought about it more, and I became more resolute that quitting or reacting harshly by attempting to put your boss in ‘his place’ would be a potentially career damaging mistake.  As much as we all crave recognition for our hard work, if we step back we have to acknowledge that our job is really to work towards the company’s goals.

There is a line there between being a good team play and being taken advantage of, and at some point you can go too far and lose yourself to the greater company good (something we explored on our last Breaking Glass Segment). However, by stepping back and thinking about what is good for your career you may be able to see the big picture.

You are not a one hit wonder, are you? You will do more good work, correct? And, even more importantly, you’ll be sitting in the room during the presentation, meaning that you will most likely have to answer questions as they arise.  Eventually, as you continue to turn out high quality work, you will be recognized.

And, as I learned in a conversation with the brilliant Liz Wiseman, the best way to advance your own career goals is to champion your company’s goals. 

Amy McCloskey Tobin is a content strategist and creator with a background in B2B sales and manufacturing. She specializes in generational insights, the future of work, the remote workforce and how tech has changed the business world. Find Amy on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter!



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