Recently my firm organized a holiday decorating contest as a friendly competition between teams. I am an employee, but my direct manager is offshore. A large majority of my work is spent with a team that asked me to be part of their team. A collection was taken, I contributed. When it came to brainstorming, I contributed some ideas that became the central theme. On the day I brought in home made bake goods. However when I saw the display it featured a photo of every team member (including non-employee contractors) but me. When they went out and got props they got them for all team members again but me.

I'll live, but I feel this is a kick in the teeth. Not only did I contribute to this effort (time, creativity and financial) I have been complimented on the work I have done for this team. What can I do? Note that the manager of this team contributes to my performance review

  • 1
    I don't think there is much you can do. In the future participate is asked but at more of minimal level.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 18:24
  • It's hard to gauge what your exact question is... are you asking why your picture wasn't included or are you asking if we believe your idea wasn't properly credited to you? As in your manager now believes you didn't participated but you're the one who came up with the central theme?
    – Dan
    Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 19:03

2 Answers 2


Start by assuming it wasn't intentional -- maybe somebody said "collect pictures of the team" and somebody else went and got pictures of actual team members, not thinking about the context. Communication is imperfect and people goof.

So the first thing to do is to simply ask, as soon as you notice the omission:

Hey Bob, great idea about including the pictures. I notice mine's missing -- what do we need to do to get mine in there too?

Notice that I didn't say to ask "why was I excluded?". Instead, take it as given that you should be there and this was an implementation error. Then ask how to fix it.

If Bob is reasonably astute, he might figure out the problem with the props on his own after you bring up the pictures. Whether it makes sense to ask about the props depends on how important they are and how hard it would be to get another.

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    Great answer. Also notice that you are still asking "what do we need to do?" Very subtle and polite way of asking if you have already not done enough and making them realize that.
    – PagMax
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 7:15

I would definitely avoid trying to read some meaning into this relating to your performance in your work. If someone's trying to send you messages this way and it's the first you've heard of it, your workplace has much bigger problems than employee social events.

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