I've been working in a 50-60 employees computer research institute for two years. It's governmentally regulated; having a degree is conditional to the hiring process. All other employees have at least one university degree, most of them having masters or being doctorates.

Being a self-taught programmer, I'm the only person (as far as I know) not having a degree. The company asks for governmental derogations (I believe that is the term) each time they renew my contract. They hired me because I apparently have skills that were only present in highly schooled candidates, which were too expensive (this is what I surmised from corridor talks, it might not be true).

Since the start, I've always been trying to somewhat prove that I'm not only "that person that is there by luck but does not really know what they talk about". Lately, one of my coworkers has been "teasing" me about me not working, attributing some of my work to other colleagues, ignoring parts of what I say, and I feel like I'm some kind of dead wood.

I consider asking them about how they value my work, if they're happy that I'm in the team, and if my feelings are justified, but I have no idea whether that would only comfort them in their ideas or clear the air.

I see two courses of actions, and I wonder if any of them is better, or if there are other ones:

  • Ask them directly.
  • Shrug if off.
  • 2
    Related questions: Dealing with reactions from colleague about being self-taught
    – David K
    Apr 26, 2018 at 16:00
  • Never let an attribute of your work to someone else stand. Immediately dispute that. The person is playing politics with your job, you cannot afford to have this happen as you are already at a disadvantage by no having the same qualifications as the others.
    – HLGEM
    Apr 26, 2018 at 17:25
  • Is there some reason not to get the normal qualifications for your job? It will help your career in the long run. Maybe the company will even pay for it.
    – HLGEM
    Apr 26, 2018 at 17:26
  • @HLGEM Actually, yes, my boss have expressed interest in getting me to university, this is an ongoing project.
    – Fractal
    Apr 26, 2018 at 17:44
  • 1
    @Fractal that's not the question of quitting. Many universities offer part time degrees or even online Computer science degrees aren't that hard. There is no need to focus 8-hours a day to study especially with your experience. Apr 30, 2018 at 9:56

1 Answer 1


If a co-worker doesn't respect you, asking them if they respect you will only make them respect you even less.

Do you think Bill Gates would care if a co-worker disliked him?

You are smarter than him: He had to spend a small fortune learning things you figured out yourself.

If he is being disrespectful to you, he is probably not popular with a lot of other people, either. Let him keep flinging muck.

There's a Telugu saying that I got from my wife:

If you drop stones on cow dung, you'll get covered in shit. The cow dung is not harmed.

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