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My manager often assigns tasks to whoever is in front of him, rather than the correct person to each task, which often annoys me.

Recently, I've found out my colleague was assigned with scheduling a meeting with a representative from other company about a part of a project that was mainly my responsibility, although we were together in the overall project.

I just happened to find out because one person from the other company attending the meetings is a personal friend who contacted me directly once the meeting had to be re-scheduled, and she needed to talk promptly to my coworker.

I talked normally to my colleague, offering to give him my friend's number, but he almost literally ran away from the office (and I later saw him on the company's reception phone, which I found suspicious, but could really be just a coincidence). He didn't ask for my friend's contact.

My concern is: I believe I should have been called to attend the meeting, otherwise, he would present my work as if it was his doing. I did notice this guy trying to present as his the work in which he had meaningful participation of others. So, it wouldn't be a first time.

I think I need to have a straight conversation with both my colleague and my boss, and I'm really not sure how to do it.

My boss never reacts well to whatever seems reduced to interpersonal relations. It's not like he would lecture my colleague upon my complaint, or tell him explicitly to invite me next time. He is very likely unaware that I've developed most of this part of the project, though it was explicitly mentioned in meetings with the whole team.

Right now, I'm considering just to tell my boss that my colleague did talk to me about the meeting and, I wanted to check with him about how the subject should be approached. Hopefully he'll either say I should go or, clarify that the topics do not concern me (I know that's not the case). If he has any good reason I should not attend the meeting, I'd like to hear from him, but he's not used to being that frank.

As for my colleague, I guess I'll wait and see if he invites my (since he was already caught red-handed). But I'm not feeding hopes that would be the case. I've now noticed that never redirects people to talk to me when he's asked about something from our project that was my responsibility, and even if I never intrude his conversations uncalled, when he's asked about something I did, he often moves away from me to talk about it. I feel like threatening to intrude all his conversations, but for sure this would not end up well. I'm also considering just giving him kind words like "just know you can count on me to talk about my work", which does not seem effective.

Story Update

I talked to my boss saying that my colleague told me about the meeting, but I want to hear more about it. My boss did explain the context and the subject was indeed related to my work. However, the spirit was mostly to have a chat with people form the other company, who are located nearby, so no formal presentation was expected (as far as I understood). My boss at least was not even expecting that we could provide them with any service, and made a point that not much actual information should be given.

From what he said, I understood he would be on the meeting and, even without being directly asked, he said that I should go too. I did not talk to my colleague about this conversation.

Much to my surprise, my colleague went alone to the meeting, whereas I would have expected someone else to have tagged along him (likely the boss).

The impression I've got now is that maybe my colleague is considering this to be kind of a job interview. Which would justify him going alone, and his weird behavior when he thought I could intrude the meeting.

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The first part is a bit weird, because if a representative from another company needs to talk to your colleague, you should have just told them straight up that "X from company Y said they needed to talk to you. Call them back on 123456789" and keep it short and professional rather than offering to give them the number and making it more casual.

Secondly, just send you colleague an email asking if you can also attend the meeting. This meeting might be relevant to you since its about the project you are working on, but it might not (depending on your role). Make sure to CC in your boss, who can step in if its not your role and to make sure there is a paper trail if your colleague later tries to place the blame on you when the meeting goes south.

I wouldn't include anything like "I'll be there just in case" or "just know you can count on me to talk about my work" because it might rub your colleague the wrong way. Just because you did most of the work, doesn't mean that your colleague can't be familiar with it as well. Your colleague is in charge of the meeting and if they need help, they can either ask you, or handle it themselves, don't try to undermine them by implying that they lack knowledge about the project. You should be a passive observer because its his job to present the project, stepping in without being asked to just undermines your colleagues authority and your bosses decision.

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    To clarify, my friend texted me and explained about the meeting without me asking her. When I said tasks were assigned to whoever is in front of the boss, I've meant it. He hardly sends emails, he just tells people verbally. So if I step in by email, that would be weird. – Mefitico Jan 29 at 5:53
  • just send you colleague an email asking if you can also attend the meeting Considering the distance between your boss and the administrative details of his command, it sounds like you should just show up at the meeting as if you had been included all along. Introduce yourself to the client as your colleague's mentor. Act as if you simply deputized your colleague to make the presentation, but you want to be there to make sure he does it right. – A. I. Breveleri Jan 29 at 5:54
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    @Mefitico Sounds like your boss is super detached from all this. You can always just ask your boss or colleague straight up. Just mention that you heard about the meeting and was wondering if you should attend since you worked on it. If they decline, there isn't really much you can do. – Shadowzee Jan 29 at 6:09
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Sometimes it helps to take a little step back, an look at a situation from a different angle. If you take out your personality, what´s left is the following:

  1. It´s not your work! Yes, you did it - but the company paid you to do it. They can do with it what they want. If they so choose to have id badly presented to a client, that´s their call to make.

  2. Your Boss does not seem to be a "peoples" person.

  3. Your colleague seems a bit defensive and does not ask you for help.


The first point is really paramount for your professional development. It is not your code. You should not build a tower of Knowledge. If nobody else in the company understands your work, something is seriously wrong in that company! Make sure you get fair paid and then deliver - check your ego at the door.

Now, the second point, you probably will not change. Take it as it is and make the best of it. If he does not like to concern himself with interpersonal issues be sure that you´re not the one complaining. Instead, make practical suggestions.

(exaggregated example)

Instead of "But I did all the work so I feel I should present it. Besides he does a bad job and the customer already complained to me personally ..."

Do: "About that presentation, I already have a lot of material gathered while I did the coding for that. Should join in or can I support you somehow in preparing the slides?"

Third point - I´m just guessing here - but it seems a general theme with your company that people build walls and do not teamwork very well. Maybe he feels the same way about you that you feel about him? Trying to grab his assignments and tell him how to do his job? Somehow these walls need to come down and you need to become a team. You can start by sharing what you have. Maybe you can also introduce some improvements, like peer programming sessions, code reviews, daily stand-up-meetings etc. (won´t go too much into detail here, maybe start a different Question for that?)

  • For information, it is indeed coding related, and my work is well documented and well commented in an accessible database. That's because we had external reviewers during this project. I'm not worried he'd present that badly because this company is not a customer (not for the moment at least). – Mefitico Jan 29 at 11:08
  • @Mefitico: Ok, thanks for clarification. What are you worried about? One boring meeting less to attend? – Daniel Jan 29 at 11:19
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    Both our manager and the department director don't really take notice on who is doing and delivering each task. Since you notice lack of teamwork, the manager and the director also go into the list of people who don't communicate well. If one of them is present on the meeting, my colleague has an opportunity in my absence to claim my work as his. Not cool, but not the end of the world. Not getting credit for my work is bad but I tolerate it. Someone else getting the credit crosses the line. BTW, people are being laid off, so the company not being in good times puts in a little more relevance. – Mefitico Jan 29 at 11:27
  • Sounds like you should look for a place with better company culture altogether. Some organisations you just can´t cure. Other than that, if you start organizing and improving communication, that will probably get noticed. – Daniel Jan 29 at 11:31
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    The person who did the work will know it best, and, unless there's a significant difference in presentation ability, should present it. The worker really should be there to answer questions, at the very least. – David Thornley Jan 29 at 16:25
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I think it goes without saying that a common theme in the workplace is that despite the work that you yourself do, not every meeting merits a project architect or lead or principal appearance, just as every presentation doesn't, either.

Imagine this: you produce data for a biotech company as a scientist, and the data is either published in an abstract or in a press release. So you're the subject matter expert on your data, and you make up the figures and presentation materials, and explain the finding to management. Then, the quarterly/annual investor presentation/call comes around, or a board meeting, and someone like the CEO or COO presents your data as a positive catalyst for the company. You don't need to be at that meeting. At best, operations personnel, executives or directors might be there. I don't think that particular situation is worth getting bent out of shape over, either, because when the company requires subject matter expertise they'll obtain it from who they can, could be you.

In my opinion, what you should really do is foster an open, collaborative mindset. Let your team know that since you participated in the project, that you'll gladly attend and offer your subject matter expertise if requested of you. It just seems counterproductive to me to think that some sort of subterfuge is going on. It could just be that your colleague understands the project, and doesn't need help to explain anything. Though, it would be different if attribution or credit were being falsified, or if your colleague is just plain wrong in what he's saying to other people about the project. I couldn't be confident about any of that, though, with the suggestion that there's a lot of hearsay.

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