I was hired under my first boss (Boss A) as a contractor, then a few months later he transferred me to my current boss (Boss B) because Boss A had budget issues and he didn't want me to leave the company, instead he wanted to be able to bring me back to his team once his budget issues were resolved the next year.

Before the transfer, Boss A got me to build a product that saves the company time and money. Now Boss B wants me to build a better version of the same tool so he can demo it as his own. Boss B is completely aware that Boss A will not be happy to see this.

Boss B also wants me to use the production system integration credentials (that belong to Boss A's team) in a proof-of-concept during a large demo of my work (Note: I'm still on Boss B's team, and I had access to credentials because I used to be on Boss A's team).

Boss B has a strong reputation of lying (in-person and in-writing). I don't think he'll cover me if during the demo Boss A's team makes a fuss about production credentials being used.

Any advice (other than "find a new job", "go to HR", or "hide under your bed") ?

I don't think this kind of behaviour is unusual in corporate environment, so I need practical advice.

P.S. Early contract termination will not impact me negatively (at least from a financial perspective) as there are plenty of contract opportunities in the market.

  • Are there any company policies that relate to the use of production system integration credentials? Are there any industry standards relating to this? What is your relationship with boss A? – Gregory Currie Aug 27 '19 at 2:09
  • My relationship with Boss A and Boss B is good. I would assume there to be a company policy that would forbid anyone other than credential owner from using it. Industry standards relating this are to respect company policies. – MightyPizza Aug 27 '19 at 2:19
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    Why can't Boss B's team get its own production system integration credentials? – A. I. Breveleri Aug 27 '19 at 3:09
  • Find out if your boss is asking you to breach company policies. If so, get a written confirmation from him. – Gregory Currie Aug 27 '19 at 3:11
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    "I would assume there to be a company policy that would forbid anyone other than credential owner from using it." - Don't just assume it, ask someone who would know. Like, for instance, Boss A. Also find out who is responsible for enforcing this policy. – A. I. Breveleri Aug 27 '19 at 3:12

Its a tricky situation.

  1. Go back to Boss A and get the your production access revoked. Since you have moved the teams, there is no reason you should have access. This is a breach in many companies - i.e. credentials should only be with you if you are in that role.
  2. Same goes for code access for the previous app. If its needed for your job, a new formal request should be raised ( and documented).
  3. Informally, tell boss A what is happening so you dont burn a bridge there and he is aware what is happening. If you are not comfortable, just go to boss A to get suggestions on how to make the product better since that is the work you are going to do in version 2. If boss A is smart he will get the hint. And there is nothing wrong in seeking someone's suggestions.
  4. Get boss B to give instructions to you in writing. If he doesn't , write to him and ask him to confirm before you can start the work.
  5. Eventually you have to follow what your boss B tells you to do. However, its best if you get those in writing.
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    Double stress on informally for bullet 3: if the new boss is such a bad person, leave no evidence – Paolo Aug 27 '19 at 6:58
  • Boss A is away on sick leave. He had surgery and was supposed to return in 3 weeks but it looks like his recovery is taking longer. :( – MightyPizza Aug 27 '19 at 9:25
  • Awkward that he's on sick leave, but presumably there's someone either covering for him or in his team responsible for access control. Can you alert that person that you still have system access you shouldn't have? – Phueal Aug 27 '19 at 11:27

Follow your immediate boss' instructions but: - Document everything.

While following the instructions make it blatantly obvious that you're only following instructions, not making decisions. In other words stay out of the politics.

If/when it comes to bite you, you have all your documentation because you wrote everything down.

Also, be prepared to become a casualty as sometimes things are not always fair and as the old saying goes: The proverbial always rolls downhill.

No need to hide under your bed, it won't really help much.

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