Credit Where It’s Due

It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.
– Harry Truman


A long, long time ago, I worked for an EAP doing public outreach, presentations, and programming. It is really the job that helped my launch my HR career but I had forgotten about it until recently, when culling through some old papers. What a trip down memory lane.

I worked in an office of several psychologists and social workers. The person I worked for took credit for all my work – and I do mean everything. He took credit for my programs, my ability to connect with our clients – both individual and business, and he took credit for my presentations like he did the work himself. He took credit for virtually every success I had.

Problem was he didn’t do anything for me. Zero. It was appalling really. He bragged to his colleagues about how I had blossomed under his tutelage and coaching, presented my ideas for programming and outreach as his own, and would call the clients after I did presentations to solicit feedback. Anything unflattering would be shared in his meetings, demonstrating how much time he needed to work with me.

I didn’t know any of this going on until a colleague befriended me. What I learned was he hated  the counseling part of his job – you know, meeting with paying clients –  and used any excuse, me included, to get out of his work.


I realized that I didn’t have much leverage; I was young, not sitting around the decision-making table, and frankly, who really cared that I worked for a jerk?

Despite my youth and virtual ignorance, I made a decision. As much as it confused, disappointed, and demeaned me, I kept going. We were doing so much good for so many people that I decided the good outweighed the bad. By a lot.

Eventually I left the job and  took the lesson with me. I never, ever take credit for other people’s work. I go to extremes to make sure people know who is doing the great work coming out of our office. Or any other place I am – online, at home, on my job.

Sometimes, people presented in life do nothing but demonstrate how not lead. Or manage. Or be colleagues. Or just be friends. I learned it early. For that, I am grateful.

Photo by Deirdre Honner

About the Author

Deirdre Honner

Deirdre Honner is a human resources professional working in higher education. She has a master's degree and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification. Deirdre is a social media junkie and has presented locally, regionally and nationally on job-hunting strategies, social media and networking tools and the integration of both. Deirdre blogs about work at The HR Maven and you can connect with her on Twitter as @theHRmaven.



Tamkara, honor indeed. 🙂 You get thrown under the bus and have one of two choices. Continue the pattern and throw others under too – or break the cycle.

Have a great weekend.


I think it’s all about giving honor to whom its due.
It’s quite refreshing to work with people who go the extra mile to ensure that they provide others with much needed exposure and visibility. Makes for a motivated and energized work environment.

Your ex boss’s attitude was inexcusable and you could have taken offence and carried “the madness” forward into future work interactions. Thankfully you did not.
It’s great that you decided to learn from that experience and take practical steps to ensure that people whom you currently work with are recognized and appreciated for their work.

Thanks for sharing.


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