Signs They’re Trying to Steal Your Job
I feel like a co-worker is trying to steal my job. We are also friends outside of work so this is difficult to navigate. What to do?
Over a year ago I started a job that is in narrow specialty area within a team. I was the only person knowledgable in this area. One of my co-workers took a lot of interest in my work/specialty area and through many interactions and observing how I work, picked up a lot. Now he can do some simple tasks in this area and because he is quite intelligent, he is quickly picking up on more.
Your New Office BFF
You’ve been at the company for months or years and that coworker who barely says a word to you suddenly wants to be your best friend. Now they’re asking you to lunch or inviting you out for drinks after work. Don’t be fooled by the new BFF! They’re not your “Best Friend Forever;” they’re your new “Best Fake Friend.” They like being seen with you because of the job you hold, which just happens to be the job they covet. They’ll ask you questions and try to get you to divulge confidential and insider information. If you suspect your new BFF is trying to steal your job, be polite, but don’t help them by giving them that insider information they so desperately crave.
The first step to stealing your job is stealing your ideas—at least the good ones. Suddenly someone else is getting the credit for your ideas, and you’re left in the dust. If you’ve got an idea about a project or a way to bring in more business, the first thing to do is to write it down in an email and send it to yourself. Time-stamped, written proof is pretty hard for an idea-stealer to argue against. They may try to deny it, but you’ve covered your bases and you can now catch them in their lie.
Not everyone who offers to help you get stuff done is trying to steal your job, but look out for the overly helpful person who only shows up when your boss is around. Maybe they include them in their emails offering you help. If they do, there’s a good chance they want to be seen as someone who can do your job and they want to make it look like you can’t. There’s nothing wrong with enlisting coworkers to help you get your work done, but be suspicious of the coworker who offers their help unsolicited. They could be trying to steal your job. If you need help, enlist another coworker whom you trust or talk to your manager about re-prioritizing your projects. This should make the unsolicited offers of help go away.
Don’t Get Paranoid!
Some people just want to be helpful. Some people just want to get to know you. I don’t want you to be suspicious of your coworkers, but if you know someone who has any of these habits, take notice. They may be trying to steal your job. The idea-stealer is perhaps the most obvious of these three characters, but if unsolicited help or a new office BFF make you suspicious, you now know a few ways to dissuade them.