I received the following mail today.

Dear LWC, I have just graduated and joined a mid sized manufacturing company about a month back. I have been assigned to the project management team, where I have to identify, track and highlight projects across the organization. Our team directly reports to the Deputy MD.

First two weeks of my job went very well. However, in the past 10 days or so, I am facing some challenges. My immediate supervisor is not involving me for any presentations to the top team. At one occasion, he also took the entire credit for one project that I have started handling. I am feeling a bit frustrated and let down. What should I do?

– Wunder Kid

Dear Wunder Kid,

Congratulations on landing up in a job most young graduates can only dream of. Project Management team (or PMO in most Indian companies) is usually a place where the senior management tries out new ideas, and stakes are high. The visibility that it grants to the team members is phenomenal.

I can understand your feelings. Nothing feels more frustrating than working on something, and someone else taking the entire credit for that. And if it happens to be your boss, it adds insult to injury. But before we enter into the domain of emotions, let’s first look at the scenario more objectively.

You mentioned that you’ve joined the team just about a month ago. That is a very short span of time to form opinions about any person, team or process. Since the team reports to the Deputy MD, I assume that the projects that the team handles also have an organization wide implication.

Before you jump to conclusions, consider the following:

  1. The project that you ‘own’ were earlier being handled by someone else in the team, perhaps your supervisor.
  2. While you may feel cheated about the project, have you considered organizational sensitivities towards this specific project? For all you know, your supervisor may have done you a favour by showing that he’s in control, so that you are protected from any negative effects.
  3. Working on any project is never a one man (or woman) effort. In today’s world, it is impossible to manage a big project alone. Even if your supervisor projected that he was working on it, the team head can look through that.
  4. Seeing the Deputy MD on a daily basis may be ‘normal’ for you, but for the larger organization, it’s usually a rare opportunity. While you may sulk at the fact that in one of the presentations your boss took all the credit, also look at the opportunity you have in your hand to interact with the senior management.

While these are just some assumptions that I’m making, you may, and will, come to know the reality soon.

Since it’s your first job, I can feel your passion in owning up to responsibilities. However, corporate life is very different from campus, where you work with and hang out with friends, who are of same age and similar mindset, while in corporate world you have to work in a team you’re inserted into. You cannot choose to work only with the colleagues you gel with, but with everyone.

And really, take a deep breath, and relax. It’s your first job, and it’s your first month into this job. You’re in a role that can be demanding and gruelling. You are not yet even aware about your teammates, leave alone the organization, its culture and its operating style. Being judgemental at such an early stage in your job can both be detrimental and career limiting. The perceptions you make about others around you get reflected in the way you interact with them.

Focus on work, learn more, and spend time on doing what you are here to do. Other things will follow.

Wishing you a very successful career ahead!