A - Z 2021: Don't adorn yourself with borrowed Plumes

Welcome back to 2021 A - Z! Yesterday we were beating the The Odds - even though they are One in a Million

P is fo

Don't adorn yourself with borrowed Plumes

As I was saying, entitled and arrogant behavior is a huge pet peeve of mine. Same goes for taking credit for something you didn't do.

I've seen it happen in business context many times, and it always made me cringe. The offender must be aware that other team members knew exactly who had the initial idea, and who did all the hard work - both being not the person waltzing around raking compliments and recognition. 

Remember the late 1980s movie "Working Girl"?

Melanie Griffith played Tess McGill with really big hair and really bad career luck? Until she began working for Katharine, the understanding female boss, who was interested in Tess' views and ideas?

source: 20th CENTURY FOX

Well, as Tess was going to find out, Katharine was not the mentor she claimed to be. More like a wolf in sheep's clothing, who pretended to have Tess' business idea checked out and rejected by experts, when in all reality Katharine pursued the idea behind Tess' back. 

"You don't get anywhere in this world by waiting for what you want to come to you. You make it happen. Watch me, Tess. Learn from me" Katharine told Tess.

Be careful what you wish for! Tess did make it happen. She passed herself off as an executive and pulled off her plan herself. Not entirely by herself, cue Jack Trainer (Harrison Ford). 

So I'm not saying one should be an imposter in order to outsmart the unethical fraud who lied to you and stole from you, but it sure made for an entertaining movie. 

My favorite detail was the fact that Tess wore sneakers for her commute.

Back to real life. 

I've had bosses who adorned themselves with borrowed plumes all the time, and they didn't even actively try to hide it, which - to me - made it even more outrageous. They went by "these people work for me, so basically whatever they do is mine, and if they don't like it, they know where the door is."

I think it shows real greatness if someone can recognize someone else by giving them the credit they deserve. That way both people win. 

There were little things I would do to make it hard for certain individuals to pass off my work as theirs, like putting my name in the footnote that'd only be visible once the documents were printed out ;-) Or using lingo that would be super atypical for them to use, think HR and people person vs number crunching CFO. 

I just had the most evil idea (making mental notes) 

Why not sprinkle in factual errors? You know stuff that the thief definitely knows better, but aren't necessarily my area of expertise? In the example of HR vs Finance, there are many opportunities to mis-interpret things. 

Once they are detected, the imposter will either own up to a mistake they honestly didn't make OR save their ass by blaming someone else, but by doing so they will admit that not only did they not do the work, but they did not care to declare it.

Well, let's hope it won't come to that. I've been working for my husband for a couple of years now, and his worst sin was to say we when in fact it was me who did something good. I can live with that. 

Have you experienced other people taking credit for your achievements? How did things play out? Let me know below.

Tomorrow we'll be doing things Quicker than Lager turns to Piss, pardon my French ;-)



  1. I used to work with a woman taking credit for other people work. Not mine, we were not on the same topics.

  2. Yes. I went for an interview and the interviewer kept asking me questions and sought examples. It went on for 150 minutes, and I foolishly gave away a lot of my creative ideas about creating gamified lessons for toddlers. She also asked me to write and send few. I did not get the job and she reported that I wasn't creative enough. I soon got another job which is good for me, but I saw that my ideas were claimed as her own and given to create games. Bad experience. I had no proof to sue her though because she had made sure that I explained things to her on phone. Anyway it will take a lot of energy to fight a battle.. if I think of the ideas once I can do it again.

  3. Happens all the time. It used to bother me wickedly. I'd have an idea or project that I would be embarking on, share it with a few people and they would latch onto it and make it their own...so annoying. My hubby keeps saying we are going to raise pigs and sell chocolate covered pickled pigs feet and see how many people latch on to that. LOL. People try to take credit for other peoples achievements all the time. The way I look at it is I know what I did and if you want to make it yours, more power to ya... I take that as a compliment. I will try to givepeople a break.

  4. Even in nursing I've had managers like that, totally take the credit for ideas that have come from others. I've sat in meetings before and had to hide my shock when a manager has blatantly described an idea that either myself or someone else has had and yet said they did it.

  5. "Don't adorn yourself with borrowed Plumes" is fabulous both as a title and advice. Wouldn't it be great if some truth-telling device could pluck those plumes when detected? We'd see a lot of scrambling to really cover up.

  6. I've never heard this expression. That's definitely not a cool thing to do. I've been lucky and that has never happened to me. Most of the people I've worked with have been great about giving credit where credit is due! Weekends In Maine

  7. Some people do such things naturally without realising it.which is sad

  8. That was a great movie. Fortunately, no one has ever taken any of my ideas and tried to claim them. Maybe I have no good ideas?

  9. I've met so many people who should have paid attention to his saying (which I hadn't heard of but think is very good).


Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment. It will be visible as soon as I had a chance to verify that you are not an anonymous user and/or a spammer.