Scientist, Educator & Speaker
It’s said that truth is stranger than fiction, and there are countless examples. Here’s a true story that really irked me when I first heard about it, and continues to bother me every time I think about it.
A friend of mine was being honored at a gala affair, along with several of her colleagues, for outstanding work she and her teammates did for the arts in a large city.
Like I said, this was a team effort – but one that she and another woman led. The awarding committee asked my friend and her female colleague to be the ones to accept the plaque at the event in front of hundreds of people in attendance.
The two of them were supposed to hold the plaque in front of one of those step-and-repeat backdrops for a photo opportunity. Just as they stepped into position, a guy who was one of many members of the advisory board, jumped into the photo op, grabbed the plaque and positioned himself in the middle towering over the two women. The photo was taken, and the photographer moved on to the next photo op. The self-serving jerk then uploaded the photo on his Facebook page, where he received over 150 “Likes” and dozens of congratulations.
He stole the honor from the two leaders of the group: two FEMALE leaders. He diminished their efforts and literally took the plaque out of one of their hands. He was a cog in the wheel, not a leader. But, he positioned himself just at the right moment to appear as if he was the BIG CHEESE. After all, since he dominated the image, holding the plaque, towering over two women on either side of him – he must have been the leader.
My friend and her colleague were very gracious and smiled at the camera. It was one of those moments where your opportunity to change the outcome had passed. They were too flustered in the moment to say to the self-promoting jerk, “The two of us were asked to represent the work group and will take the first photo. We’re happy to include you in the second photograph.”
Why does this bother me so much? It didn’t even happen to me. But what happens all around me is self-promoting men (and sometimes women) who steal the show, steal the thunder, steal the accolades, steal the ideas, steal the results from women who came up with the ideas, did the work, and turned thoughts into successful action.
Rise up women! Take back your award plaques (in all their different forms) and claim them. They are yours.
And always remember to be gracious to your teammates who helped you along the way, acknowledging their help, and thanking them.
For tips on how to self-promote without looking like a self-serving jerk, click on this link: http://wp.me/p4LWPX-2s
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Mark Cooper and John Marx write about universities.
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