In 2007, I finished college (for the first time) with a bachelor degree in Political Science. Being idealistic and young, I immediately signed up for the first job I could close to the heartbeat of local politics. Working as a community organizer for a local non-profit, I soon found myself in the midst of all-things political, especially the corruption within. I drew the line with that first job when I realized that I was fighting for healthcare when I, myself, was not being covered for health benefits under my current position. I thought this seemed wrong and unfair, so I left that job feeling glad that the seedy dark side of local politics had not corrupted the moral character I knew I had. But I was still naive and excited to be in the middle of (what seemed to be) the powers that wielded our lives, so I moved on to contract as a political consultant for a political action committee who shall remain nameless (not only because I know those bitches would sue me, but because they also don’t exist anymore so the name is moot). While at that political action committee, though, my naive idealism finally took the dark turn to jaded cynicism. To say I witnessed the ugly parts of local politics would be an understatement – some of the nastiest, most unethical things went on in front of me on a daily basis. And worse, those bitches (as I will heretofore refer to them) took credit for every single thing I did.
It was towards the end of my tenure at those bitches’ political action committee that I realized they were doing this. They had hired me to do all manner of tasks – from statistical analysis to planning fund raising events to voter education programming, to even building their website from the ground up. But then one day I was at an event (that I had single-handedly orchestrated) and I noticed that not once was I acknowledged for my hard work in putting the event together. As the days wore on, this incident began to bother me so I started to pay more attention when my bosses and I were with other politicos. To my dismay, I realized that they were not only failing to acknowledge my hard work, but they were taking the full credit for every bit of it. Telling one outright lie after another, I soon worried how I would even explain things because I had no idea what – exactly – I was to admit having done anymore when we were at public events – they took the credit for just that much.
When I mentioned this to my family and friends, I was confronted with a “everyone knows it’s a dog eat dog world” and “that’s the way it is in the working world, Heather”-attitude, and now (years later) I realize that it really, and truly, is. In the adult/working world in which we all reside at some level, it all really boils down to whether or not you are one of two people: the thankless worker or the do-nothing thief. Even in local church communities, there seems to always be someone right around the corner just waiting to steal the credit or the work itself that you have done; that has already begun saying they did all the work before you have even finished it. Worse yet, the Internet and computer technology has made it all the easier – for no longer is the old “I gotta’ have time to copy it in my own handwriting, McFly”-matter an issue. Literally within minutes – seconds even – someone can steal your work and all the credit for it with ease of a simple “click” and “send.”
So it seems that the only way to overcome this is to become a credit-taker – a work-stealer – yourself. I, myself, do not plan on doing this; but I know that I will probably always be stuck having others take credit for the hard work that I do – even in the most unprofessional, volunteer situations. So the question that remains is simply: why do it? If there is always someone that will be standing around the corner just waiting to take the credit for the things you do – like those bitches at that political action committee – why do them? I can see in a work environment, where your time and effort equals money which pays the bills, doing the bare minimum is an absolute requirement. But why go above and beyond the call of duty if you are not going to take the credit for the work that others do, thereby leaving yourself open to be the thankless worker? Why stay that extra hour or put in that extra pizazz in your quarterly presentation if it is going to be credited to someone else and get you absolutely nothing?
The days of workers in this country taking pride in their work are over. With a destroyed economy, political unrest, and problems across the board with jobs, unemployment, social security, and health care, the notion of a loyal company that gives back to its loyal employees is gone. Anyone who thinks that they are allowing themselves to be pushed around and taken advantage of as a thankless worker simply because they “take pride in their work” … well, they are nothing more than a complete and utter moron. We all know at least one of those idiots, and we all know that they probably deserve to be pushed around for being so ridiculously stupid. So unless you are going to be a complete douche rag and steal the work and the credit from others, all you are doing by going that extra mile is setting yourself up for unlimited frustration and/or ultimate stupidity as the thankless worker. Nothing will come of it but stress and upsettedness. Nothing will result but frustration.
So why bother? I can think of a myriad of other more rewarding things we could all be doing with our time. Like reading a book, or going to a movie. At least there no one can take the credit for the happiness such recreation can bring. In a dog eat dog world, maybe in the end the best thing to do is just be a cat.