By Shiney Rossi
For much of my career, I have always assumed that the quality of my work would speak for itself. But one experience taught me the value of appropriate self-promotion.
Several years ago, I volunteered to host a small hackathon on behalf of a female-focused developer community. I approached an executive in my company who often voiced support for getting women into STEM professions. The executive agreed to have the company sponsor the event.
I coordinated everything that needed to be done to host the hackathon and recruited many of my coworkers as volunteers. During the event, I managed the volunteers, connected attendees with one another, and offered technical help to those who needed it. I also tweeted about it, posted photos, and publicly thanked my employer for sponsoring it. The turnout was great and both the company and I were happy with the outcome, which included a number of potential hiring candidates.
After the event, I sent a company-wide email thanking all of my colleagues who had helped out. I also acknowledged the support of our executive.
A few weeks later, the same executive announced their latest blog post for a career management site. The post described how the executive had supported women in STEM professions by hosting a hackathon. The post didn’t give specific credit to anyone, but implied that the executive had organized the event.
I considered confronting the executive and asking for some sort of acknowledgement for the work I did. Knowing this person, and the company culture, I knew that they would probably not provide the recognition I wanted. So I decided to let it go and learn from the experience.
Given that this was a public event, I should have immediately taken credit in a more public forum than just within the company. I should have publicized it on my own blog and shared it with the developer community as a way to promote future events. The unfortunate reality is that by not owning your work, you leave room for someone else to take credit for it.
The whole incident reminded me why it is so important to give credit to the people who support you. It is essential to maintaining strong relationships and good will.