Dear Collaboration Corner: Having a problem with office politics

Dear Collaboration Corner

I am a contractor at a large software company in Redmond, Washington.  I’ve had the job for a number of years and in most ways, I am seen as no different from a full-time employee (other than a marginal discrepancy in pay and benefits).

My job is to manage a team of developers.  Up until now, it has not been a problem that I am not technically an employee because I good at what I do and I’ve been a contractor at the company longer than almost anyone I manage.

This has changed recently when two additions were made to my team within a six-month period.  Both have an issue reporting to a non-employee and have made it known to everyone else on the team.   There is now a lot of tension in the group and its starting to affect productivity.

I’ve never been one to play the political game so my question is how do I go about neutralizing this pair of troublemakers without jeopardizing my own position.


Rad in Redmond


Hi Rad,

This is common for most teams as contractors are seen as temporary and not fully vested in the interests of the company and its employees. They are seen as hired guns by most permanent employees which create frictions and hinders team building.

If you like the company and your job, why not switch to be a permanent employee? This is especially in your benefit since this will open the path to higher paid management jobs with more responsibility.

If you don’t want to take that path, then your job becomes harder and you need to come up with an understanding with two new employees and your management on how to proceed.

You should ask the management to clearly state that you are in charge based on your qualification and them back you up 100%. Otherwise, you will have a very hard working environment as long as these employees are working for you.

Best of Luck!


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Dear Collaborative Corner,

Six months ago, I started my dream job at a small tech company in the Bay Area.   I live in Denver and only have to be in the office once a month.  I find the work challenging and I love the flexibility of telecommuting even though I end up putting in longer hours than my previous job.

I have one problem that continuously nags me.   I work on a project that is strategically important to the organization with a colleague (“Beverly”) and we get along well.  She is based in the office which is good because there are often meetings that I can’t attend.

We both report to the same manager and the work that we are doing is on the radar of the company’s CEO.  Based on a couple of off-handed comments from our manager, it seems that Beverly is taking the bulk of the credit for the work that we are doing. Even though we collaborate and contribute that same to the project. 

Since I am new to the job, I wanted to know how I can let my manager and CEO know that both Beverly and I deserve the credit for the work.   I don’t want to come across as unprofessional, but I also want my career to suffer in the long term.



Not Getting The Credit

David Robins

David Robins is the founder and CEO of Binfire. David studied at both Cornell and MIT, and was the Director of Software Engineering at Polaroid for 11 years.

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