I work in a building that has this rule about holding the door for people.
Under normal circumstances, we would think it polite to hold the door for people, particularly strangers. As we do, we smile and say something that may sound like a greeting.
In this particular workplace, it is frowned upon. This is due to increased incidents of workplace violence, and hacking into company files. In this instance, if an individual that you have never seen before asks you to hold the door for him, we have been instructed to redirect them to the front desk for assistance. There, they will be given either a visitor’s badge, or will be escorted to the appropriate floor.
That is not what we are going to talk about in this article.
What is Piggybacking?
For the purpose of this article, we will be referring to the definition of piggybacking as: when an individual or group of individuals takes partial credit or full credit for your success. Examples of this can go back to pretty much the stone age, when people added their name to something someone else did. It’s the very reason why plagiarism is a thing, and why people get sued.
For some people, if they helped you in a small way- they expect a whole lot of disproportionate praise. This is how piggybacking is rationalized in their mind. It is important to recognize these people and put a stop to the nonsense.
Why do people piggyback?
In order for us to start thinking about stopping or slowing down the progression of piggybacking, we must first take a look at why people piggyback in the first place.
Piggybacking can be used to stay relevant and in the crowd’s eye. Some individuals will seek attention at all costs, and will do nothing short of committing murder to get that attention. In order to not seem so desperate (and sometimes doing this makes them look desperate), they will attempt to poke holes in your success by taking some of the credit. Although a momentary slight, understand that taking credit for other’s work will result in a short term and temporary gain for that individual.
You must be wary of these people that seek attention. They are more prone to be jealous of the individual recognition that you will receive from an achievement. On its own, jealousy is more like a mosquito bite. You know it’s there, it’s slightly annoying, and you have the uncontrollable need to scratch or swat it away. It can turn dangerous if it grows out of hand, causing the person to do unthinkable things. The best way to spot jealousy is when there is no other explanation for the person’s behavior other than you gaining success or happiness. This should be your last rationale to be ruled out.
As mentioned earlier, people may want a disproportionate amount of recognition for just dotting an i. They may feel that because they helped you in some way or form they should receive partial credit. Well, they may be right to an extent. If a person put an equal amount of effort into a project or assignment then by all means. Give that person the credit they deserve. However, more and more we are seeing instances in which someone sneezes and then yells out “DID YOU SEE HOW ELEGANTLY I SNEEZED?!” <Insert eyeroll> No one likes to be around someone that seeks complete validation of those around her.
There are times in which a person may feel slighted by their own attempts of success. They then would decide to piggyback off another’s achievement to get a glimpse of how it feels to gain that “clout”. Understand, these people are tired of being turned down with no resolve. If you are compassionate, this may tug at your heart strings…. A little. This, however, should not excuse the fact that they used you and your work as a stepping stone. If you let it go by once, and they feel like they can continue to piggyback at your expense. And the next time, they may take FULL credit for work you performed.
How to Cope
Coping with someone who is consistently piggybacking off your success can be completely exhausting and draining. Here are some tips on how to deal with this type of situation.
All the above information have one thing in common, piggybacking is seen as a shortcut to gain the wanted attention, fame, or achievement that is deserved to another person. In life, there really are no shortcuts. You either work hard or work a little. What people fail to understand is that shortcuts usually come with major downfalls. Some may even include prison time.
Are you willing to risk a friend, colleague, or family member for momentary gain?
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Yaritza Ellison has been an nurse since 2010. She has been essential to the healing process of many and seeks to continue to do so. Her passion for mental health and self help literature has lead her to launch justyari.org, where she aspires to coach young ladies navigating through work-life balance.