How To Keep From Getting Kanyed on the Job

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kanye"Kanyed": To get interrupted by a self-absorbed jerk during a moment of glory.

A new slang word slipped into the lexicon when singer Taylor Swift began to accept her trophy for Best Female Video at the 2009 MTV Music Awards and Kanye West rushed the stage, grabbed the microphone from her hand and objected. Most recently, at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards ceremony, Short documentary winner Roger Ross Williams was accepting the Oscar for Music by Prudence when he got Kanyed by adversarial co-producer Elinor Burkett.

While there are various levels of getting Kanyed, it all boils down to one thing: Somebody stealing your thunder or somehow undermining you in front of others. I remember once when I was getting a verbal assignment from my boss, an overzealous new coworker covertly Kanyed me by whipping out a notepad and studiously writing down the instructions. The way I dealt with it was to do the same thing whenever she was given a task, and she got the message without my having to say a word.

Here are a few of the most common undercuts, and how you can keep the upper hand:

  • A coworker interrupts you during a meeting - There are two ways of dealing with this, depending on your personality. Either look her in the eye and say politely but firmly, "Would you please let me complete my thought before you give me your ideas on it?" Or, you can say nothing, but instead smile and raise your hand high as if you were in class. Everyone will notice, including the interrupter.

  • A coworker takes credit for your idea - When he stabs you in the back, you need to turn around, look him right in the eye and say, "Please don't do that again." Don't bring in the boss unless as a last resort, as most people don't respond well when threatened. By telling him that you are aware and that you are not okay with it, he's now got an option to stop the behavior. Moving forward, always keep the boss in the loop as your project develops.

  • A coworker's laziness reflects badly on you - When she misses deadlines, don't speak to her in a way that makes it personal ("You need to the get this to me by the 10th of March") but instead put the emphasis on the work ("This report must be completed by the 10th of March"). Put the deadline in writing on a wall calendar for all to see.

Have you ever been Kanyed at work? What happened, and how did you deal with it?

Next: Are YOU an Annoying Co-Worker?


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