Hi All - Posting from a throwaway account for anonymity, but wanted to get everyone's thoughts on a relatively new phenomenon I've started experiencing since beginning my role on the buy-side.
A bit of background on me - traditional path to private equity via a target school and a two year banking stint. Over the summer, I started at a larger upper middle market buyout shop (think 3bn - 10bn fund size). I'll save any AMA-type discussion for another thread as to not derail the conversation I'm hoping to get into here.
Maybe I've been lucky or maybe I've been ignorant, but up until starting my new role I had never really encountered any sort of cut throat culture or deconstructive competition. Naturally, my degree program in college was competitive, but not in an underhanded way. Similar with my banking stint - the culture was pretty collaborative and open despite people looking out for themselves when the rubber hit the road, which is, again, to be expected.
Since starting my new role, however, I've had some trouble getting used to what seems like deliberate attempts by other associates in my group to throw each other under the bus, take credit for work they didn't do, and shovel work they aren't interested in doing to someone else in a relatively transparent fashion (transparent to me, at least).
A few more specific situational examples below to give a better sense of what I'm referring to. (Note: A1, A2, and A3 are just shorthand and are not meant to indicate the seniority of the associates I'm referring to.)
1) Taking credit for my work / throwing me under the bus
Working on a summary with another associate (A1). I build the model and make the output. Prior to meeting with the VP and Principal, A1 comes in my cube and asks to go over the drivers and my rationale for the assumptions I've chosen, so I explain my thought process. Upon meeting with the VP and Principal, A1 takes over the conversation (usually speaking over me as I attempt to participate) and says things like "I was thinking [verbatim what I told them] when I put this assumption in" and "I had read [a research report I referenced to A1], so I thought this assumption made sense." When the VP asks why we used a certain growth rate because it seemed too high/low, A1 turns to me and says "Ya, why DID you use that growth rate? That doesn't really make sense". Punchline here is taking my original work and research, packaging it as their own, and throwing me under the bus for the questions.
2) Co-worker doing half the work claiming it as their own
Working on a company profile with another associate (A2). We both pull together a few slides, which take approximately the same amount of time. A2 tells me to send them my slides so they can consolidate and we can review together. Instead of sending back the consolidated pack, they send out to the broader team referencing only themselves as the author ("I compiled this", "I read the attached reports", "I completed [x] calls with industry experts"). Punchline here is A2 doing half the work and claiming the whole package as their own.
3) Co-worker shovels work off to me
About every week A3 comes to my cube to chat, coming across as extremely friendly and just wanting to catch up. The conversation is about 1/3 pleasantries and 2/3 A3 trying to keep tabs on what I'm working on and what my capacity is. About 1/3 of the way into the conversation A3 always asks "so what were you up to this weekend", and if the answer is anything other than "I was here in my cube all weekend" A3 responds with "Oh so it sounds like you have some capacity. That's great because I am working on x, y, and z and it'd be great if you could take some if it". After that, A3 always asks what I'm working on and who is on the deal teams. After two instances of telling A3 about only one of my deals and getting staffed up on one of A3's old deals about 15 minutes after A3 left my cube, I've learned to just give a laundry list of every single project I'm working on as to avoid giving A3 the opportunity to use my workload against me. Punchline here is A3 transparently keeping tabs on my capacity and deal teams to shovel work off to me (or other associates who I don't reference as being on my deal team).
I'm not sure if I have done a good job articulating each scenario here without going into minute-by-minute recounts of the conversations, but in general I am seeing a lot of credit-grabbing and tab-keeping. This is an entirely new challenge I've never needed to deal with before so I am hoping the WSO community can share some pointers or some of their experience dealing with this type of associate culture.
Please let me know if I can give any more detail to paint a better picture. Not aiming to complain here - I'm genuinely looking for some guidance in navigating my new role.
Thank you all for the help!