I'm posting from another industry and would like WSO to weigh in given the community's extensive experience in office politics. I am currently a medical student at a top 3 medical school with no "corporate america" work experience. I will be working in a lab next year with a fellow medical student who is very competitive and would like overall guidance in how to conduct myself. My concerns are as follows.
-We are both applying for the same fields
-Coworker/student would ask me sensitive questions that would require me to "hand over" information that gave me a competitive advantage
-IE I would initiate personal side projects with key leaders in the division. He would see me walk out of the office with said leader and try to inquire about my actions. These projects are my main competitive advantage b/c they provide me with facetime with influential individuals. This actually happened in the past 2 years ago where I told him what I was up to, only for him to replicate said idea (Fool me once, shame on me....)
-IE He inquired about who am I conducting research with. After telling him he ended up applying for the same lab that I did (perhaps this was chance but not so sure...)
Curious about how to "deflect" his nosey questions about topics that I simply don't want to talk about for concern that he will quite literally "take" my ideas. Also tried to collaborate with him in the past but he was not into a synergistic relationship...more so parasitic/competitive.