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I have been searching a lot for this, but can't find the expression. I'm wondering if there is a phrase that is used a lot for this.

At work, it happens a lot in many organizations that people try to do someone else's job to show off themselves and their capabilities. The motivation behind this is usually either to get a raise, or to show their boss that the current person is not doing their job well enough, and they can replace that person.

Is there a phrase or expression for this act?

4 Answers 4

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The closest I can think of is being after someone's job. This is a common and idiomatic expression.

However, being after smb's job can manifest itself in many ways. It's not limited to doing someone else's work. It can involve scheming, currying favor with superiors, etc.

The guy's great with manipulating superiors but I can see right through him. ... He hasn't got what it takes to do his job: no creativeness or any idea of quality. ... Now he's after my job 'cause I'm the only female there with any power and he dislikes me clearly.

(typologycentral.com)

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  • Kindly re-read the question, the OP asked for just a word, not phrases. I agree my solution isn't perfect but it is the closest you can get using a word. You cannot change the question requirements to suit your answers. Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 15:50
  • @DarshanChaudhary The question is tagged "phrase" and "expressions". I didn't edit it. Please do not take my comments personally, I'm not perfect and can be mistaken. but I just don't think "sideline" is a good fit.
    – A.P.
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 21:41
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May I suggest "to sideline".

to Sideline is defined as :

to prevent (a person) from pursuing a particular activity, operation, career, etc

You can use it like this :

John pushed Josh to the sidelines on the new project as a first step in his campaign to replace him

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  • This answer seems wrong on several counts: 1. Sideline (noun) is normally what you do outside of your main job. Your main job could be business analysis, and your sideline fixing cars. 2. To sideline (verb) primarily means to make a player in a sport unable to play. As in "A bad knee sidelined a football player". It can also mean to remove from a center of activity or attention, as in "The issue was sidelined". What makes you think "John is trying to sideline Josh" can mean John is scheming in order to get Josh's job? Where does your example sentence come from?
    – A.P.
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 8:33
  • And if "John is trying to sideline Josh" means John is trying to remove Josh from an activity, then you are using "sideline" in a different meaning from what you posted. This meaning also does not fit the OP's request.
    – A.P.
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 8:39
  • Darshan Chaudhary's example is perfectly OK. "sideline: to prevent (a person) from pursuing a particular activity, operation, career, etc," from "The Free Dictionary" (thefreedictionary.com/sideline) But....DC selected the wrong definition for sideline for his example. Another example would be: "John pushed John to the sidelines on the new project as a first step in his campaign to replace him." "sidelines: The position or point of view of those who observe rather than participate in an activity: the political sidelines." Same ref as above.
    – ab2
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 20:35
  • @ab2 Please take a look at my second comment above. I'm not denying "to sideline" can be used here, but not in the meaning Darshan quoted in his answer ("additional activity for extra income"). Plus, "to sideline" neither conveys the idea of doing someone else's job nor being after someone else's job.
    – A.P.
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 21:40
  • @A.P. I agree that DC posted a definition that was neither correct for his example nor correct for the OP. My comment was posted to explain to DC where his mistake was. As for sidelining someone, or pushing or easing them to the sidelines, as part of scheming to get their job, yes, that is a valid usage. But it could also be used in a different way -- a boss might sideline someone on a project for managerial reasons -- e.g., in a short time, another project will come up that needs the person more.
    – ab2
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 21:57
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Consider, tread on someone's toes/turf

also, step on someone's toes: to offend (a person); encroach on the territory or sphere of responsibility of (another). Random House

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The word you are looking for is micromanage, which literally refers to a person who tries to control every part, however small, of (an enterprise or activity).

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    No, micromanagement is not doing the job (which is what the question asks about), but getting the existing jobholder to do it under close scrutiny.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 18:20
  • I have heard it used in that context when people in authority did the work of the person appointed to the position after not having someone in that position for a while as if they were not there. In business management, micromanagement is a management style whereby a manager closely observes and/or controls and/or reminds the work of his/her subordinates or employees. Micromanagement is generally considered to have a negative connotation, mainly because it shows a lack of freedom in the workplace. However, I am not sure there is a word for someone who does it to get a person fired.
    – Ujima Jame
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 18:26

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