Politics - Things they dont tell you about your new job...
Updated: Feb 13, 2019
How come all the posts talk about improving creativity within work or how to ensure you create an environment that you are truly passionate about. Why does no one talk about internal politics? Follow post will help you manage the internal office politics.
Like it or not, you put 2 human beings together, they are bound to have differences, and if you put a heirarchy, there is bound to be immense politics. The question is, how much do you care, how much does it affect you, and more importantly, are there any specific steps you can take to do something about it?
“Be always self aware of the battles you want to pick. Do they result in achieving your overall contentment and your goal?”
Below are some few 'Practical' tips and tricks that you can keep in mind. If you follow them right, people usually will leave you alone and let you be. You might even get a promotion every once in a while. :)
Again, this is not an 'achieve everything', 'find and follow your passion at work', 'get everything as soon as possible' post. If you are looking for those posts, I can probably refer you to about all the non fiction books that are out there. These are simple actual steps that you can follow in order to reside and thrive within the safe zone -
1. Boss is always awesome and right. If he thinks you dont think that about him, change it fast
Bosses can be pretty time consuming. Have you heard of the paretos law? (If not, please read it). Basically, ensure that you invest about 80% of your time managing your boss's expectation. If he is super bossy, then you unfortunately are only the yes man. If he is in a mood where he likes to be challenged, then you are the guy who challenges him. Basically, ensure that you know your boss and get him on your side. Certain things he needs to know which you should iterate continuously and consciously -
- you genuinely care about the team,
- you are generally a positive guy,
- you are polite to the team on majority and,
- be on time for the meetings.
That is usually about it.
If you can dedicate a large part of your agenda being attentive to boss's need, you will realize that you will get much more recognition for the same amount of work done.
2. Figure out the org structure within the team
Typically the team consists of different roles ->
1. A guy or a group of guys the boss trusts completely;
2. A super geek who the boss likes;
3. Guy who executes but is often complaining. Usually, he is the ideal guy;
4. Random dude hanging who is just around.
You need to find the guy who is the most influential. Some tips of tracking this guy is that he refrains from direct comments/ confrontation, he usually has a strong subordinate that he teams strongly with.
He is your best friend. Period. Identify him, laugh at his jokes, second everything he says. Usually these guys have a high ego and come around pretty easily.
Note - they will never, ever put your self instead of them. You basically need to tell them that you are harmless, so that, when your topic comes into question, he does not strategically imply through various sources that you are useless.
Most importantly, you need to identify who sits on the table when they discuss resources, and who will vouch for you. If not vouch, at least will not have anything against you. If you identify this guy, you just ensure that you are on his good books. Its pretty simple!
3. Do not ever, and definitely do not, back b**tch about anyone -
These things have a very tacky way of biting you when you expect the least. And such opinions always comes out. No matter what. Hence, these are one of those things that should be one of the most ultimate rule books (like never jay walk when drunk sort of thing). Just never, ever back bite anyone, or talk ill about anyone in the team. It will never ever result in something good.
When you feel the urge to do it, or when you think this topic has been started about someone else, please refrain from participating. Remember that no one at work is going to be your highscool 'friend'. It just doesnt exist.
Reiterating - never every talk ill about anyone within a team setting.
4. Complaining about your job is a slippery slope.
Save yourself the trouble of finding the right job.I have yet to come across, or hear about an ideal company, ideal job or an ideal environment. Yes, some projections of the jobs do exist, specially when I read about the lifestyles guaranteed in these self help books which promise you a mansion by the ocean with amazing women without having to work at all. Apart from those, I am yet to come across any job which is absolutely ideal in all sense.
I was always impressed about imagineers (disney imagineers) , but even for them, the internal politics is one of the highest in the world.
The convoluted point is, since there is no job which is perfect in nature, of course your job will also not be perfect in nature, as the PERFECT job doesn't exist. Hence, realize it and deal with it.
In my career, I have often seen that complaining about your job is a very slippery slope. Once you start on that slope, there are so many things you can associate with your daily self that will make the conviction of your depressing job even stronger.
Also, lets face it, human beings are inherently, on an average, complaining by birth. That is largely to do with the fact that there are so many options on a daily basis that we can associate ourselves with - cars, houses, women, jewellery, holidays etc. Owing to 'paradox of choices' you will always have it easier to complain.
Hence, do yourself a favor. Deal with the less than ideal job. Deal with the less than ideal workplace. You are doing a job to sustain your daily life, whatever it may be - being able to support yourself, supporting family or whatever.
Happiness, contentment and all the good stuff happens in daily life. Daily, when you see your kids smile, daily when you buy the meal with your own money, when you buy a gift for someone...
So remember this the next time you complain about your job. Realize what it enables you to do. And be happy with it.
As stated earlier, this post is not directed towards achieving the lifestyle you want, but to help you realize what you already have and to navigate easily. This is not a usual self help post which will help you determine passion and lets you live as if each day was your last (living that way will be so valueless and pointless).
This post is for those who realize that contentment is in less. That more value lies probably in spending more time with family/ hobbies/ and doing the things you love instead of going for the next promotion. And those who realized that its ok to waste time.
Your liking will be yours, unique.
Hence if you can manage the office politics, which is a must, it will give you more time hopefully to do the things you like. Always remember your eventual goal, to make time for yourself. So no checklists, no reminders, no plans. Just follow the above points and it will ensure a smoother sailing, will keep you under the radar and who knows, might even get your promoted one day.