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Office Politics: Rules of Engagement

September 24, 2006
Pied Piper Consulting

The game of office politics can be looked at two ways. One, play by the rules and get “in" or two, screw the rules and do what’s best for you or just have some plain old fun. So, the following tips/rules can be followed either of those ways.

Help the people you work with! I’ve said this before; make your boss look good, you’ll be a superstar. Or, help your subordinates and your bat-$@#%-crazy manager will promote them over you. Either way, it’s a winner.

Try to do projects that put you on people’s radars. Of course, if you have to look for the “high profile" work, chances are it’s gone. I mean, do you really think that anything THAT important isn’t already being reported to the decision makers? There’s always a load of the bulls*** work left over. Always enough of that to go around. Get buried sufficiently in that and your idiot boss will start asking for your red Swingline stapler.

"Love thy neighbor, but pick thy neighborhood." I love this quote. Choose your friends wisely. It is as valuable now as it was in grade school. Unfortunately, many people at this “professional" level still act like they were in grade school. So ok, maybe it’s not the wisest move to befriend an obvious slacker, but sometimes people aren’t liked just “because". So you have to not like them too? That’s right! Screw ‘em – sell yourself out to the highest bidder.

Avoid negativity. I love this one! It’s easy enough to do when the negativity isn’t happening to you. If it is, well… roll with it. That is until the acid reflux, depression and anxiety get so bad that you just need to do what I did and that is look for another job!

Cultivate good relationships with others in your company. This is always advisable. Do what you can to make others’ lives easier. Know everything you can know about your job that will help others. That way when you need them, they can give you great references to get out from under the Evil Empire, uh I mean your own bosses. On a serious note, cultivating the right relationships with the pee-ons today will mean you have vice presidents and leaders as your friends tomorrow.

Develop social savvy – but be careful of what you do in front of coworkers, even when socializing. This is another great one, but can backfire just as easily. I’ve been friends with those held “in high regard" who have been caught doing the dumbest things and they emerge unscathed, meanwhile I’ll be the one coming out smelling like well, you know. Then of course, I was friends with someone who got so totally piss drunk at a company function who then turned around and got promoted. There’s no real rhyme or reason to this one.

Confidences are almost always broken. This is an important one. Guard your secrets like Fort Knox. It doesn’t matter who you trust or how much they swear they will never tell another soul… this one will almost always come back to haunt you. Don’t tell people anything you don’t want known.

These are just some of the guidelines I can think of. Office politics are a funny thing. Sometimes it just boils down to being in the right place at the right time. You can play your cards right and still wind up the loser.

Good luck!

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Gail Hamlin graduated from the University of Scranton, in Scranton, PA with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication. She is a seasoned veteran in advertising sales with a 12 year career under her belt. Gail worked for various cable networks such as The Nashville Network, Country Music Television, Black Entertainment Television and The Discovery Networks, where she acquired a strong knowledge of sales and media industry standards.

She lectures and conducts seminars on career and business-related topics, using the caustic wit that has made her blog popular. Her first book titled Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way will be released in October. Some other topics that she covers are Career Networking for Success, Verbal Self-Defense, How to Deflect the Office Bully, Effective Management Skills and Winning Job Strategies to name a few.

Gail is an active member of the Editorial Freelancers Association, Toastmasters International, and the Advertising Women of New York. She is also a licensed Real Estate Salesperson.

The Pied Piper vision is to offer effective guidance for career advancement and effective management. The core values driving the company are to let the public know that they are not alone! Help is on the way!

Pied Piper Consulting will help you and your organization tap into and sharpen the skills that people already possess to strengthen their overall job performance as well as keep people moving upward on their career paths.