Luckily, I work in a place where office politics are minimal. Of course, there are the occasional newbies who think they can get ahead by sucking up to the higher levels of management around here (soon, they figure out it doesn’t work, and tone it down). I suppose it’s because we’re a relatively small department, and the rapport between superiors and peons are generally good, we don’t have a lot of office politics going on - probably because there isn’t need for it.
I do recall working at a larger, more heartless corporation where if you don’t step on others to get ahead, then you are the one being stepped on. At least, that was the mentality around there; the mentality was one of the reasons I left as quick as I could, because I was doing admin assistant work and I was the messenger for the bulk of the snarking and back biting.
The actual incidence of office politics that pushed me to leave:
I was hired to help out one manager, but after being there for about four months, another admin assistant left; the company was too cheap to hire someone new, so they “re-directed” everything to me. I started doing admin assistant work for another manager who did not have the best reputation within the company. Gossip around the office indicated he had some sort of relationship with the CFO’s wife - brother-in-law or cousin or uncle or something like that. Distant enough relation not to raise any eyebrows with the higher-ups, but related enough for the peons to bitch and moan about how unfair it was.
Of course, no one would have complained if this guy wasn’t such an asshole. Actually, no one would have complained if this guy knew how to do his fucking job. When they asked me to do his admin work for him, they said it was temporary, and they agreed to increase my wage. I was so naive to think that it was going to be temporary, and that the increase in wage would make up for all the extra work I had to do. The new manager I was supposed to work with was extremely high maintenance - doing all the shit asshole bosses love to do to their assistants. One of such things that got me seething was that literally threw a large stack of papers onto my desk one day, demanded that I made fifteen copies for his meeting RIGHT away, as it was starting in half an hour. I was in the middle of working on something else for my original manager. Something that was more urgent, and had been requested with respect and in ample time for me to complete.
Dickhead manager would not take no for an answer, because god forbid he go and make the copies himself. I repeated myself, and also reminded him that I was hired to assist the original manager, and the work I was doing was priority. He grumbled, then he walked away. I showed him it was futile to get me to do things I didn’t want to do, so victory was on my side! I thought that was the end of it, but how young and naive I was back then. The next week, I find out that he had decided to re-locate my original manager to another department. It wasn’t so much that he had the power to relocate him, but he had family connections to people who did, so it was done for him. As far as I know, he didn’t care, or even knew who the other manager was. He wanted him gone, wanted me to work for him, and only him, so he found a way to make it happen. After figuring out from the original manager that his move was neither a promotion nor a demotion, and he had been given no choice in the move, it was obvious what dickhead’s motivation was. I searched for another job (during office hours and using office resources, so take that dickhead!), found another one within the week, and left as soon as they gave me an offer. Two weeks notice…? They can kiss my ass.