So how DO you deal with office politics, anyway?

Dogzilla posted a thought in the thread:
that’s worth following up on.

I admit I don’t have a clue how to deal. Even after being stabbed in the back. Repeatedly.

The whole power game of Machiavellian amorality and deceit so disgusts me that I have always stayed as far away from it as possible. You can call me naïve, call me a dreamer, I don’t care, but I believe in the essential goodness of human nature, I believe in love and light and peace and goodwill. I believe that truth and right ultimately triumph over deceit and evil.

I just want to be left alone to do my job well and get along with everyone, and respect everyone, instead of being fucked with by amoral power trippers. I am aware that this has seriously impeded my climb up the career ladder. But I have made a conscious decision to live according to my ethical beliefs instead of fucking around with other people’s lives. If that’s the price I have to pay, so be it. I guess some kind of “psychic self-defense” is in order.

One thing about office politics I have figured out on my own: you gotta schmooze. It isn’t enough to be a nice person and do good work. You gotta stay on the good side of the right people and constantly butter them up. Although my inner nature is gentle and loving, I tend to be intellectual and reserved. I’m just not a party animal. I’m schmooze-impaired. The only people I can really relax and grok with are the few other misfit hippie/intellectual/mystical types who understand. This, of course, only makes it worse, since those folks are on the outs of the power structure. The people who can make you or break you are usually the Machiavellian power-freak types, and they make me uncomfortable.

This, of course, is The Big Lie, promulgated by those who need bodies to climb over on their way up the ladder, or those who are too afraid to leave and have to justify their miserable lives. I spent 13 years in the computer software publishing biz, and it was brutal. The three rules for success seemed to be:
[li]Never Tell the Truth.[/li][li]Never Play by the Rules.[/li][li]Never Spend Your Own Money.[/li]
I opted out, moved to Alaska, and now run my own business out of my home. People gladly pay me money to do what I enjoy. I don’t have to screw with them to make them want my service. Nobody runs my life. I have made sacrifices, but the rewards have far outweighed them.

I can tell you, if you are the kind of person you described, it will not get better, it will get worse. It will either destroy you, or you will compromise all your principles and become like them. There is no middle ground if you choose to stay.

Tell me, what takes more courage, staying in a soul-corrupting environement where you trade your todays for somebody’s vague promise about how great it’s going to be “someday”? Or (the option we should be teaching our kids) throwing it all away, trusting in your own abilities, and doing what makes you happy?

The best advice,

  1. try to play it straight.
  2. assume 1/2 the people who come up to you the first day will have an undisclosed reason (not necessarily cynical) that they want to see if you can help with. The other half are following rule #1.

I don’t know. I’m office politics impaired also, having been brought up believing that a good days work gets a good days pay.

Over the years, I found out that I was wrong. So far, due to office politics, being too trusting with the wrong people and actually attempting to figure that wrongs should be corrected, I’ve been fired off of 3 jobs.

So far I’ve discovered that superiors will take credit for valuable discoveries they did not make, will blame you for errors they said were justifiable, will out and out lie to you and will set you up to take a fall over something they told you to do that went wrong.

I will not go out drinking with the ‘guys’ to schmooz and kiss ass, preferring to not spend free time and good booze on people I dislike.

Perhaps I’m just miraculously lucky, or perhaps I work in a field (video game programming) where talent is valued highly, but I’ve never played office politics at all (as far as I know), and have certainly never backstabbed or betrayed anyone, and I’ve been consistently promoted, and am now at exactly the level (lead programmer on a PS2 game) that I think is best for me. In fact, if anything, I’ve been given a bit too much responsibility.
On the other hand, I’ve heard terrible things about the level of politics in other parts of the company. So maybe it just depends on the office.

I help people I like and who treat me well, and contribute to the downfall of people I don’t like. I do it all very subtly.

I just try to stay out of it, but I’m in a unique position right now-- I know I’ll be leaving relatively soon, so I just don’t care anymore. At least not for my own sake. I do care about how it’s affecting my boss. Long story short, the current Overlord has an Advisor who seems to run the show. Theories about this vary, but one current one is that the Overlord isn’t as bright as some would like to think, and caves easily if lead properly.

Anyway, the Advisor (who was hired and given an Exalted Invented Title soley because he was an old friend of the Overlord’s) and the Overlord both have some sort of issue with my boss-- they just don’t seem to like her, on a personal level. So there are constant little efforts to undermine her, and it makes me crazy, because to my mind this kind of behavior is childish and unprofessional and has no place in an office. Yet I know every office has some degree of political crap going on.

If I knew I was going to be at this job for more than a few months, or if I was already in a new job, I think I’d probably try to make myself accessible and known to the “right people,” but I’d still try to stay out of the dirtier aspects of office politics.

Dogzilla . . . care to elaborate on this?