Office Politics

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A friend of mine often carpooled with an associate to the office where they worked.   One night, my friend went out with his cousin who lived on the other side of town. He thought he had taken everything he needed for work the next day, but he had forgotten his tie. 


On the way to work the next day, he picked up his associate to take him to work and told him that he had to get a tie at home.   They had plenty of time as he always picked up his associate early and my friend’s apartment was on the way to work, but his associate told him, “Hey, Steve, I’ll just loan you one of my ties.”


Once at work the boss said,” I see you and Steve made it in early today as ususal.”  The associate of my friend, who was out of earshot, said,” Yeah, except I had to dress Steve this morning.”


You get the point.  Office politics is probably one of the most despicable things you will run into.  So, how do you avoid this?


For one thing, be self-reliant. Your associates at work are not your friends.  You need to have everything you need so as not to give the other guy something to talk about. A good idea is to keep an extra suit and its accompaniments handy in case of coffee spills or an unwelcomed tear in clothing.   You also need to learn your job to its highest level to be self-reliant, especially that which can be self-taught.


Next, keep opinions to yourself that are not relevant to work, and remember that politics can affect a sales job; for instance.  I liked Ronald Reagan, but on Grant Street in my hometown, it is the Democratic Machine headquarters.   Republicans don’t sell there.


As a matter of fact, my Dad, who was in sales had to be a registered Democrat because they wouldn’t have let a Republican in the union shops he sold products to.   I should add, my Dad voted for Goldwater, a famous conservative Republican who lost to President Johnson in a landslide.


Next, keep ideas to yourself that you don’t want others to take off you.  This means locking drawers too.  Also, guard your customers.  Office associates may rip them off in pricing because they are not their customers if they come to them when you are gone, or take credit for sales when you go on vacation.  So, take care of business before you leave on vacation.


Also, only you can take care of you.  If you are a milk toast or think it is beneath you to defend you, don’t expect Santa to slide down a chimney and protect you.


I wrote this another time, but it bears repeating, remember at work to guard your personal life.  If you can chug ten mugs of beer without showing its effects before you move onto the vodka, this isn't a business statement you want out there.  Also if your Mom is cruel to you and this causes you to weep, weep at home.  People at work care about getting paid and keeping their jobs, not your personal stories of tragedy.   Customers also don't care that your Uncle Billy would beat you as a child while Mom and Dad were drunk on the couch.  


On the same hand, kindness is a great virtue and so is honesty.  Pass out praise, give credit where credit is due, don’t play politics.  A good boss isn't stupid.  He or she didn't get where he or she is by being a knucklehead.  They see through politics and despise it and will find honesty refreshing. 


There’s nothing wrong with giving credit, it's having it stolen off you that's bad.  And if you are an office backstabber, it isn't too late to change.  Remember, every dog was once a wolf somewhere back in time.





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