I’ve just come across this guide to office politics on Australian blog “All men are lairs”. Here are a few extracts:
Rule 1: There is ALWAYS office politics. There is nothing more naive than a perky friend starting a fresh gig who boasts: “I love my new job, there’s no politics”
I’d agree with that. I think it was Malcolm McLaren who said something like, “Politics is more than three people in a room.” Wherever there are people, there’s politics.
Rule 2: You can’t escape office politics but you don’t have to take sides.
“Try to be Switzerland….”
Well, yes, but you can’t always avoid taking sides and, if you don’t, you sometimes just get rolled over by everyone else. Stretching the neutral country analogy, you might try to be Switzerland but end up like Holland, protesting your neutrality while your cities are flattened.
Rule 3: Don’t talk about people at work to other people at work unless they are absolutely your friends (as opposed to workmates).
Just because you clank cups with some clown in the kitchen and you think you get along great and can trust them, doesn’t make them a friend.
Says Boonie: “Ask yourself this question: ‘If I left this job would I stay friends with this person?’”
“If the answer is ‘no’, never confide in them.
Good advice. I can’t argue with that one.
Rule 5 (a): And this is golden. Never EVER say anything personal about a co-worker in an email.
Anyone who breaks this rule is just plain stupid. Firstly, your emails are always on file somewhere and secondly, you never know when you are going to hit the Reply-To-All button by mistake. Never write down anything electronically that you wouldn’t want to be confronted with on printed paper.
Rule 7: Pork barrel as much as you can.
I don’t mean steal or defraud your boss, but don’t be counting pennies for multi-nationals. Fly business class if you can, order the fillet mignon, drink the imported beer and catch the cab rather than the bus.
Is there a sadder sight than some dude living in a studio apartment who gets all frisky in the office, boasting he just saved a Fortune 500 company $43 on photocopy paper? Yeesh.
If the company wants you to save money, your boss will let you know soon enough.
I would add one extra rule to this list. Always look for where the power is. I don’t mean that you must suck up to all the senior people, just that you need to be aware of those subtle shifts in power. If you have aligned yourself to someone whose star is on the wane, then you need to look to others for support. Unless, of course, you have long service and want to get made redundant with a big payoff. Then you can pretty much do as you please.