Office Politics: It’s not for the Faint of Heart

We’ve all dealt with it. He said, she said. She’s flirting around with him too much or he’s putting the moves on her when he knows he has a wife. She thinks that she can tell me what to do when she’s not even a higher level than me, or he likes to create drama between women in group projects.  As young people entering the workforce or having a good few years into the game, office politics play an important role in the way you interact with your co-workers. Even though rumors and such shouldn’t count in your abilities as a worker, it is always in the minds of people when they evaluate you or ask you to take on special things if they hear you like to talk about people. My advice:  steer clear from it, run for your life from certain people who gravitate to gossip! Things can get ugly when you involve yourself with things that have nothing to do with you. I’ve devised a few keys points and red flags to look out for in order to stay away from gossip/drama and when someone is trying to drag you into gossip/drama.

1.  Choose your office friends wisely. Someone will try to be your friend, but they may not want you as a friend, if you know what I mean. Some people like to keep their enemies or competition closer than their real friends just to see what you are about. Feel a person out before you decide to let them know more about you. If they start out off the bat talking about people or asking you if you notice something about someone, take a few steps back and evaluate that person some more. If they are real quick to ask you a lot of personal things about yourself, be careful because they may try to use it against you.

2. Automatically zone out any conversation that starts with, “Now this conversation stays between me and you….” chances are that person is about to tell you something that you DON’T want to hear. Trust me, every time I’ve had someone say that to me and it was  something that had nothing to do with me and I didn’t want to hear about it. Your best bet is to just ignore what the person is saying and don’t give your opinion in any way about the situation. Shake your head; say mmhh, whatever you got to do to get away from that person ASAP.

3. Stay away from the cliques in the office. My advice would be just to play nice with all of them because if one doesn’t like you, you will already be the target of everyone else in that group. I’ve seen it happen before and it’s not right to get ganged on by people that you don’t even have a problem with.

4. If a person always seems to have drama in their life outside of work, they’re going to bring that same mentality into the office. I absolutely hate people that bring their attitude from outside into the work place. It’s very unproductive and it can cause unnecessary issues. I know we are all victim to acting that way, but there are some people that really take it to a high degree.

5. The people that think try to help you all the time and then use it against you to get information out of you because they seem to think that you “owe” them. These are the tricky, but worse people in the office. They think that just because they do things for you or try to help you out, you owe them by telling them any information you know about a person or situation.

Let’s face it, everyone gossips to some degree but the hardcore ones you can definitely identify with these points. It’s best to stay away from those people but never let your avoidance be perceived as being weak; its all picking your battles and honestly its probably something that isn’t worth your time.   There are the few, the few people in the office that are genuine and can become a good friend that opens doors for you that you couldn’t have yourself. That’s what makes the whole experience worthwhile. We all have to deal with it, and at the end of the day, you’re there to make money, not to be anyone else’s entertainment.

-T.L.C. (and yes these are my initials)


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Justina
    Oct 12, 2010 @ 16:58:41

    I think this should be handed out during the first day of every job along with the code of conduct. People spend waaaaay too much time wrapped up in the business of the office rather than the business of the business. Office drama is just too intense because these are people you see everyday and if something goes awry it can be all hell when it all hits the fan. I choose to keep to myself in the office and if there is something that bothers me in my office and it isn’t so intense to talk to HR about, I just wait until I can vent on a girls night out or call my Mom or post a very irate message to Twitter.


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