Knowing your way around office politics

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Considering the content we display here, it makes sense that most traffic here is from newbie’s, people new to the work scene, so I’m electing to talk about an issue in this post. Generic issue really, not pertaining to any one job.

The truth of life is that life isn’t fair, there’s no working place devoid of internal politics. Also there’s no way for you to avoid taking a part in that politics, your willingness unwillingness doesn’t matter. You see in movies that the first thing the lead does is ingratiating self with someone or the other. Don’t do that, not right off the bat. When I started working I made friends with a woman there, first day itself. Now when people work together they form bounds and friendships! So when a newbie enters office that person is going to take a while to crack into the social circle already formed. Make sense? The people will have formed routines, comfort zones and you being the unknown quantity aren’t one of them yet. That’s normal! So when someone draws close to you right off the bat, there may be a history to the person you’re not aware of. Don’t get me wrong, there are those who just want to make you comfortable, the mothering kind. But those are rare at best. The person I started to draw close to by my second day of work, I found out later since my college friend incidentally worked in the same place although a different department, was, that I was drawing close to office bitch. I’ll spare you the details.

The long and short of it is, learn to judge. Do not make up your mind about anyone on day one. Do not make friends with the office pariah that’ll keep you from building a good rapport with most others. Also do not be the lone wolf, it doesn’t take much, hi, how are you, the normal questions suffice. Meaningless small talk earns you sympathies that may well come in handy when you’re asked to work on something you’ve no clue how to go about. They’ll help you when your boss scolds you because someone might say something or simply smile and make the ordeal seem a bit less of a deal.

Most people do indeed make friends fast but not all. There’s really a trick to making friends, stop worrying about whether or not someone wants to talk to you. Stop worrying about how they’ll react to you, and go for it.

The boss is also someone you want to develop a friendly relationship with. Friendly, not ass kissing, you want to be respected, not taken for granted. State your opinions, and when you have doubts about something the boss did or said or expects done, query him about it, do not question it! Presenting your opinions is an important determinant in how you are looked at. But learn to do so in a diplomatic way.

Another thing to remember is no matter how friendly you get with the boss and how soon, don’t forget his position. Don’t take the liberties you are used to taking with friends. His position means he’s used to enjoying a certain deference and respect. It’ll take more than a few months to break that wall. Do not make the mistake of considering him your buddy he is the boss. No matter how friendly he gets, one day he’s going to bark at you like a bloodhound barking at a sheep! Try not to feel betrayed because you thought he was your friend. But, more likely than not, you will. It’s nothing personal, he has nothing to gain by making things personal and neither do you. So don’t.

In conclusion remember three things, make friends wisely, be friendly with but do not consider your boss to be your friend and third take nothing personally and bring nothing negative from yesterday to work today.



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