Just Sayin'

Saturday, February 12, 2011

21st Century Rules in Workplace Politics

12 February 2011

I don't know if it's just me, but I have just had it with this self-help books and management gurus that paint a totally absurd picture of what really happens in a corporate workplace.  They  sell you  irrelevant concepts and stuff about building more than your I.Q., strengthen your E.Q. and your S.Q.  It's a load of baloney!   Leave that to the Harvard guys.  Didn't they all cause this mess to begin with?

Whatever your quotient is, surviving corporate politics and realities is a matter of knowing how quickly the rules of the game changes and how fast you can adapt.

I have developed and collected a few of my own survival techniques in this harsh battlefield along the way.

  • THERE IS AN "I" IN TEAM.  Now whoever said there is no "I" in team obviously has never been in an office team.  It is all bout "I" meaning it is all up to you if you will grab that opportunity for visibility.  If it's right there, grab it.  If you don't have the opportunity, create one where you can showcase how good you are and that you can make everyone in a sorry team of losers, actually work for you.  It's all about "visibility"  Be seen.  Be heard.
  • IF YOU CAN'T BE BETTER, THEN BE FASTER.  It's all about speed.  It's all about how you can think on your feet whilst you sprint.  You should know where you are good at and where you're not.  And others can beat you to it.  Do not be such a deliberate creature.  Thinking and over analyzing things too much will never get you anywhere but your small cubicle near the pantry or the loo.  There will always be coyotes and jackasses to get you, and if you are not fast enough, you're dead meat. 

  • IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU.  IT'S ABOUT PROFIT AND COST.  Don't hold any grudges on cutbacks on your projects.  Don't get stumped just because your bright innovative and creative idea did not sell.  If this will not drive profit quickly, it's doomed.  If your proposal is all about additional expenses that will not translate to the bottom-line, then forget about it.  Get real.  This is business.  Don't grow moral scruples.  Don't even wince. If you think corporations are built around social consciousness and responsibility, work with a  volunteer group and save the earth.

  •  SHOW FACE ON/SHOW FACE OFF.  If you have no idea what I am talking about, what the hell are you doing in a corporate environment?  Nobody puts on a "real" face at work.  Unless you have a suicidal streak and it's your life's choice.  Who am I to say otherwise?

  • THE BOSS IS KING/QUEEN.  Tried.  Tested.  True.  No ifs.   No buts.  Just a statement of fact.  
  • NO "FRIENDS" POLICY.  If you possess a delusion that the workplace is actually a haven of would-be or potential friends for life?  You are absolutely wrong.  There are a few, accent on few, exceptions.  But the general rule in order to survive is to see the people in your workplace as co-workers.  Period.  If you actually think that Miss Goody-Two-Shoes that sits there in the west wing who prays or reads the Bible every Lunch Break is a Saint, think again.  She is likely to be the village loony, the village tramp or the village rumor mill, or all of the above.  Sharing a cup of coffee is just as you see it, sharing a cup of coffee.  There are no gray areas.  If you don't have any friends, then look elsewhere, not in your freaking office.  Goodness, go clubbing!  So the next time around somebody bawls out or breaks down after a dressing down with the boss and runs to you for comfort and consolation, offer some tissues.  That's not being a jerk. You're just keeping it real.

  • THERE IS A CURE FOR "GUILT ATTACKS".  When push comes to shove, tackle and drivel and claw.  Oh yes, attack and give the attackers a warm welcome to the world of pain.  Don't be so morally upright even if you started the mess.  Deny it.  You never started anything.  If you try to play niceties, then you are branded for life, and likely the first candidate to go when the need arises.  Nobody wants a popular and nice guy.

  • NEVER CALL A BLUFF.  If somebody tells you that the whole project you are working on sucks and your team presentation is a load of crap, or that someone screwed up and the Boss needs to be told about it ... go back to your Poker basics.  Do you have a good hand?  Are you willing to raise the ante?  Calculate the risks.  Proceed as planned and lay away from taking the role of the office idiot who delivered the bad news to the Boss.  Every "messenger" gets killed, literally.  So unless you have 4 Aces tucked up in your sleeves, then you have the luxury of calling the bluff.  You should be smart enough to smell a set-up.

  • FIND A JEDI MASTER.  Nope, I am not talking about the senior executives who would rather hold onto their offices until the world splits apart on their feet; nor am I talking about "Mentors"  who appear to know this and that but speak in blurry words only morons will fall for.   I am talking about people who blend with the wall paper, but they've seen it all and they know.  I am talking about the real wise men in the Office Building.  The Clean Up guys, the Security Guards and the 30-year service Office Contractual Hire.  Keep them very close to you.  Invest a little.  Trust me, even Christian Amampour will be put to shame about how much these people know and are willing to share.  You need the information.  They are way better than Google Query and Wiki put together.  It's a secret weapon.  Keep it a secret.

  • WORK SMART, DON'T DIE FOR A COMPANY.  I see this happen all the time.  People work like they expect the company to love them back.  It's a Company.  It's not even a living creature.  They have short memories.  And every minute you spent working was paid for.  So who asked you to work with passion?  With dedication?  With such loyalty and devotion?  No one.  Even if they did, that was another bluff and you actually fell for it.  Working your butt off does not mean losing sleep on it and killing yourself.  Have a life.  Crunch your full eight hours then go home.  If you don't have one, build one.  Have some fun.  Smell the flowers.  Or just drink.

  • IT'S JUST A JOB.  Go get a life.  That means look alive.  Breathe.

All Cartoon Strips courtesy of the creative genius in Scott Adams, the creator of DILBERT.


  1. Thanks for the great article. I got a ton of laughs out of it.

  2. This has been a very significant blog indeed. I’ve acquired a lot of helpful information from your article. Thank you for sharing such relevant topic with us.

  3. I enjoyed reading this. You make a lot of valid points but the whole if you can't be better be faster, doesn't hold up with me because quality counts for something.

  4. I think too many people take things personal instead of realizing that it truely is about cost and profit in the corporate world. Love this site

  5. Love this site. You have a nice way of putting things taht is straight to the point but also funny in its own way. Tried to call a bluff once didn't work.

  6. I'd leave a cutting and incisive comment...but my coworkers are going to read this. :o

  7. Thanks for the comments guys!
    Now of course Quality of Work is a totally different subject altogether.