I love reading stories about collaborative companies, where there is no upper management but instead an equal idea and decision making process. It would be so cool to even sit for one day in a company like that just to see how it works. Those jobs are highly sought after however, so the fact is that most of us instead have to deal with the corporate pyramid.
I have yet to be CEO of my own company, but have been in just about every other position on the pyramid – and frankly, they all suck – because of the politics attached to each position. The ones on the bottom get treated lesser than the ones in the middle, the ones in the middle get treated lesser than the ones on top, and lesser by the ones underneath them. Everyone always seems to be on one side or another about the President and CEO, those who worship them because of the title they have, and those that hate them because of the power they hold. There really is no perfect spot in a company, unless it’s a spot you love purely because of the job you hold.
And that’s what we all need to aim for.
The other strange thing about work politics, or more particularly the work structure, is that on each level you have people fighting for their level. Some will bash or make fun of others on the same level in the hopes they will be made higher by doing so. Obviously, this rarely works because everyone sees this transparent attempt at manipulation, but it doesn’t stop many thousands of people from trying.
The corporate world is extremely political too. Sometimes you’re not supposed to like or talk to one person because the boss doesn’t like them. You’re right that it shouldn’t matter, but it does – as soon as you befriend the person the boss doesn’t like, then you are suddenly not on their side anymore. It’s really strange all the little rules and courtesies that we all do to fit in and stay in the position we were hired for that is above and beyond the actual work that we do.
I work hard at not playing any political games. I try to be nice to everyone, work hard, do the best job I can, and not play favorites with anyone at the job. I am polite and helpful to my boss and supervisor, just like I try to be polite and helpful for those on my same level and the ones below. The only thing I really try not to do is to accept an assignment that’s beneath my skill level. But if someone wants to pay big bucks for me to do something that a trained monkey could do? Well, what the heck, do you want some bananas with that, cuz I guess I’m your monkey. :p
The drama’s that most people get sucked into at jobs seem silly, but are often typical power plays. Some people think that if they degrade their boss enough that they will rise up to take their place. In the last 19 years that I’ve been working, I have yet to ever see that actually happen…. I doubt it really ever does. I think it’s normal to be both happy and unhappy with your boss or supervisor at different times as long as they are reasonable people to work for, but if you’re seeing nothing but negativity, then either you are really messed up, or your boss really is and you should look for a different job. There’s nothing more to be said on that really. Why make your environment worse by reinforcing negativity?
The best thing you can do at any place of employment is to not gossip or vent to anyone about problems you are having at work, except for the person you are having problems with. This is almost impossible to do sometimes, but the less you share the better off you’ll be. If you really have to, choose one person, and one person only – and make sure that you believe they are absolutely trustworthy.
I’ll probably write another post soon about office politics because there is so much to be said, but if you’re having trouble with office politics, please send me an email. My advice is uncommon, and I do my best to help each person who writes.
All best to you,