4 ways to survive office politics

Unless you are a rock star, movie star or Michael Jordan in the 90s, no-one loves their job all the time. It’s fair to say that having a job invariably sucks. And when you have to work with other people having a job sucks even more because people invariably suck.

When you get more than one person in a room you have politics. And when these 2+ people are in an office you have office politics and this type of politics is the worst.

Let’s assume, that if you are having issues with office politics it’s because you work in an office and are therefore an adult. You need to deal with this nasty part of the grown-up world quickly and effectively. Or, you need to quit your job and move to a cave, Zarathustra style. I’m all for joining Nietzsche’s Zarathustra in his cave of self-reflection but caves tend to be lacking in the coffee machine department so it’s perhaps not the ideal answer.

Hence, by using my philosophical wit, and driven by a need to have permanent access to coffee, I have discovered the best ways to deal with office politics.

1/ Don’t get involved in the first place.

Like everything from putting on a bra to cooking dinner that is not cheese on jatz, this is easier said than done. More often than not, these types of politics drag people in before they have finished the left over cheese on jatz from last night’s dinner. Stay away from gossip and rumours and the gossip and rumours will be less likely to be focused on you. If they do, grab an extra peace of cheese and run.

2/ Constructive confrontation

Or as I like to call it, smacking that annoying bitch/bastard in the mouth. (I think it may be time to watch less Orange is the New Black.)

3/ Skilled communication.

Don’t fall for the old ‘active listening’ rubbish that adults in offices are always peddling. And don’t use the saying ‘speak only if it improves the silence.’ Instead, use big words to confuse your dopey opponent and then storm away before they can ask you questions you can’t answer.

4/ Read Robert Fulgham’s All I really need to know, I learnt in kindergarten.’

This is the very best way to handle office politics, because really, office politics is the kindergarten playground all over again except instead of monkey bars there are computers and some of the players are now wearing Prada. All the lessons you need to survive office politics and life in general are in this book. Share everything, play fair, don’t hit people, put things back where you found them, clean up your own mess, say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody, etc. Maybe buy extra copies and hand them out to people in your office.

Being able to cope, survive and manage office gossip is important because you spend more time at your job than you do in your bed. I know, the world’s gone mad. Office politics is childish but it is, unfortunately, a big part of the adult world. Even rock stars and movie stars deal with office politics, except their political warfare is played out in the tabloids, which are the bullies of their playgrounds. It can make you feel like a movie star when the entire office is gossiping about you, but office politics is erroneous. It’s not the correct way to behave and it’s not something to get involved with. Just remember, all you really need to know about dealing with office politics you learnt in kindergarten