Office Politics: Surviving the Office Jungle

Office politics is a fact of institutional or corporate life. As long as organizations exist, office politics will always be there. On a neutral note, office politics is simply the relationship and interaction between and among co-workers (and, to a certain extent, with the bosses). The relationship should ideally be of mutual respect, and the interaction should be one of healthy competition. Unfortunately, office politics – just like general politics in our country – is viewed as something extremely negative. It’s present in any corporate structure and gets worse in bigger corporations.In other words, you can’t run away from office politics. Here are some points to remember in order to survive the office jungle:

1. Move up the corporate ladder on your own merits. If you’re good with what you do, you don’t have to put others down. You should instead help others without strings attached. Don’t be a Mang Jose, ang superhero na biglang naniningil.

2. Be loyal to, and don’t badmouth, your organization. Someone might overhear you and report the juicy stuff to the bosses. If you can’t say anything good, shut up!

3. Invest in your education and your profession. Buy books, go back to school, upgrade your skills (never mind if the company doesn’t pay for it) and always put your brand of excellence in your work. Always strive to be unassuming in your achievements. Simple, pero rock. more_button

4. Accept and deal with the sad fact that you’ll be working with persons you don’t like. Be civil with them.

5. If you’re angry over an issue or something goes wrong, acknowledge it and take measures to rectify it. Move on; nobody’s perfect.

6. Don’t persecute a co-worker by ganging up on him. “Divide and conquer” strategy is a quick way to move up, but the trail of destruction you left behind will haunt your corporate life.

7. Never destroy a co-worker’s work or malign them to elevate your status. This is unlawful. It is also very unethical.

8. Be diplomatic. Emotional outbursts and verbal confrontation are counter-productive.

9. Cultivate mutual respect. It takes two to tango.

10. Know your limits. If a backstabber or an abuser crosses the line, put your foot down and make it clear that you don’t want to be treated in such an unprofessional manner. If the gossiping and the abuse continue, take it to higher management. If it still fails, think about requesting for a job relocation, or pack your things and leave. It’s better to pound the pavement looking for a job than staying in an organization manned by unprofessional and pretentious jerks.

Simply put, deal with office politics by being respectful to and diplomatic with your officemates. As someone said, weather-weather lang ‘yan. The people you meet on your way up, are the same people you’ll meet on your way down.

(My online friend, Mr. Boboi Costas, wrote an article on office (pinoy) politics. Boboi’s great article, used here with his permission, is the framework of this post.)

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