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Monday, January 12, 2009

Officious Politicking

Here's an interesting phenomenon that many people find themselves faced with. Most recently, as far back as a couple of days ago, I came across yet another example of who-said-what-to-whom-behind-whose-back. Well, this is one aspect of "office politics", but it can be a lot worse than that too. I apologize for the unnecessarily tedious title to this post, but I imagine that this kind of thing is quite unnecessary to begin with. Oh it's unnecessary, sure, but it's the one thing you will be guaranteed to find in most jobs.

What is it?

Marilyn Haight defines office politics in the following manner on her website:

Office politics is the use of one's individual or assigned power within an employing organization for the purpose of obtaining advantages beyond one's legitimate authority. Those advantages may include access to tangible assets, or intangible benefits such as status or pseudo-authority that influences the behavior of others. Both individuals and groups may engage in Office Politics.

I guess the other way of looking at this is, if you pay people to work, and their ability to make more money and enjoy greater power depends on their performance in comparison to the performance of their peers, then there are one of two options available to them: Take the high road and work hard so that they stand out as "stars" in the work place, or identify those who work hard and surreptitiously pull the rug out from under them while simultaneously currying favor with the boss. For example, a workplace full of smiles and laughter might lull you into a sense of false security, especially when people seem to go out of their way to congratulate you for a job well done, whether it was giving a powerful presentation, or fixing the paper jam in the printer. But, come appraisal time, and you can find yourself wondering why your feedback has points about improving your presentation skills overall, and how you could be of more help around the office by offering assistance to your colleagues. Huh? How did that happen? I'll tell you how it happened. You didn't put your ear to the ground to know that the moment you left the room, or just after you turned around.

I found a couple of websites that talk about the goings-on in the average workplace, and there was even an Office Politics game to boot! There were also these two articles titled 7 Habits to Win At Office Politics and Win at Office Politics that I thought were kind of interesting.
Now, truth be told, I had this post mostly ready some time last year, but I never got around to completing it. Ever since landing my current job here in Thiruvananthapuram, a couple of months later, I have found that a lot of this kind of thing happens in all areas of my life. I don't particularly like it, not like I've ever been a fan of it, but I seem to enjoy a slightly superior position when it comes to the general outlay and overview of the playing field. The main difference is that the other players seem to try that much harder to bring about the downfall of moi. It's a sad state of affairs, and I'm tempted to rename this post. But I won't. I'm just waiting to see how things will eventually end up, and then I'll add a comment to this post or something.

Sadly, I'm reminded of that line by Danny Glover's character from Lethal Weapon 4, Officer Murtaugh, I think it was: "I'm too old for this shit!" But I'm only 28. Damn! Talk about having to bear the brunt of a whole lot of bull, for absolutely nothing. What's up with that? I mean, it doesn't even provide a satisfactory answer to the question "What's in it for me?" There's nothing in it, except putting up with tantrums and laziness, and trying to get some decent work out of people who really couldn't care less. Boy I wish I was a tyrant. Iron-fistedness has an amazing amount of allure in situations like this. Oooh... All I want for Christmas is my own regime. Hahaha...

Must end this post here before I lose my mind...anymore than I already seem to have lost it...
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