Fans of the TV show “The Office” – which ran on NBC from 2005-2013 – enjoyed many humorous moments with the employees of the mythical paper company Dunder Mifflin. We watched as the show – which was based on a British series of the same name – featured many “cringe comedy” moments that dealt mainly with the employee’s involvement in office politics. In real life, office politics are a minefield that is difficult to navigate and best avoided if possible. If not successfully avoided they can derail your career, complicate your personal life and damage your working relationships. As one of the top staffing firms in NYC, A List Associates wishes to give you the tools you need to make your career successful. With that goal in mind, we offer you the following advice regarding office politics.
Avoid office gossip: We all know that a salacious piece of gossip can sometimes seem irresistible but gossip is also an entry point into office politics. Gossip is destructive and can spiral out of hand quickly, complicating the personal lives of all involved and decreasing workplace moral and productivity.
Focus on your own work: Many office politics deal with who is or isn’t being promoted, how much work someone else is doing, etc. Avoid spending time thinking about what someone else is doing at work and focus on your own projects.
Keep away from gossipers: Often gossip originates from specific individuals in a workplace. Choose carefully who you interact with at work.
Focus on your long term goals: Everyone at times feels that they have been slighted at work or life general. Instead of taking every disagreement with a knee-jerk reaction, think about what the consequences of your actions may be. Think about how conflict may disrupt your long term goal of maintaining and improving your career.
Find positive role models: People who have been in their workplace for a long time and seem to get alone with most co-workers tend to be the same people who have managed to avoid office politics. Find a well respected worker there and pattern your behaviors after that person.
Yes, office politics can be amusing watched from a distance on our favorite TV shows but in real life this is not the case. Becoming involved in this difficult area can be a career stopper and can disrupt morale quickly. In general, avoid actions and individuals that can lead you away from your long term goal of making yourself a valuable asset in the workplace.