I love my job, I practically adore my colleagues (maybe with one or two exceptions, of course… ^^), I can tolerate even the meanest bosses—but there’s one thing I really hate: office politics. Or, to be precise, I don’t get it.
Oh, I do understand why it happens, though. Some people are determined to climb the career ladder as quickly as possible, and I can appreciate that. Others care about the decisions made in the office, and want to be involved in the decision-making process. Again, this I can understand. Multiple work teams competing for a slice of a limited budget can also drive people into factions, I guess.
What I kind of don’t get is why some people can be so absorbed into the game of office politics, even if it turns out hindering work or straining relations.
Maybe it’s because my work is a bit on the technical side. I mean, one of the projects I often handle is editing the text for product catalogues; mainly I’m checking for typos and grammar mistakes, or adjusting the overall writing style. It is an important job, but stuff like the correct use of “your” vs. “you’re” is not exactly open to debate. And even more subjective things such as the writing style of a catalogue is usually determined by objective considerations such as consumer demographics, so any sort of debate wouldn’t be personal.
So, when the inevitable power struggle or conflict of interest pops up, I’m rarely dragged into the midst of it. And personally, I like it that way. I like to think of myself as a neutral, and that anybody and everybody can easily work with me, consult with me, assign projects or tasks to me, or simply chat with me. Sounds a bit naïve or oblivious? Well, they do say that ignorance is bliss…
And anyway, I always try to cultivate a good working relation with colleagues from all ‘factions’ and levels. I try to get involved with diverse work teams and projects, I help both juniors and bosses with things like editing résumés or formal e-mails. More importantly, though, I try not to avoid being negative—I try to rise above interpersonal conflicts, I don’t gossip (too much), I try to remain professional when somebody criticizes my work, and I don’t whine when things are rough. On the other hand, I also try to play it safe a bit, such as always assuming that whatever I say might eventually spread around the office.
Office politics are a fact of life, I guess. But me not wanting to get sucked into it, is also a fact of life… ^^