Office Politics

Since this is on the Under 30 CEO site, you may be an entrepreneur, or you’re working a full-time job but have visions of your own business on the side.  Since that side business isn’t making you any money right now, you are intelligent enough that you know you have to work an actual job while you build it up.

You are making sacrifices during the day, being a good employee and doing your job, but you have visions of what you could create after work and on weekends.  Instead of just getting wasted on Friday and Saturday nights, you work even harder at it, knowing this is the only chance you get to create what you want.  On Monday, you do your duty to the job, but the ideas and thoughts don’t go away.

During Monday through Friday though, you see a different type of world.

When you get into work, you see people saying, “How was your weekend?  Great, I did _____” as they get their coffee and start spinning the hamster wheel once again.  As the day goes on, you deal with what you’ve been dealing with all along, but have never spoken up about:  Office politics.

Politics are a funny thing.  It’s not about Democrats or Republicans, but the subtle power plays that occur every day.  Wherever you work, you can see it in play.  Managers are more in favor of certain people because they’re male or female, or a certain person kisses a certain ass.  Or people who have been at that company a long time have more clout, and are thought of as employees who can “do no wrong.”

To deal with the subtle bullshit that goes on with office politics, the best way to look at it is like a game of The Sims.

Pretend it’s a big game, and you’re controlling the character in the office.  When other employees try to throw you under the bus, don’t get emotional about it.  Look at it like you’re just moving your character around, and responding to the circumstances.  Be proactive when necessary, but not at the expense of others.

Robert Greene, author of the best-selling book 48 Laws of Power, is an expert on the topic of power.

How did he become an expert?  By living it.

He said that working in Hollywood, the only currency is power, and it was crazy the things people would do to gain or use it.  Over time, instead of getting angry or emotional about it, he just observed it all, and wrote a best-selling book about it.

From my perspective, even the idea of office politics is pathetic because it admits to being trapped into this little, small world of a group of people.  If someone is playing the political game hard, trying to look good for everybody so they can get their next promotion quicker, they’re subconsciously admitting they’re trapped into this world and can’t see the bigger picture.  Maybe they’ll get that promotion, but once they get it, they will just continue the political game, trying to grow their careers at the expense of others.

If you’re dealing with any office politics, it may not be easy, but look at it like you’re playing The Sims.  Getting emotional about it will do nothing, so take the high road and just start observing.  Who are the characters in this game?  What do they look like?  How are they acting?  What position do they want?  Looking at it in this perspective will help you look at it like a game, and recognize the hilarity of it all.