Bully at Work Moody Boss Karma Office Gossip No Picnic Back stabber Plug your Ears Moody Boss

I am still quite terrified I will not fit in

Licensed illustration istockphotos Mister M, colorized by Franke James

Dear Office-Politics,

I’m a recent college graduate and have never really been very good at playing the office politics game. Sadly, I have already had two positions in the past year and the problems I ran across at both companies were politically-related. I don’t care about being the popular person, the department poster child, or the biggest and brightest (though I’m sure that will come eventually).

Right now, I’m just trying to learn how to apply my college education, get along with people, and grow into a position where I can become the biggest and brightest. I am very frustrated though as I have been very much underestimated in my past positions in the form of not being given anything to grow with, but when I’m not given those things, coworkers tend to develop the perception that I am not capable of the job because I’m not working on it. Even when I did ask for tasks or projects to be on, I was told there’s nothing for me (though there’s sure a lot for everyone else!). So, I can’t get the knowledge without the work, but can’t get the work without the knowledge. The past companies have dealt with proprietary software, so there were no Internet resources to reach out to and documentation (if there was any) was very outdated. I was let go as my frustration manifested itself in the form of open boredom.

I now have a new position I’m starting in a couple of weeks that I’m actually very excited about. More…

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Create a Circle of Eyes to Fight Back

When Ellen Roseman, author and consumer-advocate columnist for The Toronto Star, invited me to contribute to her new book, Fight Back, I was delighted. As you’ll read in my excerpted article below, Ellen was an instrumental pair of “eyes” in helping me fight back — and win!

FightBack_cover_200I WAS FIGHTING A COMPANY over the faulty installation of a gas furnace and ductwork, which had caused major structural damage to our home. I wanted them to pay for repairs. The company had deep pockets and no fear of going to court. Its lawyer said in a surly email, “Go ahead. Sue us.”

Going to court could have amounted to financial suicide for our family, or at the very least, hardship. There was no way I wanted to fight this battle in court, or even in an arbitration hearing… Read more…

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The New Guy I Hired is Hated…

Text illustration by Franke James; cactus ©istockphoto.com/Marcin Rychly

Dear Office Politics,

I recently received a promotion and hired my replacement; however, everyone who now reports to him hates him. He is a very talented manager of work, but lacks charisma and needs to improve on his people skills. We have lost a couple of good people due to his arrival, and a lot of other changes within the organization. I am working hard to help this manager develop but when do I give up for the sake of the team?

Please help.

Manager

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Leadership Lessons from Katrina for Hurricane Sandy Survivors

Hurricane Sandy, 30/10/12: Flooded Avenue C at East 6th Street in Manhattan's East Village; Photo David Shankbone Three Leadership Lessons from Katrina to Help Hurricane Sandy Survivors By Office-Politics Adviser, Dr. Greg Ketchum Like everyone else I’ve been watching the news coverage of Hurricane Sandy. As I’ve watched the images of devastation I’ve found myself experiencing vivid flashbacks of my time being trapped in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. The chief emotions these images have evoked in me are anger, frustration, and even rage at the massive failures of leadership that happened during Katrina. Some of the suffering I experienced during Katrina could have been avoided had I done one simple thing; taken on responsibility and leadership to get myself out of New Orleans instead of depending on authority figures to do it for me. I waited for governments, disaster relief agencies, and the national guard to arrive like the cavalry riding over ...

Millennial eye rollers are grumbling

Dear Office-Politics,

I have been asked to manage a few coworkers on an ongoing reporting project that is fairly low scale in the priority of our division. These coworkers are younger, newer, and still learning the ropes, and I’ve been at this company for seven years.

Part of the problem is our work environment, which is generally tightly controlled and can be discouraging, and these newbies complain regularly about being micromanaged by our boss. I want to be flexible and encourage them to enjoy the project. When I suggest they take on a task they showed some interest in, or just encourage them to (gasp) actually participate in the project, I have gotten no reply, or some eye rolling, and/or have overheard conversations about moi like “he should have just assigned blah blah to do blah blah.” I have tried to delegate a la “Ok, Suzy, why don’t you tackle the blabbity blah?” and get … the same response. I give them deadlines and guidelines to keep them aware of what we need to do and how.

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Gossip gone wild: why being a gossip limits your career

original illustration by Billiam James © verbotomy.com

“I made a comment about a coworker that I know I shouldn’t have and now I think it’s going to bite me in the butt. I noticed that one of my coworkers leaves for lunch everyday and then comes back and eats his lunch at his desk… How should I play this?”

Office-Politics Founder Franke James responds

Dear Hot Water,

Your last line “How should I play this?” is where I’m going to start. I sense from your question, that you see office politics as a game – and that you’d like to be able to play it to your advantage. So that’s where I’ll focus my advice. Not surprisingly (given that I’m the creator of the game-book, Dear Office-Politics) I like to view office politics as a game. And just like all games, this one has rules (mostly unwritten), strategies, power plays, opposing teams, a scoreboard, and ultimately winners and losers.

But as in sports, you don’t need to play dirty to win. You can choose to play fairly. I believe that political skills are an essential life skill that can help you influence people, make change happen, sell your good ideas, and move into a position of power so you can do the right thing.

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CNN Publishes OfficePolitics.com Quiz!

What a thrill! CNN.com asked Franke James, OfficePolitics.com founder, author and game designer, to create a quiz for their Global Office show. See screen shot and more details below…

The 10 quiz questions include how to handle the office “pet”; what to do if you’ve sent a scathing rant about your Boss to your coworkers; a new manager who rubs people the wrong way; whether you can avoid office politics by keeping your head down and just working; a coworker who is always hogging information and deliberately leaving you off emails; the coworker who steals your “big idea”; and the office gossip who talks about everyone behind their backs.

The answers are condensed from replies written by the Office-Politics Advisers…

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