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What type of volunteer work would help a person learn how to deal with office politics?
Just about anything. Office Politics is just humans being human in a working environment. Any volunteer organization has the potential for people to get involved in conflict, self-serving behaviour and all kinds of manipulation. I've had a fair bit of experience in churches and know that they can often be places where actionalism and unethical actions are all too common.
In order to learn how to deal with office politics you need to learn how to deal with people in groups or in organizations. Any organization can give you that experience. If it is a healthy and well functioning organization you will have a good model for avoiding office politics. If it is dysfunctional you will learn how not to behave and how to cope with the down side of organizational life.
There is something to be learned about office politics from any volunteer organization, as there is from any commercial organization. I wouldn't recommend looking for one that is dysfunctional, but if you really want an organization where you can learn about office politics, let me paraphrase the opening lines of Anna Kareninina, "All funcitonal organizations are the same, all dysfunctional organizations are dysfunctional in their own way."
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