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The Office Crab Criticizes Everyone!

Photo illustration by Franke James using assorted licensed photos: crab ©iStockphoto.com/ Nicholas Homrich, fisheye women by Sharon Dominick ©iStockphoto.com. backstabber by williv ©iStockphoto.com

Dear Office-Politics,

I am writing on behalf of a group of diverse and hardworking coworkers among whom morale is at an all time low. Our often bumbling managers have a history of granting knee jerk behind the doors promotions, creating new positions without posting them and making surprise staffing changes. Some of us have had four different supervisors in five months. After a recent escalation of this behavior the office crab complained that these job changes were never posted. Alas, when a management job opened up, this time upper management briefly posted the job but quickly gave it to the complainer.

The office crab is a highly opinionated snob who glowers and sulks and spies, tells tales and criticizes everyone in writing to upper management. She glowers, e-mailing unsolicited and scathing critiques to peers about their conduct and work product. This individual who is highly disliked has a pattern of making herself superior by contrasting herself to the rest of us. More…

Tactics to compete with difficult coworker?

Dear OP text illustration collage by Franke James, MFA.; woman's head  ©istockphoto.com/Sharon Dominick; Whup ass can  ©istockphoto.com/Lagrace

Dear Office-Politics,

I am writing on behalf of a close friend, “Jane,” who has asked me to help her find tactics to compete with a difficult coworker.

Jane has been in her current job a bit over two years. For the first year, she felt valued and generally satisfied with her position. Then another woman, “Laura,” joined Jane’s department. Jane’s work life has been deteriorating ever since.

Laura is something of an overachiever and, by what I hear from Jane (I do not work with them), a consummate politicker. Laura has ingratiated herself to their mutual superior, is chummy with many of their colleagues and appears helpful to and liked by all — except Jane.

I thought I had an OK work relationship but

Text by Franke James; Goat ©istockphoto.com/Eric Isselée

Dear Office Politics,

I have worked in a high-stress but free-wheeling media office for more than 20 years, and am good at my job, have OK people skills and am generally respected. I received a promotion about a year ago. However, since moving into a particular department (mostly other women) about 10 years ago, I’ve apparently stepped on a few toes because I don’t quite fit in with the group and have, on a couple of occasions, voiced my opinions on ethical issues that have cropped up. As a result, a couple of co-workers are cool to me, rarely speak to me and exclude me from non-work conversations. A couple more who are close to those two are also quite cool. The rest are neutral (or so I thought).

Got a “Promotion” but Title is Ambiguous

Victory Rose illustration by Franke James

Dear Office Politics, My dilemma sounds like a unique twist on a common issue. I have been with my current employer for two years and a couple of months ago my VP recognized my hard work and dedication by giving me a “promotion” with a significant salary adjustment.
I was moved to a Senior level of my existing title but was told that HR did not want to create this new “Senior” title in the HR system. I was also told I should go ahead and get business cards with the new title. My VP has not mentioned this promotion to anyone on our team but the VP’s boss has introduced me with the “Senior” title to others in the company. I suspect the VP does not want to be questioned by my peers as to why they were not offered this type of promotion.

Swamped! (While Coworker Does Nothing)

illustration by Billiam James ©verbotomy.com

Dear Office Politics,

Please can someone help me sort a work situation out?

For the past year I have been covering two full time roles, my own and that of a colleague on maternity leave. This has involved a huge amount of extra hours and unbelievable pressure. To make matters worse, I have now been told that the colleague will not be returning to work and that I will be expected to cover the two roles on a permanent basis.

My boss has agreed that I have been swamped with work and promises to arrange help but it never materializes due to lack of funds. During this time I have sat opposite a co-worker who has a very low workload (she actually boasts that she has nothing to do) and so spends a chunk of every day either surfing the internet, talking or texting. It has driven me to despair and and even though other colleagues have constantly asked how she gets away with this behavior, they do not complain to our boss. My problem is that I resent her attitude so much the only way I can cope is to completely ignore her, I just want to block her out. Another colleague has now told me that she plans to complain to my boss that I blank her, etc. etc. I know this makes me sound awful but it really is the only way I have been able to deal, or not, with her.

Why did General McChrystal Wound the King?

mind map of McChrystal wounding the king by Franke James, MFA.;

Office-Politics #101: What NOT to Do to Get Ahead at Work

#1. Do NOT wound the King, unless you’re going to kill him.
#2. Do NOT badmouth. It feels good but….
#3. Do NOT sacrifice your values. Take the emergency exit.
#4. Do NOT be afraid to say you’re sorry. Groveling may help you keep your job.
#5. Do NOT feel sorry for yourself. Nobody likes whiners.
#6. Do NOT accept interviews with Rolling Stone Magazine.
#7. Do NOT underestimate your adversary.

I don’t understand this obsession to know what everyone is doing, or to tell everyone what I’m doing

Verbotomy illustration by Billiam James

Dear Office Politics,

Your site is a great help in navigating today’s workplace! I’ve read about how you need to develop an online presence because employers will search your name to see what comes up. I’m a very private person and I’m at a loss about how to do this. I was raised to believe that your personal life was just that: personal. I don’t have a Facebook page and I don’t “tweet” whatever that is! I don’t understand this obsession to know what everyone is doing, or to tell everyone what I’m doing. Is there hope for someone like me who likes her privacy?

I have a website portfolio that I started, but it is listed under my last name and doesn’t come up in a random search. Is it enough to direct people to my homepage so they can see what I’ve done?
Thank you,
Private Patty