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Stepped on by the Good Ole Boy’s and Hot Girl

Dear Office-Politics,

I am so appreciative of your website. It is helping save my sanity. I work for a union, in which a new administration was just elected.

My new boss has had an affair with my coworker and they are still “friends”. We are a small office of 7, in which 4 new staff members have come in through this election, (all friends) with no prior office experience.

The problem is the co-worker and new boss and staff are making life miserable for me. I am not part of the good old boys / “friends” club. We now have 5 Bosses and 2 drones (with only us two drones working.)

I am a very efficient Office Manager and have never had a problem with the two different regimes that I have worked for in the past — but I don’t know if I can deal with this new group. I have great benefits, pension, annuity etc, which I hate to walk away from after ten years of dedicated work.

Please advise. Thank you.

Stepped on by the Good Ole Boy’s and Hot Girl


dr. rick brandon
dr. marty seldman

Dear Stepped On,

Unfortunately the early signs you are seeing are indicating a difficult scenario going forward. While not everyone who has power abuses it, the temptations are strong because short term the consequences seem minimal.

While you have no reason to think that there will be ethical breaches due to this consolidation of power where you work, you should expect, based on what you are seeing so far, that they will take advantage of their position in several ways. These include getting other people (e.g. you) to do more than their fair share of work, taking undeserved credit for things that go well and blaming others for things that don’t. So brace yourself.

We paid keen attention to the many earned benefits you want to retain by staying. We respect that decision and that leaves a couple of options. One is to be patient because regimes change, people leave and they also make visible mistakes which get them in trouble.

Along with this approach, be very careful not to offend people in power, document your work and communications because you may need to prove certain communications, emails etc. that took place. If you go this route, try to build positive relationships and find ways to add value to help your supervisors reach their goals.

The other path is to fight them but this is risky. It would mean not revealing how you feel through body language or communication. Document anything that crosses the line or is not in the interests of the people you serve. Find out if there is a source of power above theirs, e.g. a board, elections, the press etc.

Also identify if you have any allies. We reiterate this is risky and given your concern for security you may want to pursue the first option even though it will not seem fair to you (and it isn’t). Thanks for writing to Office-Politics.

Good luck,

Rick Brandon, Ph.d. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. Co-authors,
Survival of the Savvy: High-Integrity Political Tactics for Career and Company Success

cover of Survival of the SavvyRick Brandon, Ph.d. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. are Co-authors, Survival of the Savvy: High-Integrity Political Tactics for Career and Company Success. Dr. Rick Brandon is CEO of Brandon Partners. He has consulted and trained tens of thousands at corporations worldwide, including Fortune 500 companies across a variety of industries. Dr. Marty Seldman is one of America’s most experienced executive coaches. His 35-year career includes expertise in executive coaching, group dynamics, cross-cultural studies, clinical psychology, and training.

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