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Franke James is Editor/Founder of Office-Politics.com and Inventor of the Office-Politics® Game.
Peter R. Garber has worked as an HR professional for over 25 years and is the author of many business books including: Winning the Rat Race at Work and 100 Ways to Get on the Wrong Side of your Boss.
Dina Beach Lynch, is an Ombudsman, Author and former attorney. An award-winning mediator, Dina served as the Corporate Ombudsman for the 7th largest bank in the US helping over 48,000 employees to resolve workplace issues.
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.
Arnie Herz, is a lawyer, mediator, speaker, author and consultant nationally recognized for his practical and inspired approach to conflict resolution and client counseling.
Dr. John Burton LL.B. M.B.A. M.Div. Ph.D. is an ethicist, mediator, lawyer and theologian. John is currently located in Prince Rupert, B.C., Canada, working with Canada's aboriginal communities.
I work in the fashion industry and in my last three jobs I have been the victim of workplace politics. I have been on the receiving end of backstabbing, nepotism, and coworkers turning bosses against me...
I work in the fashion industry and in my last three jobs I have been the victim of workplace politics. I have been on the receiving end of backstabbing from people I considered friends, nepotism, and coworkers turning bosses against me before I've even had a chance to make a first impression. What makes it worse is that it has never been because of the quality of my work. At every job my boss has been very vocal about my work saying I'm doing a great job and trusting me with more responsibilities and creative control. Then, one day, that will suddenly change, they'll become cold and distant and start looking for excuses to fire me. Before I know it, I'll be gone. Sometimes I have suspected a backstabbing co-worker but it is so hard to find out what's really going on.
Every time I enter a new job I come in with an open mind, I don't prejudge
anyone and I act very professionally. I'm also not a doormat, I know
politics is a fact of life (especially in my industry), I stand up for
myself and I know how to fight for what I want. Even so, I seem to find
myself in this situation time and time again. Nobody I know has had this
happen to them on such a consistent basis, which makes me wonder what
is wrong with me that people find me a particularly good target for sabotage
and why my bosses are always so quick to take the bait, especially when
they loved my work so much before. I am confused and I feel helpless,
but I need to get help countering this, it's ruining my career.
Dear Persistently victimized,
You're doing the right thing by asking, "What am I doing wrong?"
You need to learn some survival skills on how to genuinely and effectively promote yourself to your Boss and your coworkers. You sound like you are very intelligent and have a lot on the ball. Plus some basic techniques, like have your ear to the ground for clues, and also be observant of other people's shifting agendas.
There are some terrific books out there that you can read to help you learn. I'd recommend Survival Of The Savvy: High-Integrity Political Tactics for Career and Company Success" by Dr. Rick Brandon and Dr. Marty Seldman.
I'd also recommend Lawrence Serven's The End of Office Politics as Usual: A Complete Strategy for Creating a More Productive and Profitable Organization.
And take heart. There's always self-employment. Fashion is a great, creative field that embraces unique and strong individuals.
Thanks for writing to Office-Politics.com.
Franke James, MFA
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