Office politics – Learn to live with it!

Politics at work place is not uncommon. Be it Microsoft or a small coffee shop around the corner, office politics will always be an integral part of your daily work- life. For a fresher, office politics may come as a surprise villain crushing him/her down. Like an alien in a sci-fi movie destroying the world with all its might and we humans run helter-skelter not knowing how to attack them back; until the hero steps in and finds a way out!

Office politics is just that, it is invincible. In real life there won’t be any hero to root this evil out because it’s simply not possible. Okay, if you are wondering “why not?!” here, let me explain.

We all are different, our personalities, our characters, our traits, our tastes, our habits, our likes and dislikes everything differs from one another. At home, we grow up seeing these differences and get used to it. The different traits of your mom, dad, brother, sister become normal as we grow up with it.

Once in a restaurant I overheard this lady saying “Oh, please don’t mind, he is being cranky the whole day” pointing to her little boy. In this case the mother knows her son’s attitude and she is okay with it.

But in an office we have no idea on what’s going on in each of our colleague’s minds. They might be going through emotional distress or rough patches or they might have had just as bad day as anyone else. Therefore, the way they react to simple things might be so abnormal or obnoxious. Some can be harsh or get angry just by seeing you. Some like to pick up fights for nothing and there are those that are short tempered. Few of them think they know everything and few others might bossy.

It is these differences that lead to office politics. If you have noticed, there will be numerous teams within an organization. Members are like-minded. You will get an entry pass only if you are the bird of the same feathers. Believe it or not you subconsciously will hold membership to one of the teams. Teams compete. You will have rivals and so starts dirty politics.

I was a victim of office politics once. I remember that day being so terrible I wished to run away into some deep forest. I was torn apart and did not want to see anyone. I hated everybody! Well, deep forest is one thing. That’s how I felt that day. However, I had to finish off the day at work and move on to the company accommodation. While sitting under the tree in the housing-compound brooding about my bad day I couldn’t help but notice one of our house maids sobbing just behind the kitchen. I walked towards her and asked her what went wrong. As if my day was any better! She finally gathered courage and told me about her evil supervisor and the way she was treated at work. Few of her colleagues that didn’t like her were best friends with the supervisor. I burst out laughing spontaneously. I could see her perplexed face through my tears. I controlled my laughter and apologized for my reaction. I found comfort as I wasn’t alone traveling that path. I explained how bad my day had been so far and that it is common and that’s the way it is; whether we like it or not. Eventually we both continued in our respective jobs. Few months back though she quit and found another job elsewhere. Life goes on…

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15 thoughts on “Office politics – Learn to live with it!

  1. This is so timely… since the last two years, my wife has been wearing the pants in this house.. she works in a software company now and I sit at home.. Last week, my daughter was very ill. My wife has not worked in many years, and now since last year she has been working.. and is quite surprised to see the change in work ethics and the morality of youngsters these days. So she was quite the tough task-master. Since she did not go to work for four days, things had changed by the time she went back. Now she is in tears… she knows exactly what has happened and who has been “over-ambitious” and scheming etc. But there is no way she could do anything about it. So I told her, go with your gut instincts. Get your team together and ask them bluntly.. confront them, but nicely.. and in the end, tell them you don’t care at all as long as the work gets done and that you are not there to build relationships meaninglessly, but to be friendly as long as they work properly. She is devastated, but I know her well. She is honest and straightforward. So fireworks tomorrow, somehow 🙂 I am rubbing my useless hands in glee hahaha..

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    • I feel sorry for your wife and plenty others that has been through or going through this tough time. If you are on the receiving end all your gut and confidence might be shattered!… In your case i would ask you to be nice with your wife if you see her attitude changing. Be supportive and encouraging. It ‘s you that need to be strong. Be the best husband!

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      • Ah yes.. but sometimes, when you have a strong personality brooding, it is not quite wise to give advice until it is asked for. So I waited.. then she did ask.. and I told her.. she wanted to sit it out and wait it out.. and I know that it is just not in her bones to do that.. so I said, what would you do instinctively (knowing the answer) and she said she would lash out.. So do both then, I said. Just wait out one more day, if their attitude and their work looks the same, suddenly call a meeting, ask them point-blank.. but nicely, no need to shout.. no need to lose your temper or cry.. don’t ever show them that weakness.. but sit and ask them directly. But, in the end, even if they do not answer, you have let them know that you know. And the person who started it all will be left stranded.

        You know, bhai, I really hate this kind of business. I quit the corporate world a long time ago, but I detested it then and do so now. It is cowardly, this sort of business, this whisper-campaign and this kind of backstabbing.
        When I was in it, I would laugh at them.. and tell them bluntly, play your games, I don’t play them and I just don’t bother.. do your worst.. and somehow I got away with it each time. But my wife is a little more sensitive and she is shocked that some of the people who were close to her whispering with other people and avoiding looking her in the eye.
        You know, there is honesty and then there is this pretentiousness. I am lucky that I have a wife who is honest.. painfully honest, let me admit. She does not even spare me. That is a gift. I told her, do your work, never bother about these people. Just do your work. I think that should work for her 🙂

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      • She bluntly told me, she is not ambitious, so spare me the pep talk hahahaha…
        She is only working because I am not.. she would love to cook, maybe even run a restaurant some day.. that is where her heart lies.. and she would jump at the chance to do that.. even if it is just a small canteen and she earns a fraction of what she does now..
        Like I said, there is no telling some people.. haha.. she has to decide for herself.. of course, I am crafty enough to make it sound like her own ideas, but she comes up with them (sometimes.. hehe)….

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      • I am in Mangalore 🙂 .. well, not even in Mangalore.. it is a place called Uchil.. close to the Kerala border.. and I suspect you might even have relatives in the vicinity 🙂

        We did try… some catering nonsense.. but in this wilderness it was a doomed venture.. and my socialist thinking ruined it, she complains.. because I would adamantly keep the prices low.. and not allow her to break even until she had had a market haha.. she still blames me for it, for not doing enough..

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      • Yes.. I have a distant relative there i believe. If a business has more than one owner you must adopt the sleeping partner and the active partner strategy. In your case you are definitely the sleeping partner! 🙂

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  2. Oh dear? you mean pretentious, hollow, showy? Oh dear..
    Nope, I detest Bangalore.. always did.. their stupid culture and their nonsense about being hep. Complete rubbish!!
    You of all people, I thought, would hate it as much as I did. There is nothing redeeming about Bangalore.. sin city in its original form.. just don’t like it … sorry, if that hurts you or offends you..

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