Office Politics

Don't know about you my dear reader, but I am not a fan. I am not a fan of this whole idea of bad-mouthing, blocking or otherwise preventing one another from progress. I just don't get it! The most amazing things I heard are down right insulting and others are just sad. Luckily, everyone is involved in this. From a paralegal to a partner. One cannot opt out. So what can be done? I cannot promise I have any substantial or comprehensive answer but there is a strategy that can be adopted.
Chose your friends wisely and say nothing to anyone about anybody. Absolutely golden rule.

But what if it is not enough because the person supposedly in charge of you is really insecure?
This is an interesting one and I can only hope happens rarely, lucky me happened to me twice. The first situation, I did not initially understand what was going on. I accepted with gratitude and humbleness all of the BS that was coming my way. I only realised the problem after I read this amazing article on LinkedIn which I can no longer locate... The upshot is this, my (former) manager wasn't really qualified to do the job s/he was doing, what allowed him/her to be in the litigation role was a substantial amount of years of experience. What is fascinating is that this person was threatened by the little me with a LL.B! I was overqualified for the job I was doing and voicing my ambitions wasn't considered as being transparent and honest, but rather as being out of line. This person was actually threatened of other ambitious people like me (with or without an LL.B) who saw the world of opportunity beyond the company. Interestingly, these people would be fired for various reasons or otherwise "pushed out". "Pushed out" refers to a situation where an individual quit themselves, because they couldn't take managerial-bullying. The only people this manager liked were employees with no other ambitions, fully committed to spending 20 years (or the rest of their lives) in the same company or 17 year old apprentices who didn't yet develop any ambitions other than working for this company.

The second situation is even better! There is sooooooo much stupid and pointless talking behind people's backs that it is fun to sit back and watch it all unravel, almost on weekly basis. Ah the plot twists and changes to what was or wasn't said... I really felt like I went back in time and was placed in year 8 or 9 in High School. It is unbelievable that people who are allegedly adults in their 30ies or 40ies can be this difficult. Do you know where this comes from? Utter boredom. Either in their private or professional lives. Now of course there is a manager to mention here, his/her career wasn't very spectacular to date. S/he got a job in an institution and holds on to it like there is no tomorrow. That is all good! What isn't good, is that she blocks other people from progression as s/he pleases. Her kiss-ass friends are placed safely, her not-so-kiss ass employees are at the very bottom of pecking order. There was the little me... I did not do anything wrong to this person, I was completely civil said good morning and afternoon and smiled with my all 32 teeth. In a normal courtesy like way. This did not work because s/he got offended the moment I mentioned there are other things I would like to do in addition to my current role i.e.: this terrible thing called ambition and willingness to learn. It was a big problem. It was also time for me to go.

So what is the best thing to do?  I say run away... That's what I did. I didn't like either of the above environments and I moved on to my next thing. There was no point for me to "confront" either of these former managers before leaving. What is there to say: "I want a life which you don't have because you decided to settle for a job 20 years ago and not progressed since..."? I could have had this conversation but I am rather sceptical as to what exactly this would achieve. Ultimately, this is my career, my time, I never really knew how to navigate this office BS and I strongly believe there are better things to come. Always!


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