How to play the corporate politics: 10 things you should know

As I have mentioned before, on November 2008 I lost my job. It was tough, really tough, but somehow I was extremely lucky and on December 9, 2008 I got another one. In full recession to get a job it’s a matter of divine intervention I think; a friend of mine sent me a link to craigslist… believe it or not- and I had no idea either- jobs are advertised on craigslist. So, at the bottom of the listing it was one that looked interesting and I sent my resume although the first impulse was not to do it.
The only downside is the long commute, but again, I am very much grateful for getting it and I don’t want to complain about anything. Anything other than being constantly tired, wanting to go to bed at nine and being constantly stressed over missing the bus, or the train… just kidding.

Now it’s the moment to resurrect a post from another blog I have and totally neglected it. Because I need it as a reminder to do what I have preached.

The post was originally written on January 2008. Here are the things you should know if you are to play corporate politics. And how many people have the luxury of not being forced to do it?

‘I wish I would have all the answers. So far I made a few mistakes and you would think that I have learned something, or have I?
I am on my second corporate job and slowly I am learning my way around.
On my first job I was Quality Manager for seven years. Everything went down the drain with the arrival of a new plant manager with whom I could not get along.
I am a pretty good-natured person, liked by most people, but somehow I could not find a common ground with this guy.
According to some books, I have been emotionally harassed. He was a bully and I was way too sensitive to cope with his behavior.
Or maybe I have been just unprepared to deal with a bully.
I am not detached enough even now, after two years since my leaving that company, to talk emotionless about what happened. It was bad. The decision to leave came after I got my first panic attack, when I was convinced I had a real heart attack and that I am going to die leaving my husband and my toddler alone.
The panic attacked was followed by a horrible depression. Finally I left.
My current job:Research and Development Engineer.
I was happy with the change, until I came across corporate politics.
I am not a young chick, I should have known better than that, but I am still caught by surprise when I find out that my colleagues are back-stabbers.

You are going to read lots of advice in the papers, but you know what? Most of them are so far from reality and so far from what you can actually do when you are facing the prospect of losing your job that it’s not even worth mentioning.

How to play the corporate politics?
Here are my suggestions:
1. Keep your ears open and pay attention to the little things happening around you
2. No matter how friendly your colleagues seem to be, keep your guard up because in today’s dog eat dog world there is no free lunch
3. Be careful what you say; gossip is good when you have to get information, but try to keep your mouth shut on sensitive issues
4. Keep vital information to yourself until the right moment comes to use it. Maybe it does not sound right, but you know what? Everybody else is doing it so it would be stupid not to follow the trend
5. Restrain to criticize or make fun of senior managers in open meetings; they won’t forget it and most of them don’t have a sense of humor
6. Back up your activities with everything you can: paper, emails, whatever could be used when you have to prove your point or defend yourself
7. Keep in mind that you are replaceable!!!! Don’t get too comfortable to the extent of letting your guard down
8. Trust your gut feelings while dealing with people
9. When you have a bully around you, don’t piss him off proving him that he is a mean maggot, because he is going to morph into a man with a mission: to destroy you. You can’t punch his nose, you can not have a rational conversation, so all you have to do it to try to keep calm and think that his life is a miserable one (in most cases) and that at the end of the day you are going back home, to your family who loves you, and he is going back to an empty house with nobody to ask him how was his day
10. Always keep in mind that people have their own agenda and if you are smarter than most of them you are in greater danger of being back stabbed because you are going to be perceived as a potential threat to their position

Final thought: Good Luck to all of us fighting to keep our jobs in a cold corporate world’

I am not research engineer anymore; I am technical assistant to the VP of the company.

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