In 35 years of active participation, research, and writing about organizational politics I’ve never had a client state that he or she “didn’t see it coming” whether it was a firing, open warfare, the company’s demise or a boss’s implosion. What the person did was …. nothing. How did that happen?
Someone who won’t wear uncomfortable shoes or a too-tight belt will endure and ignore unbelievable political pain at work. For example, the boss has been drunk every afternoon for three months and people are still pretending he’s just “tired.” This is plausible considering how heavy those martini glasses are. It’s nonsense.
Here’s the history of bad office politics: People pretend nothing is happening. All those closed-door meetings, serial staggering to the restroom, worried looking accountants (always a terrible sign) are the new normal. They’re not. They are the beginning of some unpleasant end.
Here’s what should happen. The minute you feel pain do not ignore it or attempt to wish it away. You have options now that you won’t have at the end of the day, much less month. Misery is a warning, not an outcome. If you’re feeling disturbed you have to identify the source of your discomfort. A boss who’s out of control is likely to something that will have consequences for you personally! Stop pretending nothing is happening and consider your options. Can you let HR know? It’s worth a shot. If others have done so it’s time to revise your resume. Oh, you revise it every six months? You are too smart and won’t be a victim. You also network with others in your field once a month? You’re a genius and unlikely to endure a long period of unemployment.
Here’s the hard sell from my perspective: Every day that you ignore a coming crisis cuts into your options. It’s better to have three months’ notice than a week. The trumbels are coming. Madame LaFarge is arriving! It’s your last shot as avoiding victimhood. One in 100 people take this advice. Most sit like hedgehogs on the highway hoping for a desirable outcome.
The tail on this tale: Disaster takes much less time now than it has in the past. A company can be liquidated faster than ever before. Shouldn’t that mean the employees are more self protective than ever? Most of these scenarios are so dire management doesn’t even attempt to reassure the employees — and still the employee believe.
Invite Marilyn to Speak to Your Group
Marilyn can help you and your team master office politics quickly! Why be victims? Contact Marilyn Moats Kennedy today to arrange a speaking date for your organization or group.