What game you do not join, you do not have to play.

What game am I talking about? The game of politics – office politics, workplace politics, organizational politics, online politics – I call it high school.

Nothing much has changed since the cliques of high school – although today’s clique categories are a bit different, they still include what you recall from your high school days, just with different labels.

In high school, cliques are part of social development.

In the office, your job and your reputation can be at stake.

You have a choice in playing or not playing the online game, where someone or many someones take apart what you may have ‘said’, either in a comment, post or article. It amazes me how many people have comebacks yet you do not know them. If you do not know them you may not respect them, yet they come after you.

My solution? Exit gracefully. A better solution? Don’t play. Keep your online presence limited to kind, thoughtful  responses. Why spend your precious time arguing or defending yourself from people you do not know, who may not know you, who cannot hire you, yet criticize you. These people have a need to be ‘right’.

Let them be right

All workplaces are political because we are human beings who bring all our baggage, good and bad, into the workplace.

What does one do if you are either new to the game of large offices or still working in that environment?

Set boundaries.

First, start by staying out of it.

Be nice, at all times; be as nice as possible. Be fair to all you speak to. When someone attempts to engage you in a Gossip Round, simple, non-committal replies are best.

Use lots of ‘Ohs?’ and ‘Ahs’!  and ‘Un huhs’. Really – no one will care, and they will move onto the next person who will agree or disagree, therefore getting snagged into a revolt, big or small.

Don’t gossip about anyone in your office or company or especially online. It may hurt you on the way up the financial and business ladder and send you spinning down quickly.

The best players have the same respect for the receptionists as they have for the CEO, VPs and other C Suite categories. You never know who’s watching or listening or who is anxious to pass on your words to someone else. Don’t let anything you say bite you in the butt.

Establish your office and online ‘line in the sand’ and do not engage anyone who wants to play the game of gossip, bullying by any other not-so-nice means.

Be yourself at all times and enjoy yourself as much as possible while you contribute your skills – the ones they pay you for – to your company and client.

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Joanne Victoria