Too Much Politics is Bad for the Soul

Machiavelli - office politics

Put people together and they will mess with one another. Sigh. Aren’t people great?

However if you’re forced to spend your daylight hours in an open plan office and there are games to be played, you want to be on the winning team. But what if you’ve lost before you walk in?

Academic research, at the Ministry of Stating the Bloody Obvious, states that dirty tricks reduce workers' motivation and cripples creativity. This is a key issue when it comes to ensuring that a team sinks or swims, mainly because in a toxic environment the good will leave and the deadwood will remain.

Do you play?

As someone who lived in a country where I didn’t speak the language, I’ve had some fortunate opportunities to avoid office politics.

However all too frequently the Peter Principle applies, but what’s worse is the overt nepotism or when a lack of willingness to take difficult decisions leaves corporates with a poisonous layer of management who float on the efforts of others.

Rise above it?

No-one would argue that trying to avoid a wave in the sea isn’t completely foolish.

However declaring yourself above office politicking essentially means you’ve already thrown in the towel. Rising above itself can be Machiavellian scheming and, weirdly enough, some people might even see you as a force for good.

But watch out, as more often than not it is the limited opportunity for promotion, pay, good leads and recognition that leaves people willing to knife others in the back.

So what should you do?

Societies have always had politics but then again we’ve always had bullshit phrases like “we’ve always done it this way” and “hire fast, fire fast”. The one thing I tell myself repeatedly is that work will definitely not be coming to my funeral; hell, we might even break up tomorrow.

Three solutions from Machiavelli (a true #thuglife original)


Have sly catch ups with the younger, cheaper members of the team. Juniorization is the only way to go in this corporate jungle. And this is especially true if it means you can buy your wife some useless trinkets to make her glad for your absence.


I know this isn’t really what you were hired for but the corporate matrix function is a fluid beast and you must be a killer or be killed. Or rather, we hired you but then had no idea what to do with you and we’re too cheap to get rid of you.


Do you remember that one time you did something that wasn’t great? I do. And I’ll make sure everyone else does.

Remember, there’s no I in team

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