I’m 22. I just graduated from university and took a leap from student life into professional life. It took me almost a month to figure out what I wanted to do with my life from here on out. Although I graduated with a decent GPA in a respected program with over a year of professional experience, I’m still pretty lost. With some decent amount of effort I was able to land two permanent jobs, hectic, I know. But you really can’t do anything if you are driven by an ambition. At this point when I was under the impression that I have ‘the purpose of life’ figured out, the reality of professional life found me unguarded. And in more casual terms ‘Shit Just Got Real’, multiply the idea of college politics, backbiting, leg-pulling by two fold and include an egoistic boss, that’s what I am up against.
When I look back on my university year I can’t help but feel like there were things I could have done differently, skills that I could have learned, instead of being a cynic a little optimism would have helped, instead of good grades, could have worked on my ‘people’ skills, so I compiled this (very subjective) list on how to tackle first impressions and office politics.
Disclaimer: This list is based solely on the personal experience of someone who is at home and on the internet at 1 am on a Wednesday. I’m also not wearing any pants.
As Plato wrote in 380 B.C., “The beginning is the most important part of the work.” It’s a truth that still stands today: How you begin a new job sets the tone for how the rest of your work days will go. If you make the right impression, you can achieve faster, stress less, and gain a general sense of respect from your brand new peers.
- Be Prepared.
Get ready to give a 30-second explainer of who you are and where you were before, as many new colleagues will likely ask about your previous place of employment, Taylor says. Be prepared to also describe what you’ll be doing in this new position, since there may be people who have a vague understanding of your role or simply want to strike up a conversation.
- Pick your side smartly.
Two of the more important factors in succeeding at a job are to not only get along with your coworkers, but also to associate with the right ones. In any sizeable work environment you will find cliques, and some mesh better with management than others. If you want to eventually move up in the ranks with your new employer, you’ll need to associate with the right crowd.
It’s also essential that you begin to determine the office politics on day one. Power is an interesting, quite important, and sometimes elusive thing in the work environment. Certainly it is vital to understand the articulated positional hierarchy in your organization — who answers to who. This should be as easy as reading your coworker’s titles. However, because power can manifest in so many different ways, it is imperative to understand who actually answers to who.
- Don’t try too hard.
The urge to impress can take you off-track, so remember that you’re already hired — you don’t have to wow your new colleagues. And I know it’s every new employee’s dream to hear that people noted how brilliant and personable they are, or how they seem to “get” the company so quickly. But that can be a lot of wasted energy; you’ll impress naturally — and more so once you understand the ropes.
- Don’t avoid playing Politics.
Especially if you care about being successful.
If you’re not good at playing politics, you’ll find yourself frustrated and angry because of how ineffective you are. Your good ideas don’t get listened to. Your good plans don’t get taken seriously. Your good intentions and hard work ethic never seem to get the attention they deserve.
So instead of being pushed around, here are a few ideas that can help you pump up your game:
It’s a job, in reality you don’t owe anyone anything, they actually owe you for the work you do for them, so when you see a problem, point the finger as long as you’re honest even if you’re at the receiving end.
If somebody else does something wrong and gets away with it, doesn’t mean you will too. Don’t satisfy yourself with such arguments.
If those around you don’t know what you’re doing, that means you’re not doing anything at all. Market your work.
A little bit of respect and humility goes a long way. Be courteous and make sure everybody owes you.
If things are not going as you wanted, you aren’t successful, you aren’t productive, don’t take your frustration out on your peers.
Even the smallest of things, argument, confusion, mistrust can become a huge obstacle. Solve them.
Get people to see things your way with personal conversations. Less meetings, more one to one communication.
How you say what you need to say is more important than what you actually say.
Similarly what is understood of you is more important than what you intended.
- Master the game
The truth about playing politics is that you don’t hate the game itself. You just don’t like it when the game is played poorly. You don’t like being lied to. You don’t like being talked down to. You don’t like not knowing where you stand.
So don’t be that person who does that to others around you. Get better at playing the game.
And you might end up in a similar situation : The Expert (Short Comedy Sketch)
And if you’re still in college and this article made no sense you might wanna read 8 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before I Started University