Sunday reads: "Office politics is not optional: learn to play the game or you’ll be its victim" by the Financial Times.
There are two types of office politics, as explained in this video by Harvard Business Review.
👍 Positive office politics.
This happens when managers and employees engage in politics to enhance their reputation and build long-term partnerships. This way, they know who to ask when they need something, and vice versa.
In this context, a positive can-do attitude may be more important than actual competence. I would better describe this as "office life" rather than "office politics", as office work inherently requires teamwork and partnerships.
👎 Negative office politics.
This is typically what people think of when they mention office politics.
Negative office politics involve individuals who are solely interested in their personal gain, often disregarding the company, its vision, its people, and even their actual work. This is obviously not exclusive to offices, but it's common also in normal politics and life in general.
Both forms of office politics require hard work and lead to career advancement. However, while the first type can be learnt, the second is exclusive to certain individuals.
I'm definitely not part of the second group, but I do acknowledge that pursuing "negative politics" can lead to rapid career progression.
For people like me, there are two options:
We can either continue to complain and live in frustration, or accept that certain skills cannot be learned, because contradict our personal values and attitudes.
Like many things in life, we must accept reality and set rhetoric aside. Quoting a friend, "sure, it's possible to skip the queue, but are you really that kind of person? just stay in line and wait for your turn."