Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

Office Politics: Staying Friendly in the Office

Do you work in a small office? Have a cube? Do you hear a lot of white noise during the day? Is the corporate culture different than what you thought? We’ve all been there. Unless you are a shut-in, or have your own island office, you’re likely to hear some unwanted chatter not meant for your ears. Even Pindar in Franklin & Bash hears the office scoop— and he telecommutes. With all the gossip occurring around you, being considerate of your coworkers while navigating the waters of office politics can be a tricky ride. We’re here to help with some suggestions for minding your p’s and q’s at work.

Start off by establishing boundaries for yourself. Let your coworkers know what you’re comfortable discussing with subtle hints. If a conversation becomes uncomfortable, politely excuse yourself to the bathroom or to grab a drink. Don’t get caught up in office politics; if conversations progress, don’t fret. It may be that your coworkers haven’t noticed you’re move to leave. Often people are too wrapped up with their own conversations to notice others behaviors.

Sometimes though, you just can’t escape a conversation— especially those that aren’t directed toward you. Suddenly inserting your headphone buds may be a sign to your coworkers that you find their conversation or decibel unappealing, or may signal that you’d rather be shut off from people. Trust me, I love my headphones and “House of the Rising Sun” Pandora playlist, but in the game of office politics, keeping yourself open and accessible is key to having a good rapport. If your coworkers are discussing something personal, give them space. It might be a good time to ask someone else in the office if they want to grab lunch or a coffee.

Office politics are tough and they change from office to office depending on the corporate culture. What is acceptable at one office may not be so at another. That is why asking about corporate culture in the interview process is so important. Feel out the office environment and what kind of corporate culture they have. Is it a laid-back environment or a fast-paced office? Do they all participate in outside events together, or keep their work life separate?

Wherever you work, it is important to be comfortable and happy with your work environment and the corporate culture. Getting caught up in tricky office politics may cause more stress than the job itself. If I’ve learned one thing it’s that liking who you work with is just as important as liking what you do. Check back with Spark Hire soon to take a look at what questions you can ask in an interview to test out corporate culture.

Have you gotten caught up in office politics before? How did you solve the issue? Let us know about it in the comments section below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Kai Hendry

Jen Schiller

Jen works as a Marketing Project Manager for a restaurant, a kitchen assistant for cooking classes, helps with database management, does some freelance writing, and more. She received her B.A. from the University of Maryland in Government & Politics in 2011. Currently, she resides in the Washington, D.C. area and is an avid sports fan.