After watching a good friend diplomatically pushed out of his high flying executive level corporate job by new players I got to thinking about how heavy a burden this game of office politics is that we play. Not being part of a corporate hierarchy for some years now I have lost my taste for this game completely. To me, it compares similarly to the bored Aristocrats of pre-revolutionary France where wit and flattery will get you far and allying yourself with the right people is the only way to keep your accepted place in society.
How much bending do you need to do to match what others require? How far off your authentic self do you need to go to be acceptable? To keep your job? To gain respect?
My view is, very little, for the more you bend down the easier it is for them to knee you in the face as they pass and then flick their foot and catch you one in the balls for good measure.
What would happen if you gave up playing this power game? How about getting your own needs met as the highest priority?
I’m not talking about mega-stars demanding a certain type of mineral water in their dressing room. I’m talking about a measure of autonomy, a work/life balance, a matching of personal values to the corporations values, having your input valued, appreciation of your efforts and suitable compensation/recognition for those efforts.
If, instead of bowing and scraping in order to meet the demands of others, what if you stood tall and said “This is what I am, this is what I stand for, this is my passion in life and F*** the world if you disapprove.”
Those who were used to the old you would probably complain. But then, they weren’t ever going to celebrate the bendy version of you anyway. Anyone who can only be happy if others bend will never be pleased.
So what happens when you do the “F*** the world” speech? I believe you gain self respect. To stand up for what you believe in and to be who you really are, faults and all, grows your confidence and frees your mind. With self respect, you walk taller, strike boldly and don’t take sh** from anyone. (More swearing from me than usual, forgive me, I’m on a passionate streak today.)
With this boosted confidence, what happens? Those who are used to you bending tend to duck out of the way and all those remaining grow their respect for you. In fact, you become more attractive both personally and professionally.
Why is that?
Take a look around you at the people you consider the coolest, the most successful, the mavericks, the trail blazers, the ones with the X-Factor. The people you really respect. They have their passions. You know what they stand for. They may be different from others but are more than happy to do the rude finger to anyone who expects them to be anything other than themselves. And, they are sexy as hell because of it. People queue to work with them, to hear them speak, to just be in the same room with them.
How do you get to be one of these mavericks?
- Strive for your passions.
- Know what you stand for and live it every day.
- Practice what you preach – hypocrisy is inauthentic.
- Accept yourself with strengths and weaknesses. Don’t try to hide what you think others will disapprove of. They will always find it out.
- Stop fighting the world. Simply step sideways and invent a new world. You’ll find it makes life energising rather than exhausting.
If you’ve spent most of your working life bent double you may need to do this in stages. We don’t want you to be so dramatic that you immediately lose your job unless you are happy to do that. Each to their own on how they go about it. Some stand a little taller each day. Others are more committed. They stand right up, walk out and miraculously, their dream job is placed right in front of them ready to be collected.
The days of office politics must come to an end for the sake of your health and your sanity. Let’s find a new way to run the Corporate World. One that appreciates diversity rather than disapproving of anyone outside the box. We are all unique. We are not clones and each has something precious to offer if only we allow ourselves to do so.
What are you going to do differently tomorrow that no longer bends to the whim of others and is more the authentic you?
Work with Kitegirl to take your business or career to the next level. Enquire here.