So… to stretch myself FAR outside of my comfort zone, I decided to write an article in the hopes of being published with Cracked Magazine. After learning that it takes FOREVER to so much as get a pitch reviewed by them, I’ve decided to forgo trying to publish with them [and earn the generous sum of $100 for my efforts] and post it here, for all to enjoy.
Please note – this is vulgar, profane, and absolutely out of my normal character. That being said, it was a BLAST to write. However, if you’re faint at heart, please exit the blog immediately and go snuggle a teddy bear. Wuss.
And now… ENJOY!
The Five Sure-Fire Ways to Win at Office Politics
- Give People Crap
There is something about an office environment that reduces sane, well-educated people into immoral scavengers who will steal the thumb tasks off of your desk like thieves in the night. So how do you resist stapling their faces to the notice board when your turkey sandwich is stolen out of the break room fridge for the third day in a row? Shower them in gifts. No, literally. Make it rain granola bars like a plague of happiness.
For most people, the college mentality of “if it’s free, it’s edible” never truly leaves. To quickly befriend the vultures of the office, which range from the pompous CFO down to the office janitor, bring in single-serving packages of chips, snack cakes, and candy in bulk proportions. These insignificant commodities are traded, hoarded, inhaled, and even used as a currency in some remote corners of the conference room. In a world of larceny and distrust, you will be regarded as the Saint of Prepackaged Generosity and they will construct an idol in your honor.
- Volunteer for Everything
In an office environment full of selfishness and ego, one of the quickest ways to make friends is to volunteer for the crappy shifts that no one else wants. Is your office going to be open and cold-calling people on Christmas day to sell them tinsel-wrapped plungers? Awesome! Be the first to sign up for the yuletide cheer.
By sacrificing your own happiness, you ensure the freedom of your colleagues from the hateful customers spewing half-drunken profanities through the telephone – a favor they won’t soon forget. So when you need to take a long lunch break to visit the Doctor about the “bumps down there,” your coworker will be the first one to cover for you with a clever story: the burritos from the office luncheon have you strapped to the commode in the men’s room on the third floor. That’s what true friends are for, after all.
- Haunt the Break Room
In the entertainment world, it’s all about whom you know, not what you know. Surprisingly, this same concept applies to the office. Ever notice how the biggest idiot is always the one to get the new Director title? That’s not a coincidence or a pity promotion – he’s rubbing elbows with the right people.
Rather than stalking the executives outside of their homes [my, he does have nice chandeliers in the parlor], make yourself visible in the office lounge/break room. When the Vice-President walks through to use the espresso machine exclusively available to him, compliment him on his tacky tie and let him know how much you appreciate the fact that overtime has been prohibited for the quarter. Who needs time and a half, anyhow? Not you! In fact, you’d love to schedule a meeting with him to discuss your idea about increasing the workweek to fifty hours and doing a shared cubicle system to save space.
It’s not brown-nosing if it comes from a good place. Who am I kidding? Of course it’s brown-nosing and it’s brilliant – so milk it for all it’s worth. Don’t use your measly fifteen-minute break to clear your head with a walk around the building, use it to make connections with the people you hope to violently replace when the sex-scandal breaks.
- Attend Company Events
The absolute worse thing you can do for your professional career is snub leadership by not attending work functions outside of the office. No one wants to see their morbidly obese boss in short-shorts at a company picnic, but sometimes you’ve got to take it like a man. And by “take it like a man,” I mean don’t get wasted and puke in the potato salad.
If your company makes the effort to show that they appreciate you, as cheesy or as horrific as it may be, you need to attend. Thank every member of management you see for his/her generosity as you choke down a stale cracker with Cheez-Wizz and make it as sincere as possible: your future growth with the company depends on it. This is their way of showing that you matter, even though you likely don’t.
And don’t you dare come empty handed to a potluck-style picnic. Coming empty handed or, worse yet, with a couple plastic bags full of warm, off-brand sodas, is a guaranteed way to make you look like a mooching cheapskate and a freeloader. So pay off your mom or your granny and bring a homemade contribution to the party. Make sure that whatever dish you bring is rock-solid; if any of the executive’s wives ask you for the recipe, you have the golden ticket into their good books, my friend. Added bonus? If you’re lucky, the CFO’s ridiculously hot wife might be wearing a tennis skirt.
- Obey the Dress Code
I don’t know why, but some people find a dress code to be a challenge. Exactly how far can I push the line before I either get sent home or fired? In an economy like ours, is this really a game you want to play on a daily basis? Granted, if you’re a gorgeous woman, you can probably bend the rules – a little cleavage here, a high-slit skirt there – but if you are a man, you better follow the dress code to the T.
No one, I repeat: NO ONE, wants to see a man’s chest hair, so button that damn shirt up and put that Windsor-knot into your tie. And if you are too lazy to iron your slacks, find a cheap dry cleaner service. Wrinkles don’t look good on your face, so why do you think they’ll look good on the khakis hiding your chicken legs? The old adage is to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. So unless your goal is to move into the janitorial department, step it up! Don’t let your wardrobe dictate your growth.
So there you have it. You are now empowered to climb that corporate ladder right to the top, punch the CEO in the face, and declare yourself the King of Capitalism. Wear that crown proudly, my friend, and don’t forget the little people you stole ideas – and office politic tips from – when you move into your mansion on the ocean.