Are You Above Office Politics?
‘JT & Dale Talk Jobs’ is the largest nationally syndicated career advice column in the country and can be found at JTandDale.com. J.T.: Occasionally we get a response to one of our columns that's so good we want to share it. The latest one was a comment on our suggestions to someone who'd been passed over for promotion. Gary: After several promotions based on tenure, I "hit the wall." I tried three times to get a higher-level position, and watched in dismay as younger, less-experienced employees were awarded the position I sought. My boss then connected me with another executive to work on my interview skills. As it turned out, the company was less interested in what I knew than in how I approached their questions. I learned interviewers want to hear the company jargon. So I studied the leadership links on our company website and wove those things into my answers to the interviewers. Guess what? I got the job! I was the same employee who had tried three previous times, but now I was telling them what they wanted to hear. Dale: Thanks, Gary. I know there are people reading your remarks and getting huffy about "company politics." One of the dumbest things I hear smart people say is, "I do good work, and that should be enough — I refuse to play politics." Corporate politics is merely the art of getting things done by communicating with people in the most effective way, and that means using language that they understand and respond to. If you declare yourself to be "above office politics," then you have declared you don't really care about being effective and don't deserve to be promoted. Jeanine "J.T." Tanner O'Donnell is a professional development specialist and the founder of the consulting firm, JTODonnell.com, and of the career management blog, CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten resolves employment and other business disputes as a mediator with AgreementHouse.com. Please visit them at JTandDale.com, where you can send questions via e-mail, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019. © 2011 by King Features Syndicate, Inc. Photo credit: Shutterstock