I’ve been a boss, and I’ve been a worker, for about 28 years.I think I can safely say I have some experience…I am also a class A introvert and have been an introvert all my life- naturally, including all my working life, yet have succeeded nonetheless to maintain my position and even climb up the management ladder. (not to the top- but fairly high -definitely considering my very poor social skills and my total lack of enthusiasm in that area).Here is more on being an introvert: why I get up at 04:005 reasons why being an introvert is actually beneficial -and a useful tip
I believe it’s high time I help my former fellow introvert workers get through that jungle called “workplace politics”. and wow what a jungle that is.
First I want to acknowledge the hassle of this all -for both extroverts- and introverts.
As if just getting up every morning and having no choice but going to work and thus spending ( some might say wasting?) 80% of your waking hours (and 120% of your conscious and clear-minded hours- assuming you have any of those ) commuting to and back from work- and being at work (some might say working but that’s not always accurate so).
When you get to work, no matter where you work. how old you are, how much money you make, or how high in the company ladder you climbed- there is always that office politics background buzz.
Because all people are the same. everywhere.Sad but true.There will always be competition between peers, envy, gossip, rumors, coalitions, packs, fake smiles and fake friendships.6th grade all over again.
Now- extroverts probably liked middle school and high school- I have no idea – just guessing here- since being surrounded all the time by a lot of other people and having to socialize constantly is not a big deal for them, on the contrary- they enjoy that from what I’ve read- but still- there is a difference I believe between highschool carefree years and having to find your way through office politics when trying to excel at your job .
Now that I acknowledged your pain too- all you extroverts have no idea what a mess an introvert is in these situations and how clueless he or she feels when realizing that 6th grade hit them in the face once again.
I hated high school, never felt at ease in social situations, never saw the right movies, never wore the right clothes, I was eccentric, to say the least from a very young age.
My favorite hobby was going to the public library, I had very good grades and very large glasses, a cup A bra and afro curls when they weren’t popular.I think you get the picture.
I tried everything possible to straighten my hair, nothing helped.The only thing I got from putting on so much hair cream was a bad case of acne as if life wasn’t smiling to me as it were.
*In my experience there is a connection -my dermatologist told me that and as a fact since I stopped putting on a ton of hair cream and simply shaved my hair- my acne never came back. and no- I am no skin expert and just do whatever you want as always, your body- your choices.
So what advice can an introvert like me give you on office politics?
Not much, that’s true, yet it was enough to get me through 28 years of hard labor and even land me a management position.
But first, I think the obvious should be stated, and that is : no way you are going to get anywhere if you don’t do a good ,even a great,job.
Sure, there are always those who navage to get away with lousy work skills and exceptional social skills.
I know some, may I dare say, more than a few.But these people are gifted with the skills an introvert doesn’t have, and therefore their situation is nothing to compare to.
What anybody, including introverts(!) can do, is sweet talk , sugar coat, kiss up- to the boss.
But- you need to be wise about it, otherwise you end up falling flat on your face.
When you flatter your boss , you need to make sure he or she doesn’t get the (wrong, of course)impression, that you are kissing up.
Meaning: you need to be subtle, look them straight in the eyes to make a strong impression, never do it in connection to anything you need, and always add the necessary;”you know I never kiss up, but your action was simply remarkable/phenomenal/amazing/whatever.”
You need to follow your announcement with action, meaning no way this boss catches you kissing up to anybody soon after you finished telling him how rare this occasion is.
The most important thing to remember is that you need to save like a pro so you won’t have to slave like a dog for more than the necessary period of time before you retire.
Hope it helps- the cooliflower.