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How to Be A Success

Dec 18, 2007
"Stay out of company politics," the ambitious newcomer is warned, "or you'll get your throat cut before you know where you are."

When people get along together, production rises; when they don't, it falls. And when they do get along, you can be sure good company politics is behind it, just as you can be sure the opposite is true when hostility holds sway. In either case, politics good or bad is inescapable. When three people in the same carpool discuss the company on the way to work, you have a caucus. At the drinking fountain, or during a coffee break, or at lunch, if people aren't talking about their work - playing politics - they just don't care, and that's bad.

Lift Your Horizon

Company politics is here to stay. To close your ears to it is not to remove yourself from politics but from the company. How else are you to know what is going on? And if you don't know what is going on in the company, how are you to know where you're going?

Playing good company politics is easy, informative, and rewarding, and is covered by three simple rules. (1) Say something interesting or constructive about your work. (2) Say something good about your boss, supervisor, or company policy - with sincerity. (3) Keep on doing a good job. If you can't do these after a month or two on the job - if your work is so dull and the company so uninteresting - you are in the wrong job.

The "Breaks" Are There For the Breaking

Success stories are filled with anecdotes in which lucky "breaks" played a dominant part. The little opera singer who is understudy to the star, and comes through in great style when the star breaks her leg. The first mate who saves the ship when his skipper has a heart-attack in the midst of a hurricane. But you know the story.

You also know that unless that little understudy had spent years in preparation for the role and was fully qualified to handle it, she was thanked nicely for her effort and never heard of again. And you know that the first mate, unless he had seniority and experience behind him, continued his career as a first mate under a new skipper.

Yet so firmly planted is the idea that the breaks are all important that when a man says, "He got the breaks and I didn't," we don't think of him as offering an excuse; we think of him as stating a fact.

But we are always getting the breaks. The day doesn't pass but what all of us get a break of one kind or another, such as walking into the office just at the moment the boss is ready to fire the first man who walks through the door. Or like taking a Florida vacation during the coldest weather in forty years. The breaks come in all shapes and sizes, and in all degrees of good fortune and bad.

Jobs are like shoes. When they are too small for one, they pinch. The pain shows up in many ways - in dissatisfaction, frustration, chronic illness, and all-too-often a short temper that can seriously disrupt family life. A good salary or a title on the door is of little help if the job is still too small.

The man seeking to ease his frustrations in the bar of an exclusive club is separated only by his surroundings from the malcontent seeking to drown his problems in a cheap dive. Both are failures, and the difference is only one of degree. One fails more luxuriously than the other, but the therapeutic value of the luxury is dubious, to say the least.

You need to know where you are going, full speed ahead, and let the breaks fall where they may.
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