How to Survive a Cutthroat Workplace
Unfortunately, there are some offices in which going into work feels like going into battle. For all of the talk about creating a positive culture, you witness backstabbing, hostility, and gossip on a daily basis. Is it possible to be successful in such a culture? While the situation is by no means ideal, you do have the power to rise above it. Here are some to-dos to that effect:
In a workplace where people are always trying to one-up one another, demonstrate that you are keeping up and able to contribute the freshest and most current approaches and ideas. This means always being ready and willing to try out the latest technologies, as well as honing your existing skills and acquiring new ones.
Don’t be passive.
Allowing yourself to fade into the background will ensure that someone else steps up and takes your opportunities for herself. Instead, vocally communicate to your manager and other higher-ups what you’d like to work on and why you’re the best person for the job. Whenever a senior exec asks for a volunteer on a project, take it even if it’s less than desirable, and even when you’re feeling insecure, show confidence. This is how you get noticed.
Be careful about alliances.
While it’s always nice to be on great terms with the right people in your organization, the right people can change often in a cutthroat culture. Therefore, your best bet is to stay friendly with everyone and avoid getting in too deep with a particular group. If someone gossips with you or asks you your opinion on a conflict, stay as neutral as possible.
Wear your armor.
Remember that your co-workers are not your friends, your office is not your home, and your job is not your life. Therefore, you should not take anything negative that happens at work personally. In a cutthroat culture, you are bound to experience disappointments and betrayals, but if you prepare yourself in advance, you should be able to bounce right back.
Prepare for the worst.
While trying your hardest to make a name for yourself in your organization, get things in order should you be forced to make a sudden exit. Ensure that your resume and online profiles are up-to-date, and keep up with your external networking contacts. Target other organizations that require your expertise, ask headhunters what they think, and sock extra money away in the event that you experience a loss of income. At least you can lessen your anxiety.
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