Monday, June 28, 2010

Protect yourself from the office weasels

Unfortunately within many departments, not just the design department, there is an element which could be extremely detrimental to your employment. It's called the weasel.

Or the snake or worm or any other creature used to describe a person looking to use exaggerations and manipulation to toss you and your career under the bus.

Right away, most of you thought of that one person at your workplace that fit the description. Weaselsnake-worms are the people with which you purposely do NOT share personal or professional information.

Why? Because the Weaselsnake-worm will take that information, jumble it up just enough to either make you look bad or to make them look good (usually both). They will then find a way to regurgitate this nonsense to anyone in higher management.

So what you thought was just a typical conversation about work, co-workers, or your boss has now become job-threatening gossip. Even if the conversation you had with the Weaselesnake-worm was harmless or joking, a few missing details could transform it into a malicious bitchfest. Now, after selectively choosing what the Weaselsnake-worm will tell management about your conversation, you are now on the sh*tlist.

Such behavior perpetrated by the Weaselsnake-worm is deemed acceptable to them because they somehow mistake backstabbing and juicy douchebaggery for hard ambition.

So you learn early to find out who is the Weaselsnake-worm and steer clear.

Easy way to determine a Weaselsnake-worm:

- They try to cozy up to the boss in relatively uncomfortable ways. While its perfectly acceptable to be on friendly ground with your boss, it's another thing to clamor for a BFF relationship with him or her. This also includes getting angry if anyone else in the office is getting any type of positive attention from the boss.

- You will rarely if ever get a compliment out of them if everyone else (including the boss) has paid you some big kudos on your work. You see, you just "one-uped" the Weaselsnake-worm, and that is simply unacceptable to him or her. OR...

- You will get a healthy dose of compliments for your work to try and drag you into personal conversations. These conversations will quickly steer into your personal feelings regarding you job and co-workers. This is like poisoning your own drink.

- No accountability. This is a doozy because to the Weaselsnake-worm cannot take the chance of looking bad in front of the boss. Also, since they believe that everyone else in the office is just as "ambitious" as they are, the Weaselsnake-worm doesn't want to lose face in front of the peers who will go directly to the big boss and rat him or her out!

All of these examples lead up to one thing: throwing you under the bus to try and further their career in the workplace.

There are a couple ways to avoid being eaten alive by the Weaselsnake-worm in the office.

- The most important thing is to be direct and honest at your job. People who are honest and truthful without arrogance have integrity, and people see and respect that - especially the boss. This is an important defense against the Weaselsnake-worm's attacks, because when it comes down to believing one word against another, one tends to believe a person with integrity over one who has zilch.

- Leave a BIG paper trail. If you have to work directly with the Weaselsnake-worm on a project, try to get everything in writing via email and make sure you carbon copy anyone who may have anything to do with the particular job, including the boss. You see, if anything goes wrong, the Weaselsnake-worm has a way of "losing" bits of information or lying about what the parameters of the job entailed. For some reason, the lost details always seem to make it your fault. A virtual paper trail will serve well in protecting you against the buss's career-crushing wheels.

- As mentioned before, do not share information with the Weaselsnake-worm. Especially do not say anything about the job, co-workers, or the boss that you wouldn't say in front of them. This is where the integrity part comes in. Such loose-lipped ammunition is all the Weaselsnake-worm needs to bury you, so don't be party to it.

Good luck out there in the wilderness of the office and stay protected!

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