Office Politics + Mind Games


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Written by ELLA

I got so stressed out at work I started reading The 48 Laws of Power. For the 4th time in my career, I feel like I’ve been looked over and not recognized. As I continue taking steps up the corporate ladder, I only hope the politics don’t pull me down. “Who you know here matters more than what you know,” is something the Director of HR told us in a leadership seminar. How can I stay motivated, while feeling like my merit will never be rewarded?

I wish there was a college course on office politics. My mom was offended when I told her she couldn’t help me navigate corporate politics the way some other kids parents could but… it’s the truth. My mother is a social worker back home, and I work in fashion advertising in New York City. I live in the Devil Wears Prada and sometimes on set of Mean Girls. I can’t imagine what it’s like on Wall Street with all those sharks in suits, but in an office of mostly women in Chanel, it’s easy to for things to get catty. Eventually, you realize… it’s all feelings. While I grew up trying to “be real”, not caring what people think and saying what’s on my mind, other people were being taught to “conceal [their] intentions.” It’s taken year of agony, hours of tears and an full DISC personality test for me to understand that different people react to different things in different ways. We all like to be spoken to and/or worked with in particular ways. [For the record, I apologized to my mom because she does understand… it was me who had to understand her.]

I didn’t know that my self-starter, pro-active and independent way fo working would come across as insular and uncooperative to others. I had to adjust the way I was coming across to others, if and when I could. This goes into my own life. If you must know, what is “wrong with me” is that I have a very poor attitude if things aren’t going my way. If I feel insulted or disrespected, I will take your heart out. I admittedly have a Napoleon complex and there is little I can do about it. So, when I get upset, I disappear. I distance myself and can cut relationships completely. But as soon as I started understanding myself, and trying to accommodate other people’s personalities… I felt… fake. I feel that way with people as well as with jobs — how much of this do I put up with? Even if you treated me well once, does that mean you can abuse me when your need arises? All relationships need to be evaluated every once in a while to make sure things are still equal… or still what they used to be, at least.

Sometimes, the corporate world really pulls at my moral strings. I am incredibly blessed to have a job, but at what point is my job blessed to have me? I’m not just trying to ask for my worth, but quantify it. I don’t want to have to play mind games to get ahead but I suppose I have to. I’ve finally gotten to a point in my career when the next move will be a big move. I’ve been in my career long enough that I don’t feel like making an industry change to earn the check I need. I also look really young… but I’m too old to play like I’m someone’s secretary. Maybe this is my ego talking, but I want to do my own work not someone else’s. I want the experience. I want the credit. I’m not just craving the money, but the autonomy and respect a title move would grant me. Yes, folks… I want the title.

I’m trying my hardest to be patient. Luckily, I’ve run into a new circle of very successful and motivated women, but mostly, they inspire me to brunch and travel. They really make life worth it, but that really makes me notice how much life costs. Having more desires in life makes me want more out of my life. I’ve got 11 girls who want to go to 11 places for their birthdays and I’m already dying of fomo. I don’t have a drug dealer boyfriend and I just lost my best friend to the effects of defaulted loans. I really ain’t got it. But I can’t go to work and ask them for more money, while I do the same job. I can’t just say I’m going to do more work, I have to do it. I have to have my life in order before I go in there any tell them that I deserve that (adjusted) check.

As much as I love this website, I dedicate my time to that which pays my bills. I do love my job… most of the time. Having a passion on the side really just keeps me alive. I need something that is pure happiness in my life. I wanted to create a stress free space, even if only for the 5 minutes it takes you to read this. I’m going to start writing more… because that’s where my heart is. The most difficult part about playing office politics is playing when you don’t love it with all your heart. i work with people who are very proud of who they are because of where they work; I’m proud of who I am because of who I am. Sometimes, some of us are bigger than the building we spend ~40hours a week in. And that’s not a shot at anyone else… we’re all different.

We go hard for what we really want. I’m trying to find my way. I’m trying to write blog posts, find new products, stage my own photoshoots, edit videos, and monitor analytics for this site… but sometimes I have a hard day at work. I’ chose to play both the 9-5 and the entrepreneur game so, this is what I have to deal with. I have to prioritize and find my way. Mostly, I have to have faith. I keep my head up and know that whatever is mean for me is coming my way. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing or what decision I make, I try to believe in whatever I’m doing. If I don’t care about it, I shouldn’t be doing it. That’s how you know when it’s time to quit the game — when you feel like it. At the every end of the day, you still have to be you. Even if I make a mistake, I know I didn’t do it purposely or vindictively, so I sleep well at night; I’m comfortable with me. You should do what makes you comfortable. If you’re a better shark than me, more power to you. Sometimes, you have to play for the time being… sometimes, it’s the only way.


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