Thursday, December 6, 2007

Who's the only one here who knows the illegal ninja moves from the government?

Consider this just a gentle musing, I suppose... There are two kinds of popular in the workplace. There's co-worker popular and boss popular. The very clever are able to toe the line and be universally loved by both their coworkers and the boys in the corner offices. While yes, you want your bosses to know that you're putting forth your best effort, always be aware that there's only so much shameless self-promotion you can do before your coworkers wonder if you're going to be wearing your boss' arse as a hat for the duration. This, in turn, even if rewarded by your boss, will irk your coworkers and breed resentment. And don't just discount that as jealousy. Sometimes, coworkers would also like to toot their own horn, so to speak. But will they be able to through the cacophony that is you? If you didn't learn sharing and taking turns in pre-school, there really is no time like the present. Realize that your coworkers have career aspirations as well. If you're wanting a pleasant working environment and camaraderie, then you're going to have to be more circumspect and far more clever in marketing yourself. How do you toe that line? Try e-mail. At the end of the day, give your boss that glowing status report. Make sure, though, that you have actual status to report. Be brief. Nobody wants to read a three page e-mail about how you established a matrix. Really. Nobody. Save the jargony catchphrases for when you really need to bullshi - I mean, snowball someone. And no, wanting to advance your career is a bad thing. What I am saying is that when playing office politics, stealth and diplomacy can go a long way. Plus, your boss may be one of those learned individuals that recognizes a potential brownnoser, in which case your toadying may be seen for what it is. Then you're screwed. There's also an argument to be made for the fact that the more you point out what a crazy fabulous employee you are, the more eyes you draw to yourself. Being human, you're probably going to fail at some point. If you nobody's ever told you that, then let me be the first. You will fail. It happens. However, the magnitude of your failure correlates with how much attention you've drawn to yourself in the first place. If you're entire attitude has been, "Hey, this is a good idea, I think I'll shoot my boss an e-mail and let him take a look," then chances are when you drop the ball, he's going to realize that in general you're a good employee, and if you calmly own up to it, damage is minimal. However, if you've been doing the "LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! I MADE THIS! I DID! I DID! WITH NO HELP! I DID," your dropped ball becomes, "OH MY GOD! HE FAILED! HE IS NO GOOD! WHAT ON EARTH IS WRONG WITH HIM? HE CANNOT BE TRUSTED WITH BIG ASSIGNMENTS!" See what I mean?