Before I continue, let's go back to the good old days of geometry for a few givens of the workplace.
- Know you will be screwed. It's not a matter of luck, it will happen. You may be able to control how bad it is and how you react, but accept that someone (almost everyone) will attempt to screw you over.
- Your boss is not to be trusted. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Enough said?
- Along the lines of above, don't trust your coworkers. They don't care. Many people operate under the assumption that all's fair in love and war AND work. While you don't have to perpetuate that, you need to realize others operate that way. Once in a while, you can meet someone who can be a good friend (I have a couple of those) but they are freak (like my friends) occurrences.
- Realize everyone does not share your work ethic, sense of morality, or definition of friendship.
- Don't take things personally. Of course that is easier said than done but you can't take work relationships seriously if you plan to survive 40 years of working. You will be mental in no time. I am not advocating hugs and kisses in the workplace, but you shouldn't waste time or energy evaluating why people don't like you or why this happened to such a great person like yourself. Nope, strategically retaliate and vow to protect yourself better in the future. Soon enough, people will learn not to screw with you.
- People have a vested interest in making you look worse in an attempt to make themselves look better. Don't do this. While you may suceed a couple of times, realize you will be found out and be hated for the rest of your career. Even if you appear to be valued, it is really for being a snitch or a gossip. No one respects you.
- Speaking of respect, it is true that you need to decide whether you want to be liked or respected. While you may end up being liked, at work you have to be respected first. Those who are only liked get bent over first.
- Documentation might save your ass. If you don't save emails, document conversations, and follow up, you are practically dropping your pants and grabbing your ankles.
If anyone remembers anything I ever wrote, remember this.....you have to watch your back all the time at work. You will never last, nevermind be successful, if you don't. I am not talking about paranoid fantasies day in and day out. No, but you need to realize work is a big game. As I have written before, it is a chess game. You are on the board and unless you want to be pushed off, you better watch all the action and your back.
Speaking of fantasies, if I could map out my way to make a million, it would be by writing a book about being strategic at work. Of course, being an HR professional, the expectation would be that I mean strategic planning, thinking, and change. If only it were that simple.
I mean being strategic about your work persona. You need one. You can't be "you" at work. If you are the same person at work as you are at home, you will be the first one screwed. Being yourself is like leaving your front door unlocked and then crying about your house being burglarized. You can't share personal things, let people (especially your boss) know you are living paycheck to paycheck, or anything else that exposes a weakness.
But I digress.....
It may be a bit confusing after everything I wrote that my boss attempted backstab me. While I wasn't completely shocked, it does amaze me the depths that some people are willing to sink when don't have the skills or balls to do their jobs. Suffice it to say that while she wasn't deliberately trying to screw me, she did attempt to use me as an excuse to address another issue instead of dealing with it head-on.
Aside from the fact that being aware doesn't mean it can't happen, it was a combination of an act of God and karma that led to the revelation of my boss's attempt.
After some consultation with trusted advisers, I quickly struck back in a manner that let her know I knew without having a bad confrontation. In fact, I may have actually come out ahead by taking advantage of the situation to get something for me. We'll see. Regardless, I do enjoy listening to someone squirm who tried to screw me over.