Surviving Work Politics

“When the victorious Israelite army was returning home after David had killed the Philistine, women from all the towns of Israel came out to meet King Saul. They sang and danced for joy with tambourines and cymbals. This was their song: “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands!” This made Saul very angry. “What’s this?” he said. “They credit David with ten thousands and me with only thousands. Next they’ll be making him their king!” So from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David. The very next day a tormenting spirit from God overwhelmed Saul, and he began to rave in his house like a madman. David was playing the harp, as he did each day. But Saul had a spear in his hand, and he suddenly hurled it at David, intending to pin him to the wall. But David escaped him twice.” ‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭18:6-11‬ ‭

Hello and glad to come your way. I have been looking at the definition of work place politics and I think this is the best out of all by slideshare.net, and it quotes, “Workplace politics is the use of power and networking within an organization to achieve personal benefits.”

Our scripture reading for today captures the heart of that message. Before we get into the meat of our topic, you have to understand firstly that politics is everywhere- it doesn’t only pertain to electing government officials. Secondly, you have to understand politics very well, else you will be a victim. Thirdly, politics has to deal with people and power, so you will have to study the nature of humans too very well.

Politics has many branches, but for the purpose of this blog I will restrict it to work. When you read the Bible story, it talks about David coming home from battle to the cheers of women singing his praises. This didn’t sit well with Saul because in the chorus of the song, Saul was just ascribed thousands to David’s ten thousands. The nature of King Saul and David’s relationship turned political from that day.

Anytime, you excel at an assignment in your workplace, be on the lookout for politics. It is just a hard, cold truth. Excellence at something rears the ugly head of politics in people. Understand that the workplace is not like your home where perhaps love, care and nurture were the abiding principles. This is different- it is a concrete jungle where competition, performance appraisal, promotion, pay increases etc are the order of the day. Work is an environment where jostling for power is prevalent.

From this story, there are some noteworthy points I picked up.

1. Don’t be surprised at jealousy– when your praises are sang or say, you are promoted in the workplace, don’t be surprised at people you once had vibes with now give you the cold shoulder. As painful as it is, you can’t spend time crying at this or quit and look for another job. Friend, do you think it will get better in another workplace? I am here to disappoint you with my answer, IT WILL NOT! It is the same everywhere. King Saul became jealous of David when he was crowned the people’s champion.

2. Workplace is territorial, expect a fight– you were new to the job and the supervisor who even became your lunch mate, showed you the ropes till you ascended to the same position as him. Now, you are confused as to why he doesn’t like you anymore. You have invaded his territory and expect a pushback. In Saul’s mind, David could be a king so he had to protect his territory hence his jealousy. I have come to know by experience that ideals such as teamwork and collaboration are only preached, but not TRULY practiced and believed. No wonder, it is only an ideal but not a realism.

3. You could be eliminated, eyes open!– the jealousy of Saul caused him to throw a spear at him. The intent was to eliminate him. In the workplace, you can be eliminated by rough tactics. In some cases, people have even gone as far as murder. This is where the studying of people comes in. Don’t be naive because subtlety is real. Some will not exhibit Saul’s jealousy, but they will smile towards you thinking otherwise. You have to be vigilant to survive and also thrive irrespective of the odds stacked against you.

I will end on this: you can’t eliminate work politics. It has come to stay and it is part of the fabric and culture of work. The only thing you can do is, learning to survive it. That is something colleges will never teach you.

I wish you a strong finish to this month and a blessed upcoming new month.

Please like and share today’s post. Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog too if you haven’t. I look forward to your feedback on this as always.

Till, we meet again…

Peace & Love.

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