Office Politics

So there are funny things about office politics, and one of them is that everybody has their own way of doing things, and the underlings have to adapt.

My boss has spent the last two hours putting information into a spreadsheet that it turns out was already there but was in a duplicate copy that I saved five months ago, before I learned about our office policy of do not create multiple files it confuses the secretary and screws everything up. I have learned this rule since I did this, but didn’t realize that the latest version was hanging out, and it’s hard to overcome a lifetime of my mother’s instinct to save EVERY DRAFT of a document as a separate document. Literally, all of my papers growing up were titled, "World Studies Paper 1" "World Studies Paper 2", and so on and so forth. It’s tedious and a bad habit, but it’s sometimes handy to have two versions, so sometimes I do it.

There are other things too – like some supervisors like having things clipped, and some like having them stapled. Some supervisors are really picky about pen color. My old office had a policy of everybody must sign originals in blue ink, using the same pen. This is actually not a bad policy, I think, but it’s also a hassle a lot of the time. Some offices want you to scan a copy of everything and shred anything with client information. Some offices prefer that you simply shred anything with sensitive/confidential client information.

I think that it is good to have as much exposure as possible to different office environments so that eventually, when you run the show, you can decide what policies you want to follow. I think it’s probably also good to become invaluable as an employee so you don’t get fired over using the wrong pen.

What kind of office rules have you encountered? Were they good ideas or bad ideas?

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Office Politics

  1. ” I have learned this rule since I did this, but didn’t realize that the latest version was hanging out, and it’s hard to overcome a lifetime of my mother’s instinct to save EVERY DRAFT of a document as a separate document. Literally, all of my papers growing up were titled, “World Studies Paper 1” “World Studies Paper 2″, and so on and so forth. It’s tedious and a bad habit, but it’s sometimes handy to have two versions, so sometimes I do it.”

    You should look into Version Control Systems! I use them every day for managing huge collections of software files, but they work just as well for collections of documents.

  2. OMG – my last job before going to the civil firm was soooo corporate. I learned sooo much about office politics. Switching to small firm Insurance Subgro was the best thing that ever happened to be (I just miss the paycheck that comes along with a big corporate gig).

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