7 Words That Demystify Office Politics


In my recent posting on ‘ceiling diplomacy‘ I gave names to elements of office dynamics. Below I‘ve provided a list of additional words that fit the bill. The below terms, definitions and usage will help you communicate your frustrations about office politics more effectively.

1) me-signments (noun) – Assignments you’ve taken upon yourself (i.e., Family Day, informally assisting a co-worker either because you would like to expand your skills or because you’re bored with your official responsibilities.

EXAMPLE: Bored with his data entry project, Fred undertook several me-signments, including directorship of the Agency networking group and his office’s social committee.

2) every-nil (noun) – Your answer to a co-worker’s question “So what are you working on today?” when you actually have no work to do. This response is really intended to change the topic.

EXAMPLE: When Bob asked him what he was working on today, Ted offered the following every-nil: “I wouldn’t even begin to know where to start” before distracting Bob by asking him the exact same question.

3) guide dog tail chase (noun) – A serious, but non-fatal condition brought on by a supervisor who is too busy to tell you what he expects of you.

EXAMPLE: Tom was so confused and lost after trying to track down his supervisor that he entered a guide dog tail chase

4) lunch bounce (noun) – The increase in popularity and boost to your career expected from introducing your friends and co-workers each other during a casual lunch

EXAMPLE: Joe realized that he wouldn’t get any lunch bounce today when his two colleagues started arguing about politics during lunch.

5) Banksey exit (noun) – An invitation for you to depart a meeting early either because the topics to be discussed supposedly don’t apply to your work role and would bore you, or because you’re just not deemed important enough for your input to be taken seriously.

EXAMPLE: When the discussion turned to budgetary issues, the team lead encouraged John to Banksey exit, noting that the topic didn’t affect his job duties.

6) photo opt-out (noun) – A person who is consistently absent from team photo shoots, presumably because he either is camera shy or has no team spirit.

EXAMPLE: As usual, Jim and Cindy were photo opt-outs for the Distinguished Team Award photo shoot, despite the director’s request that they be present for the event.

7) Sharpie rodeo (noun) – Is a generally fruitless attempt to find the supplies necessary to do your job without having to resort to buying them at Staples at your own expense.

EXAMPLE: During his Sharpie rodeo, Max made off with several pencils and a stapler, but did not uncover any staples.

All opinions are my own and not those of my agency or the federal government as a whole. Follow me on Twitter: @JayKrasnow

Jay Krasnow is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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