Work Drama is Career Suicide
If you are involved in or the culprit of what is interpreted to be drama at work it is career suicide. There is drama in the upper levels of management which we refer to as corporate politics. Good upper management employees navigate those politics, don’t take it personally and it isn’t the same as work drama.
What I refer to in work drama is a subset of a few things:
- The gossiper or the recipient and passer of said gossip is you
- You’re that guy/gal that brings everything to your boss’ attention to try to get a leg up
- Finding yourself at the central of peoples problems “the advice giver”
No More Work Drama
You have to cut it off today. As my latest boss always told me “shut it down.” If someone approaches you about another coworker, hear it don’t listen. Definitely don’t go tell that coworker and don’t encourage people to come to you with their damn drama. Just respond with an uncaring attitude like “Oh.” or “Wow” or “I’m Sorry”. Don’t be the one to step in and help. Don’t be the people’s problem solver. Let them handle their own problems.
Being the Right Hand Doesn’t Mean Highlighting Faults
I have had several situations like this. I am usually my bosses right hand but it is because I strive to be a technician. It isn’t because when someone on my team or group of coworkers does something I make sure to call it out to my boss. You’re there to save your boss work. If Mary is watching Youtube all day and you don’t think it is fair, too bad. Don’t go to your boss and say hey I am working my ass of over here and Mary is watching YouTube all day. Is it fair? No. Will it advance you if you go tell on Mary? No. What happens is Mary gets yelled at, finds out you are the culprit and then spites you to everyone else. Next thing you know the whole department is against you and now you are a central theme in drama.
Don’t Talk and Befriend Others
This is the hardest thing to do, but best. You are at work to work. Most of us spend more time with our coworkers than we do with our family. If I could just get every employee I have worked with to keep their work friends separate from their social friends the corporate landscape would be so much different. It’s like a game of Survivor in the workplace. Navigating the social game is much easier though, don’t trust anybody with personal crap and trust them with everything work related, professionally. That means no telling Sue about how John is attracted to her. That means no telling Bob that Frank told you he is a complete douche. Just shut up and work. Making friends where you all go hang out at the bar and get totally smashed (different from drinking at a work event) and then start vomiting words about all the people not there will demolish a career and put a glass ceiling on your head almost immediately.
The Quick and Dirty of Work Drama
- Avoid it like the plague
- Don’t talk about others
- Try to separate work friends from personal friends even if you are at the same leve
- Do not be the go to to solve personal problems or work drama problems, be a technician and be the go to to solve strategic and functional work problems
- Don’t be the work social butterfly, build relationships, but build professional relationships. Network within your organization with the highest levels of people, but don’t do it by being there for them to delegate their personal drama to
- Do not be a negotiator between coworkers with drama, let them figure it out
The Water Cooler Conversations Are Death
It’s pretty simple just go to work and be better than everyone at your job function. Do not try to be the people person. Don’t be the popular one with all the friends. Be the one that knows the job better than anybody and that everyone asks for help to be as good as you. If you are at the water cooler talking about other people and their work habits, personality or personal life you’re going to be doing what you are doing forever, if you’re lucky or you’re going to find yourself moved out. Some bosses are very good about moving you out by making you hate your job, others will just can you.