Game plan

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Dear Molly,

I work with someone who really gets on my nerves. She is constantly sucking up to our boss, bringing her cookies practically every week and is in her office more than she's in her own cube. I don't understand how the boss doesn't see through her, but she seems to like this behavior. I also think the boss lets this girl get away with murder just because she sucks up so much. The rest of us end up picking up the slack and it's not fair. I'm ready to confront my boss and tell her how we all feel. My roommate said this is a bad idea. Do you agree?


Score one for the roommate! Not only is your roommate right, she may have just saved your career. You almost committed professional suicide, my friend. Confronting a boss about her bad behavior is an absolute no-no. There is nothing to be gained and everything to be lost in this scenario.

Most bosses really don't like to be confronted about anything. Especially if it concerns their poor management skills. So you'll have to learn to keep your mouth shut, my friend. If you plan to play and win "the game," that is.

That's right, boys and girls -- to succeed in the fun-filled work world, you must master the "the corporate game." The stakes are high, and only the most skillful win.

Some refer to this corporate game as "office politics." And to master it, all you have to do is be strategic about the battles you choose, get along with your co-workers, make nice with the boss, do your job well, stay out of trouble, become known outside your department, create a sterling professional reputation and rub elbows with the higher-ups. Easy, right?

Oh, did I fail to mention there aren't actually rules to this game? No worries, I'm sure you'll figure it out on your own. Most people do. How well you do stumbling around in this high-stakes game depends on your willingness to learn. I suggest you do a little research on the topic if you really want to succeed. Read a few books, question a few successful corporate-types and try to get a feel for how it all works.

Be careful and tread lightly as you play the game -- one wrong move and you could be looking for a new job. See an injustice being perpetrated by someone higher up the food chain than you? Sure, you can certainly try to right the wrong, but you could end up looking like a troublemaker, which has an almost certain fate.

Let those in a true position of power handle righting the wrongs. Instead, focus on yourself. Try to ignore the things that bug you, because if you don't, your irritation will end up affecting your ability to play the game well.

Molly Luffy, MBA, is a local business coach who helps people shift from surviving to thriving at work. Send your work-related questions to