Corporate Politics

It’s been almost a year since I started working at my company. It’s definitely not the experience I was expecting. Maybe I had too much of a rosy picture of the corporate world? Beh..I don’t think I did. I knew I would have to deal with politics, it would take a while for me to get accustomed to the working environment, and time to get to know everybody.

The first six months were super bad. I had to completely switch my sleeping schedule, and learn to sit in front of my desk for 8 – 9 hours. I didn’t have a lot of work yet, and was not involved in many projects. It was actually quite boring.

Then, January started, and I began to support a new category manager, and the work just exploded. I have been playing catch up ever since, learning as I go, and really getting to know a lot of people in different departments.

I figured out sourcing is not going to be my lifetime career. I see myself in this position for the next three years. My hope is I get promoted to a category manager by the time I’m 25, and then I can start looking at different roles within and outside the company. I already have my eyes on the next position.

To get to the next role I will have to navigate a bunch of b*** corporate politics. Wait….I already have. 😮

***The hardest part of my jobs is handling people and the politics that goes with a big organization. It’s important to never take things personal in the working world, and to have a rough skin. Read on for an example of political play within my organization.

About two weeks ago, on a perfect Friday, I butted into a conversation with a junior member outside of our team (same position as me in the corporate ladder) and a category manager within my team. I started asking questions about a topic he was “proposing” one of my team’s category managers handle. I quote “proposing” because it was not a proposal. He basically came up to the category manager ( a senior member above him) and said:

Hey, I have discussed it with your boss, and several other directors, as well as other category managers within the team, and we decided your category is the best to implement this “big idea.” I’m going to set up a meeting with you and ____ department to discuss what we need to do moving forward. I just wanted to let you know.

Category manager responded by saying:

What do you mean? I’m not aware of such discussions? Can you please explain how I can help here, seeing how this is not really my role. I have no visibility into those systems to implement the “big idea.”

My reaction knowing the background of the “big idea” was to butt in and start asking questions. First of all, I had extensive background on these types of “big idea” implementation across different industries, and I knew our company was nowhere near ready for such implementation. Having worked within the other ____ department during some of my recent projects, I understood the criteria to implement the “big idea” was not there. Furthermore, he was being extremely authoritative to a senior member of the organization. In addition, his “job” definitely did not fall into what he was trying to do. So, I interjected as started asking questions quite calmly. By this time, most of our team was involved in the discussion.

I actually put him in the defense position because he did not know the answers. His knowledge was weak, and it showed. He actually started to tense up, and he made a couple of big mistakes. He accused the category manager of not wanting to do her work by pushing the work to the other side. He then raised his voice at me and basically told me to shut up by saying “Listen to me, listen to me, stop interrupting me.”

Yup….Things broke down at the moment. He tried to intimate me with his voice and posture, and it did not work. The category manager and I pulled him aside to calm the situation down, and try to understand what the hell was going on. For the next 45 minutes, we both asked questions, and basically realized he had no idea of what he was talking about.

The scary part? It seemed like he had convinced everyone to go with this “big idea.” When we mentioned we wanted to talk to the senior leaders to get their approval. He deflected and said they were on board.

Things ended “cordially” at this point. Although I really wanted to punch him. I have had several scuffles with him in the past, and he is by far an extremely arrogant, sleazy, creature. Management protects him because they say he is young and immature, but has a lot of potential. I laugh…I’m young at 22, but he is 30-31. Is that young??? Is it acceptable for him to disrespect women at that age? FYI…we are both in the same spot within the corporate ladder.

I should have reported his behavior to my manager, but I didn’t want to create any more enemies. It’s hard to tell who is his friend and is my friend, you see?

He set up a meeting and invited our entire team. I managed to convince of this to bring everyone on board. Frankly, it was also a way to bring other senior category managers to question his “big idea.”

At the last minute, everyone but the first category manager was dropped off the meeting. Pretty sucky, considering the category manager was about to face what she and I thought would be a tidal wave of opposition.

I was not in the meeting, but I received a summary from the category manager. Basically, the guy above had misrepresented a lot of information. The other department’s representative said the “big idea” would be impossible at the moment, and really it would be their responsibility to start such implementation. Furthermore, he had not talked to the senior leaders as he had represented in the beginning. In addition, my boss found out about his “behavior” via the category manager and had a talk with his supervisor.

The guy now barely talks to us. Seriously, his reaction instead of being proactive and a big man, is to ignore us.

Is your organization political? What kind of politics have you witnessed or become involved in?