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10 ways to survive office politics

Office politics will never go away. It's a fact of company life. However, destructive office politics can demoralize an organization, hamper productivity, and increase turnover. Here are some tips, applicable for both staff and management, on dealing with office politics.
Note: This information is also available as a PDF download.

#1: Live at peace with others

The easiest way to avoid problems with politics is to get along with people. I'm not saying you need to hug everyone and sing songs, and I'm not saying you have to be a pushover for everyone. You can be pleasant and professional, while at the same time being assertive when necessary. If you have a concern, focus only on the issue, not on the person. If you have to refuse a request, explain why and try to come up with alternative solutions.
Living at peace with others also means being careful about choosing sides during office power struggles. Aligning yourself with one faction or the other will prevent you from working effectively with people from the "other" side, thereby hampering your productivity and thus your performance. It's even worse if "your" faction loses out. Instead, try to focus on your tasks, dealing with people in either faction on the basis of the tasks alone, and avoid talk on the political issue that separates the groups.

#2: Don't talk out of school

Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead.
– Benjamin Franklin
Does your organization have issues? Have people told you things in confidence? Then keep those matters to yourself. Talking to outsiders about issues within your organization makes all of you look bad to that outsider. Furthermore, your boss or your boss's boss will not appreciate that behavior. People will find out that you spoke about what they told you, and they'll lose confidence in you and respect for you.

#3: Be helpful

We all have responsibilities and objectives, and those things should receive priority. Nonetheless, if it doesn't take too much time, being helpful to others can reap benefits for you. Does someone need a ride in the direction you live? Did your co-worker leave headlights on in the parking lot? Is someone having trouble building an Excel macro? If you can help that person, especially if you can do so without taking too much of your time, you benefit yourself as well as the other person. By doing these things, you're building political capital and loyalty. In doing so, you reduce the chances that you will be the victim of political intrigue.

#4: Stay away from gossip

I never repeat gossip, so listen carefully.
— Old joke
Nothing destroys the dynamics of an office more than gossip. Stay away from it, because nothing good comes from it. Just be sure you avoid the "holier than thou" attitude of lecturing your co-workers on the evils of gossip. You'll make them lose face, and they'll resent you. Instead, try subtly changing the subject. For example, suppose the group is talking about Jane's problems with her child, and of course Jane is absent from the group. Do some free association and try to come up with some topic that's related to Jane or her child, but won't involve gossip. Then, make a comment about that topic.
For instance, suppose you know that Jane's child is involved in a sports league. Mention this fact, thereby linking the child and the league. Then, shift the conversation so that you're now talking about the league rather than Jane's child. You could ask when schedules will be published, or if they need parent volunteers. If you do it right, no one will even notice that you've moved them away from the gossip.

#5: Stay out of those talk-down-the-boss sessions

Suppose your co-workers start complaining about the boss. If you join in, it makes you look disloyal to the boss. If you don't, it looks awkward in the group. What can you do? As with the situation of gossip, try changing the subject by linking the boss to another topic, then talking about that topic instead. Or you could simply respond to your co-workers with a smile and a tongue-in-cheek, "Come on, aren't we exaggerating? [name of boss] really isn't THAT bad." Be careful, though, because it could be taken as an admission by you that the boss is bad.

#6: Be a straight arrow

The best way to keep out of trouble politically is to be seen as someone who doesn't play office politics — in other words, a straight arrow. Do what you say you're going to do, alert people to problems, and admit your mistakes. Others will respect you, even if they don't always agree with you. More important, you have a lower chance of being a victim of politics.

#7: Address the "politics" issue openly when appropriate

Many times, when I do organizational assessments, I sense anxiety on the part of client staff. To address this anxiety, I tell people I interview that I'm not there to get people fired. I'm there to help the organization function better. It might not completely allay their fears and suspicions, but at least I've brought up the issue and addressed it.
Think about doing the same thing if you believe politics is an underlying theme at your company. Tell people you're not interested in scoring political points but only in getting the job done. It might not work, but unless you bring the matter up, there's no chance at all that they will believe you. So if a co-worker is unavailable, and you have to act on that person's behalf, consider saying to that person, "I had to act because of your absence. I wasn't trying to go behind your back and I wasn't trying to show you up."

#8: Document things

Nothing saves a job or career more than having a written record. If you believe a matter will come back to haunt you, make sure you keep a record of the matter, either via e-mail or document. Documentation is also an effective way to highlight of your own accomplishments, which can help you when your performance evaluation is conducted.

#9: Set incentives to foster teamwork

If you're a manager or senior executive, take a close look at your incentives. Are you unwittingly setting up your staff to work against each other? Do your metrics address only individual departments, or do they also address how departments could benefit the larger organization?
For example, suppose the hardware department of Sears reduced all its prices by half. If you measured only profitability of the department, you would conclude that it is performing horribly. However, that measurement would neglect to account for increased volume in all other departments because of the hardware department.
If you reward employees in a department based only on how well that department does, you may inadvertently cause destructive competition among departments. Each one will be competing against every other one, and all the departments could end up in a worse position. To minimize this possibility, give employees incentives based not only on department results but on organization results as well. That way, employees from different departments have more motivation to work together and less motivation to engage in destructive politics.

#10: Set an example for your staff

People in an organization look to leadership to see how to act. Do you want your staff to refrain from negative politics? Do you want to see collaboration and teamwork instead of petty rivalries, jealousy, and back-stabbing? Act the way you want your staff to act, and they will follow you.

Calvin SunCalvin Sun consults with clients to address and resolve organizational issues and writes and speaks on this topic. His Web site is You can also find him on Twitter. Read his full bio and profile.

"Don't be serious, just try to be sincere."

Don't just have career or academic goals. Set goals to give you a balanced, successful life. I use the word balanced before successful. Balanced means ensuring your health, relationships, mental peace are all in good order.

There is no point of getting a promotion on the day of your breakup. There is no fun in driving a car if your back hurts. Shopping is not enjoyable if your mind is full of tensions.

"Life is one of those races in nursery school where you have to run with a marble in a spoon kept in your mouth. If the marble falls, there is no point coming first. Same is with life where health and relationships are the marble. Your striving is only worth it if there is harmony in your life. Else, you may achieve the success, but this spark, this feeling of being excited and alive, will start to die. .......

One thing about nurturing the spark - don't take life seriously. Life is not meant to be taken seriously, as we are really temporary here. We are like a pre-paid card with limited validity. If we are lucky, we may last another 50 years. And 50 years is just 2,500 weekends. Do we really need to get so worked up? .......

It's ok, bunk a few classes, scoring low in couple of papers, goof up a few interviews, take leave from work, fall in love, little fights with your spouse. We are people, not programmed devices........."

"Don't be serious, just try to be sincere."


Are We Using Energy Wisely?

1. Turn off your home office equipment when not in use. A computer that runs 24 hours a day, for instance, uses - more power than an energy-efficient refrigerator.
2. If your computer must be left on, turn off the monitor; this device alone uses more than half the system's energy.
3. Setting computers, monitors, and copiers to use sleep-mode when not in use helps cut energy costs by approximately 40%.
4. Battery chargers, such as those for laptops, cell phones and digital cameras, draw power whenever they are plugged in and are very inefficient. Pull the plug and save.
5. Screen savers save computer screens, not energy. Start-ups and shutdowns do not use any extra energy, nor are they hard on your computer components. In fact, shutting computers down when you are finished using them actually reduces system wear - and saves energy.
6. One of the best energy-saving devices is the light switch. Turn off lights when not required.
7. Dirty tube lights and bulbs less light and can absorb 50 percent of the light; dust your tube lights and lamps regularly.
8. Fluorescent tube lights and CFLs convert electricity to visible light up to 5 times more efficiently than ordinary bulbs and thus save about 70% of electricity for the same lighting levels.
9. Ninety percent of the energy consumed by an ordinary bulb (incandescent lamp) is given off as heat rather than visible light.
10. A 15-watt compact fluorescent bulb produces the same amount of light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb.
11. By reducing the temperature setting of water heater from 60 degrees to 50 degrees C, one could save over 18 percent of the energy used at the higher setting.
12. To help reduce heat loss, always insulate hot water pipes, especially where they run through unheated areas. Never insulate plastic pipes.
13. Use an electric kettle to heat water. It's more energy efficient than using an electric cook top element.
14 Iron your clothes and linen all in one go. Do not keep a hot iron which is switched in an upright position for long period since more heat will be lost.
15. Avoid storing hot / warm food in the refrigerator.
16. Use of white or light colours for interior walls, ceilings, curtains, drapes and furniture reflects more light within the building and therefore further reduces the cost of lighting.
17. Do not set the temperature regulator of the refrigerator at high if the quantity of the food within is small. Also, stack food items inside to allow air circulation.
18. By locating doors and windows to admit more sunlight through them you can avoid using electricity for lighting your home or office during the day.
19. Orientation of the house and surrounding landscape has a large effect on energy consumption. Planting trees on the south and west will reflect natural light through the windows resulting in less use of heating appliances like room heaters etc. in winters and would provide ample light.
20. Auto defrost refrigerators consume more electricity. Larger the refrigerator, higher will be the usage of electricity.

Efficient energy management is key to sustainable development and growth and let's leave no stone unturned to conserve energy.

Classic rules of trading


Classic Rules of Trading

Time Tested Classic Trading Rules for the Modern Trader to Live :
I'm sure most everybody knows these truisms in their hearts, but this list is nicely edited and makes a good read.
1. Plan your trades. Trade your plan.
2. Keep records of your trading results.
3. Keep a positive attitude, no matter how much you lose.
4. Don't take the market home.
5. Continually set higher trading goals.
6. Successful traders buy into bad news and sell into good news.
7. Successful traders are not afraid to buy high and sell low.
8. Successful traders have a well-scheduled planned time for studying the markets.
9. Successful traders isolate themselves from the opinions of others.
10. Continually strive for patience, perseverance, determination, and rational action.
11. Limit your losses - use stops!
12. Never cancel a stop loss order after you have placed it!
13. Place the stop at the time you make your trade.
14. Never get into the market because you are anxious because of waiting.
15. Avoid getting in or out of the market too often.
16. Losses make the trader studious - not profits. Take advantage of every loss to improve your knowledge of market action.
17. The most difficult task in speculation is not prediction but self-control. Successful trading is difficult and frustrating. You are the most important element in the equation for success.
18. Always discipline yourself by following a pre-determined set of rules.
19. Remember that a bear market will give back in one month what a bull market has taken three months to build.
20. Don't ever allow a big winning trade to turn into a loser. Stop yourself out if the market moves against you 20% from your peak profit point.
21. You must have a program, you must know your program, and you must follow your program.
22. Expect and accept losses gracefully. Those who brood over losses always miss the next opportunity, which more than likely will be profitable.
23. Split your profits right down the middle and never risk more than 50% of them again in the market.
24. The key to successful trading is to know yourself and your stress point.
25. The difference between winners and losers isn't so much native ability as it is discipline exercised in avoiding mistakes.
26. In trading as in fencing there are the quick and the dead.
27. Speech may be silver but silence is golden. Traders with the golden touch do not talk about their success.

28. Dream big dreams and think tall. Very few people set goals too high. A man becomes what he thinks about all day long.
29. Accept failure as a step towards victory.
30. Have you taken a loss? Forget it quickly. Have you taken a profit? Forget it even quicker! Don't let ego and greed inhibit clear thinking and hard work.
31. One cannot do anything about yesterday. When one door closes, another door opens. The greater opportunity always lies through the open door.
32. The deepest secret for the trader is to subordinate his will to the will of the market. The market is truth as it reflects all forces that bear upon it. As long as he recognizes this he is safe. When he ignores this, he is lost and
33. It's much easier to put on a trade than to take it off.
34. If a market doesn't do what you think it should do, get out.
35. Beware of large positions that can control your emotions. Don't be overly aggressive with the market. Treat it gently by allowing your equity to grow steadily rather than in bursts.
36. Never add to a losing position.
37. Beware of trying to pick tops or bottoms.
38. You must believe in yourself and your judgment if you expect to make a living at this game.
39. In a narrow market there is no sense in trying to anticipate what the next big movement is going to be - up or down.
40. A loss never bothers me after I take it. I forget it overnight. But being wrong and not taking the loss - which is what does the damage to the pocket book and to the soul.
41. Never volunteer advice and never brag of your winnings.
42. Of all speculative blunders, there are few greater than selling what shows a profit and keeping what shows a loss.
43. Standing aside is a position.
44. It is better to be more interested in the market's reaction to new information than in the piece of news itself.
45. If you don't know who you are, the markets are an expensive place to find out.
46. In the world of money, which is a world shaped by human behavior, nobody has the foggiest notion of what will happen in the future. Mark that word - Nobody! Thus the successful trader does not base moves on what supposedly will happen but reacts instead to what does happen.
47. Except in unusual circumstances, get in the habit of taking your profit too soon. Don't torment yourself if a trade continues winning without you. Chances are it won't continue long. If it does, console yourself by thinking of
all the times when liquidating early reserved gains that you would have otherwise lost.
48. When the ship starts to sink, don't pray - jump!
49. Lose your opinion - not your money.
50. Assimilate into your very bones a set of trading rules that works for you.

75 questions to ask yourself

75 questions to ask yourself

An old proverb says, "He that cannot ask cannot live". If you want answers you have to ask questions. These are 75 questions you should ask yourself and try to answer. You can ask yourself these questions right now and over the course of your life.


1. Why not me?
2. Am I nice?
3. Am I doing what I really want to do?
4. What am I grateful for?
5. What's missing in my life?
6. Am I honest?
7. Do I listen to others?
8. Do I work hard?
9. Do I help others?
10. What do I need to change about myself?


11. Have I hurt others?
12. Do I complain?
13. What's next for me?
14. Do I have fun?
15. Have I seized opportunities?
16. Do I care about others?
17. Do I spend enough time with my family?
18. Am I open-minded?
19. Have I seen enough of the world?
20. Do I judge others?


21. Do I take risks?
22. What is my purpose?
23. What is my biggest fear?
24. How can I conquer that fear?
25. Do I thank people enough?
26. Am I successful?
27. What am I ashamed of?
28. Do I annoy others?
29. What are my dreams?


30. Am I positive?
31. Am I negative?
32. Is there an afterlife?
33. Does everything happen for a reason?
34. What can I do to change the world?
35. What is the most foolish thing I've ever done?
36. Am I cheap?
37. Am I greedy?
38. Who do I love?
39. Who do I want to meet?
40. Where do I want to go?


41. What am I most proud of?
42. Do I care what others think about me?
43. What are my talents?
44. Do I utilize those talents?
45. What makes me happy?
46. What makes me sad?
47. What makes me angry?
48. Am I satisfied with my appearance?
49. Am I healthy?
50. What was the toughest time in my life?


51. What was the easiest time in my life?
52. Am I selfish?
53. What was the craziest thing I did?
54. What is the craziest thing I want to do?
55. Do I procrastinate?
56. What is my greatest regret?
57. What has had the greatest impact on my life?
58. Who has had the greatest impact on my life?
59. Do I stand up for myself?


60. Have I settled for mediocrity?
61. Do I hold grudges?
62. Do I read enough?
63. Do I listen to my heart?
64. Do I donate enough to the less fortunate?
65. Do I pray only when I want something?
66. Do I constantly dwell on the past?
67. Do I let other people's negativity affect me?
68. Do I forgive myself?
69. When I help someone do I think "What's in it for me"?


70. Am I aware that someone always has it worse than me?
71. Do I smile more than I frown?
72. Do I surround myself with good people?
73. Do I take time out for myself?
74. Do I ask enough questions?
75. What other questions do
I have?