What is corporate politics? How to identify, how to stay immune? Recently started career but want to be aware of it.

Google sQlO48
May 23 194 Comments

I just see everything going good. I'm too native ☹️

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TOP 194 Comments
  • Google
    AIMLOK

    Google

    BIO
    I once served 5TB
    AIMLOKmore
    You know it's politics when doing the right thing isn't the optimal thing.
    May 23 12
    • New / Eng
      Psynaptic

      New Eng

      BIO
      Working on Brain Machine Interfaces
      Psynapticmore
      That's not necessarily internal politics, that's just business.
      May 24
    • Facebook / Eng
      baldnshort

      Facebook Eng

      PRE
      Facebook
      baldnshortmore
      Maybe OP is just a native
      May 24
    • Seagate toti420
      Go to meetings, sit in the back with a bag of popcorn and observe. You’ll understand office politics in no time.
      May 25
    • DocuSign owkdlajw
      Couldn’t agree more. You got the point
      May 25
    • Microsoft / Eng
      OneMSBlind

      Microsoft Eng

      PRE
      Amazon
      OneMSBlindmore
      ... when doing the right thing isn't in your best interest.
      May 26
  • Politics is when your superiors get positive credit for shit they don't really know and when they don't get noticed for how little they really know.
    May 23 3
  • Intel / Eng CoryP
    Is there a lot of that at Google? I got the impression that overall the politics were pretty lighthearted compared to other companies.
    May 24 12
    • New / Eng discreet
      Politics is Strategy combined with Emotion and Survival.
      May 24
    • Google DWaU03
      Google is 120.000 people. I find it disturbing when people use a single data point from their experience to generalize to the entire company.. I personally find Google devoid of politics based on my single data point
      May 24
    • Dell LUHV04
      Can you give some examples of politics at google ?
      May 25
    • Google splB80
      Googlers who joined Google as their first jobs and stayed, are in some way, spoiled. Politic shit storms come in never ending waves is norm in most of big corporations.
      May 25
    • Facebook OlUncle
      I worked at G for a long time and have onboarded many senior xooglers, so, yes, I probably know the company better than you do.
      May 25
  • Google todamoon
    if you're lucky, you won't see much of it. if you're unlucky, you'll know what it is very quickly.
    May 24 2
    • Amazon bHXi80
      I think I was unlucky....
      May 24
    • Amazon / Eng srd
      Patpat
      May 24
  • Microsoft scarypanda
    politics is a skill that you need to master if you want to grow in your career
    May 23 2
    • Sorry, but I don't agree.

      It really depends on what individuals perceive "growing" as.
      Growth is:
      - power/position/title for some,
      - money for the most,
      - sense of accomplishment or learning for some (also harshly categorized as losers by bullies).

      Without politics, many things can be achieved in life, but not everyone has liberty to do what they love.
      May 24
    • IBM ApSI70
      For power, position, title as LaCroix mentioned it helps you navigate and doing it with respect is paramount as it requires leadership ... but for money, accomplishment, etc ... fuck politics ... just do you (and maybe transfer to a company that values you more for being you — proper culture fit helps here)

      There was another post somewhere about mission/product vs comp/culture in regards to Elon Musk. Gives you another perspective ...
      May 24
  • Bank of America aiminghigh
    Politics is just people making sure they get the most out of their career. Just realize everyone else is a person and is going to make good/bad and logical/emotional decisions and you’ll be fine
    May 23 0
  • Hertz !XXX!
    Do what is right for the job. Do not argue with people. Be nice with everybody. Do not spend time trying to catch attention of VP/Exec. Do not cheap talk or talk in the back of people. This is how you stay out of politics.
    May 24 5
    • Microsoft grm
      You can do the "right thing" and take appropriate credit for it to get vp/exec attention. That is just smart and not politics.
      May 24
    • Hertz !XXX!
      I do agree Microsoft. In this case, you get attention for your action. You do not spend time on trying to “catch” attention for small things or actions that are not yours for example.
      May 24
    • Microsoft toind
      Sometimes you have to be a vocal advocate for yourself, even to get fair credit. On the one hand, If you’re doing the right thing then you should also not shirk from standing up for yourself/ looking to safeguard your own work. OTOH Sadly this sometimes turns into a slippery slope.
      May 24
    • Apple mNueH
      What terrible advice. This is how you end up with low TC and working at Hertz
      May 24
    • Capital One NightMarch
      @mNueH or maybe you should be a decent human being who's life's value isn't validated by how much money they make and how much s***t they can talk on anonymous digital platforms. This disgusting sentiment is literally what is wrong with the world today and yeah... I work at a bank.
      May 24
  • Google / Eng pm / modi
    It's the euphemism for licking something.
    May 23 2
    • T-Mobile PjPA62
      Ass

      The word you are looking for is ass
      May 24
    • Cision YoHl60
      😂
      May 24
  • Microsoft / Eng YVvj14
    First level manages who don't write code. Get out if this applies to you.
    May 24 15
    • AnchorFree / Eng 🍪 cookie
      Agree with digitalocean, maybe the manger can do code reviews if he has enough time, but no point in sharing the coding burden, the point is he will always be distracted and pulled out of context, so his managerial code will be crap, but all others will be nice and play along, without pointing him to his mistakes (the manager will simply lack the time to understand all code base, so his code will be correct at small scale and wrong for long term and large scale)
      May 26
    • AnchorFree / Eng 🍪 cookie
      Keep the politics away from the team, plus prioritize properly, and estimate efforts correctly, push back to other teams and PMs who demand too much. That's an ideal manager from my point of view.
      May 26
    • Coinbase hBpg61
      A line manager who is newly promoted from IC and is filling the “technical lead manager” type role might be expected to code, but if they are progressing in their career, they should stop coding after 6 months - 1 year. If they are still coding, they are likely not focused on their managerial/leadership duties. Of course, this depends on the size of the company, the kind or product/service, the politics of the company, etc. but in my experience, managers who code tend not to be good managers. It’s even worse if they had an inexperienced leader tell them they had to code, so then they try to do both and can’t focus on their managerial responsibilities in a way that shelters their team and ensures that they are getting everything they need to succeed, including developing their skills and careers, org efficiency, recruiting/hiring, performance management, etc.
      May 29
    • Coinbase hBpg61
      “First line managers that don't write code can't make ad-hoc techically decisions that shield their team.” First of all, first line managers shouldn’t be making ad-hoc technical decisions. Perhaps this makes sense in an org where great coders and architects get promoted to manager as part of a career path, but I think that companies like Salesforce have it right by differentiating managers and ICs. Your principal and very senior ICs should be making technical decisions that shield your team, while the manager should be navigating organizational processes in a way that shields the team, either by getting the resources they need, keeping them from doing more work than they can handle, or getting impediments out of the way. If that first line manager was an experienced engineer themselves, then they will need to learn to delegate and coach their reports on how to keep them up to date on what’s relevant for them to do their job and ensure the team’s success. That is the huge challenge at every level of management. And team members who see their manager as someone who (by nature of being technical) should absorb what they are doing by osmosis after being in meetings all day (not practical) should think about why org structure exists. They should learn about the different roles and responsibilities of each role and level that fits together to make an organization successful.
      May 29
    • Navy Federal Credit Union / IT masti
      Coding and managing are two different disciplines. Being a great coder should not be a prerequisite for being a manager. That being said a front line managers should understand what their people do. For a code team that means understanding programming. That does not mean that they should be expert coders or write code. You can’t effectively lead a team if you don’t understand what they do, you may be able compensate for your deficit in other ways or your team may be able to, but either way you will not be able to serve your team in an optimal fashion. As you move to more senior levels of management the coding skills do become less though.
      Jun 3
  • Uber Mandrakes
    I would avoid to an extreme to engage in gossip. Do not ask about it, don’t comment, don’t listen. Just keep doing what you think is right. Try to understand why people disagree with you. Speak the truth when asked, and try to be kind. You’ll be fine.
    May 24 1
    • Riot Games
      ifbx7474

      Riot Games

      PRE
      Riot Games
      ifbx7474more
      Best advice here for early career people
      May 25
  • Amazon / Eng bingming
    Have you ever seen a project done in a very complicated manner then all of the sudden the engineer that led that project gets promoted? That’s corporate politics
    May 24 2
    • Intel / Eng mr_pleb
      It gets even "better" at Intel: the manager that fucks the project/org the hardest gets promoted the highest.
      May 24
    • Amazon !JeffBezos
      Promotion Oriented Design
      May 25
  • Adobe tydiggins
    Politics is finding synergy across orgs and bringing awareness to those realities through the lens of the customer.

    Then ruthlessly working to eliminate those who would rather have stagnant fiefdoms than work towards customer outcomes through leverage aligned with overall strategy.
    May 24 7
    • Adobe tydiggins
      Definitely have "way too highly an option of the impact I have". You probably really hate Python because of strict whitespace enforcement and love node.js but have no concept of the difference between prototypical inheritance and classical OOP inheritance.
      May 24
    • Microsoft / Eng YVvj14
      Are those buzz words in your PM cheat sheet? Not really sure how else my language preferences are relavent. If I'm being honest you're right I do dislike python :p (completely wrong about the other stuff though).
      May 24
    • Adobe tydiggins
      Happy to be wrong on the latter. Too many eng interview candidates lately that lack fundamentals :p (Python rules though).

      Was just picking apart your incorrect word choice of option. Cynical humor begets cynical humor.

      Good people do politics so others can do their job with minimal fuckery and fight against duplicate and/or lazy efforts around the company (if it is inside the same group or worse product then things are well fucked). People "failing upwards" is what causes so much political turmoil.
      May 24
    • Microsoft / Eng YVvj14
      I can respect that their are political plays made for the good of organizations. My snarky reply was in the spirit of the negative "politics" connotation in OP's question.
      May 24
    • Walmart.com 🌲50
      I never understand the actual implications of such rhetoric. If Adobe is what I will have to become eventually in future if I continue in software engineering, I would rather switch to data science. Thanks for the inspiration tydiggins
      May 26
  • Google
    AIMLOK

    Google

    BIO
    I once served 5TB
    AIMLOKmore
    Ask this question at TGIF. Wear your noogler hat.
    May 24 1
    • Google Methane
      Lol like "rabid Noogler"
      May 24
  • American Express vista133
    I don't do politics, I do what I believe is right for the company, I dont lick anyone stuff ... guess what? those who do adopt the opposite behavior get promoted with less leadership, expertise... your choice?
    May 24 0
  • Target / Data Jediy
    Politics is when someone does the work and someone else takes the credit. Politics is when one deserves promotion but the other lazy one gets the promotion. Politics is when you are forced to follow your senior despite you having all evidences that your opinion is the right one. Politics is when the culture promotes people based on "who" you know rather than "what" you know. Politics reminds me of toxic Walmart environment in Bentonville Arkansas. It kills creativity, kills innovation, kills enthusiasm, and leaves your company with filthy political people good for nothing!
    May 24 3
    • New / Eng EzcI23
      How to deal with gossipers and seniors who are taking the credit of the work you did?
      May 24
    • Target / Data Jediy
      I wish I knew. I became victim of politics and eventually just found a better place to work, where I'm more challenged, and more learned because of solving those tough problems. Honestly, you can't change the company culture. You can just do yourself a favor and find a new job!
      May 24
    • Nvidia tronp
      Wonderfully summed up.
      May 24
  • Google g4ndu
    I cannot recommend this book enough to identify the most common "power play" politics and how you can protect against it. https://amzn.to/2HzsRIl
    May 24 3
    • LinkedIn 🚽🚰☑️
      +1
      I've read this book and it's good. One note of warning, you'll need to conciously practice a lot to reflect and identify things for a while before you start identifying the patterns more naturally
      May 24
    • IBM ApSI70
      Right on @LinkedIn
      May 24
    • New / IT ew18
      Honestly it is a good book, but I am afraid that a lot of its stuff will be applied by people. It is nice to protect yourself against these techniques, but when you see other people are using it, 0 value added.
      May 25
  • Microsoft toind
    In general, understand peoples wants needs goals motivations, do not assume they will be selfless and team oriented, and notice how their actions result in outcomes for themselves or particular others. Learn the rules of the game, and take whatever actions needed to keep yourself out of it (if you prefer to remain “clean”). Try to keep your soul alive though if you can — this means both not yielding to temptation and not getting into the habit of expecting/assuming ill intent on the part of others. Act as if everyone is honest but be prepared to defend yourself and your interests within the realms of integrity.
    May 24 3
    • LinkedIn nubody
      Dude what happened to you? It is awesome that you are still staying positive after all.
      May 24
    • Microsoft toind
      Er what?
      I meant the above to be practical advice for those inclined towards notions of idealism (like op appears to be, and like myself), not necessarily to reflect any personal trauma or bitterness :) I’ve had my share of shitty situations but not too hung up about any of it luckily.
      May 24
    • New / Mgmt
      FourHrWkWk

      New Mgmt

      PRE
      EY, IBM, Financial Times, Google
      BIO
      Founder with Interests in investing, energy, crypto, cannabis, tech. Multiple startups, I enjoy mentoring entrepreneurs.
      FourHrWkWkmore
      “not getting into the habit of expecting/assuming ill intent on the part of others”. 👏
      May 25
  • Sirius XM Yndnd
    Politics is anything that doesn’t involve getting something done that clearly benefits the business. Scenarios that there are justification for but maybe you disagree with don’t count—politics is the stuff that you spot when nearly everyone who isn’t political looks at it and says, in disbelief, “what is this” or “why would we do that.”

    Politics is empire building, reorgs that appear to have no meaningful business purpose, people getting promoted for things other than merit, people who get crapped on despite doing a good job, people who take credit for things they did not do, brown nosing superiors, intentional complexity when simplicity will suffice or be better, change for the sake of change, perpetuating or implementing bad processes, and making decisions that don’t put the company first.

    Rise above the BS and do what you think is right. If doing that gets you in trouble, it’s time to move on to somewhere where there is less BS.
    May 24 6
    • Sirius XM Yndnd
      I agree that people sometimes have to play that game even when they don’t want to and that having people protect their directs and chain of command below them is very helpful.

      The best line of command is having two or three levels above you of people who know how to play the game if needed but operate in a “no BS” mode by default. I hate politics because it’s a monumental waste of my time but when people play it with me, I play as dirty but by the book as possible so they know not to even try next time.
      May 24
    • Google sQlO48
      OP
      By playing by the book, what do you mean? Some elaboration, examples?
      May 24
    • Intel / Eng mr_pleb
      You just described Intel.
      May 25
    • New / Mgmt
      FourHrWkWk

      New Mgmt

      PRE
      EY, IBM, Financial Times, Google
      BIO
      Founder with Interests in investing, energy, crypto, cannabis, tech. Multiple startups, I enjoy mentoring entrepreneurs.
      FourHrWkWkmore
      I think those aren’t politics so much as the traits of a sinking company. And yes, do what’s right in cooperation with others.
      May 25
    • Intel / Eng mr_pleb
      Politics is one of the reasons companies are sinking.
      May 25
  • Amazon Biggles
    If you think you are bad at politics, remain an IC, and get your promotions by switching jobs.

    Also, don’t worry about your neighbors TC being higher than yours, just whether yours is enough.

    90% of politics is now gone.

    You’ll be happier that way.
    May 25 2
  • Microsoft idknbd
    There's no such thing as being immune to politics
    May 24 1
    • Zillow Group ckrbsgjly
      Thank you. If you think you "don't do politics" like some people have claimed, you either aren't aware of what that word actually means or you literally don't work with people ever.
      May 24