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Obstinacy is a losing move in office politics

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in Your Office Coach

Q: “One of my co-workers, ‘Ethan,’ has considerable clout with our manager, more than any of the rest of us. This has been going on for years. A few months ago, Ethan and I had a serious disagreement when he directed me to do a particular task. I chose not to complete the task, because I felt he did not have the authority to assign work to me.

“Ever since the conflict with Ethan, my boss has been treating me differently. He seldom talks to me and will openly correct me in meetings. I’ve also started getting undesirable assignments, undoubtedly due to Ethan’s influence.

“I am fed up with this situation and ready to leave. However, our business was recently acquired by a much larger company, which will greatly expand the career options here. Should I stay or go?” Undecided

A: After enduring this aggravation for years, do you really want to bail out when the solution may be right around the corner? Since transferring internally allows you to escape the pain of a job search, leaving now would seem to be a foolishly impulsive decision.

To capitalize on these expanded opportunities, however, you will need positive recommendations. Like it or not, your boss is your most important reference, so repairing that relationship should be your top priority. As it is, you are actually shooting yourself in the foot by intentionally provoking his protégé.

Refusing to accept the task from Ethan was a politically stupid move. A more intelligent response would have been to initially agree, then check back with your manager to see if this was a valid request. Instead, you chose to childishly convey your resentment by ignoring the assignment, thereby making yourself appear obstinate and uncooperative.

If you want to be considered for future opportunities, you need to stop fretting about favoritism and start focusing on your own career. Playing silly games with annoying people will only serve to damage your reputation.

Are you politically savvy or politically stupid? This may give you a clue: Six Secrets of Politically Savvy People.

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