Office Politics


I have an office politics story for you that is so old, I had red hair.

(I am talking about the ’90s. That was a very sad time in my career.)

I was a recruiting manager for a hot minute with a shady staffing company. There was another recruiting manager on site. He did temps. I did permanent placement. His name was Tony and he was a dick. As an example of his dickness, he had a huge office with a window but stuck me in an office with two secretaries due to ‘logistics issues’.


After 90 days, I quit that job. Two weeks notice. I was very professional. And I found a new recruiting role. Then I came down with the flu. But I didn’t want to be THAT PERSON who resigns and gets sick. I thought — I’ll go to work, get some stuff done and then go home.

Remember, this is the ’90s. We didn’t have wellness programs and I had AOL dial-up.

So I went to the office at 9:52 AM and worked through lunch. My official boss, who worked in another location, called my house looking for me. Then she called my desk and was surprised that I answered the phone.

“Tony told me you didn’t show up, today.”

I was like — uhm, you just called me at my desk. And Tony is a dick.

She said, “Well, that’s weird. He said you were no call, no show.”

I said, “I don’t work in a factory and I don’t report to him. And obviously I’m here.”

My boss asked me what time I arrived at work and I had to admit that, yes, I was 52 minutes late.

She said, “You really ought to call me when you’re late.”

So I asked, “Are you joking? Okay, how late? What if I’m seven minutes late? What if I’m fourteen minutes late? How about I call you if I’m 22 minutes late but not if I’m six minutes late. Are those the rules?”

My boss was silent for a moment and then said, “You’re almost done here. Don’t ruin it.”

I hung up the phone.

Then I tore into Tony’s office like a lunatic and accused him of being a dick. I also touched my face and touched his desk. I sneezed and didn’t cover my nose. I coughed in his direction. Mouth open. It was awful but he deserved to get the flu. Then I said, “You are a dick. Confirmed.”

Tony was such a pussy and couldn’t make eye contact and said something like, “I’m sorry. I thought you didn’t show up.”

Whatever. I know for a fact that he saw me that morning. He didn’t think to correct the record because he was a dick.

So why am I telling you this? Because office politics stories are so dumb. Nobody cares. And no matter where you work, you will work with a dick. And the stakes always feel more important and consequential to you than to anyone else.

But if you want to share your story, join @weknownext at 3 p.m.ET today for #nextchat with special guest Steve Browne (@sbrowneHR).

Have fun!

And screw Tony, by the way. He can suck it.

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