3 Lessons to Stay Away from Office Politics for Recent Graduates

So you’re new to this thing called the working world, and although you may know the general rules as stipulated in a company handbook, and you know that you should dress well and be on time, you might not know too much about office politics.

No matter how free of politics your office environment may seem, politics is present in every organization. It’s just human nature. When you first start working, it’s hard to get it all figured out, especially since your last experience was being in school — a place that’s pretty much politics-free.

Here’s how to navigate office politics:

1. Don’t get too tangled up in office politics. Just be aware.

Every office works differently, as you’ll soon find out the longer you work in any given environment. Office politics is basically all the other stuff that goes on that isn’t related to work. It’s the way that relationships among co-workers and superiors operate.

In my experience, the best plan of action is to not get too tangled up in office politics, but you shouldn’t ignore it either. By getting too involved, you lose focus on your actual work and become immersed in gossip and the he-said, she-said. Don’t suck up to someone just because others determine that this one person is important. At the same time, be aware of the office pecking order and act accordingly.

2. Be approachable and personable.

Doing office politics the right way means simply being genuine and approachable. Don’t try too hard to be liked just for the sake of people liking you. This is a recipe for everyone disliking you. The best way to go about office relationship is to be open and kind and approachable with everyone in the office, no matter what his or her position is.

Just work on building friendly, professional relationships with all your co-workers and bosses by partaking in all company social functions, especially in the beginning, and by going out to lunch with others. In others, just be nice!

3. Understand the power of association.

One thing I learned the hard way during my first job is that you are judged by who and what you associate with. In my experience, I became particularly friendly with a few co-workers who had been with the company for a while. We all become great friends because of our similar interests and personalities.

The only problem was that these co-workers constantly complained and badmouthed different superiors. Soon enough, I became associated in the eyes of my boss with these co-workers who complained and had bad attitudes. Of course, this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be friendly with everyone; at the same time, understand that navigating office politics means being discerning and aware about how you are viewed by others.

How do you stay away from office politics at your workplace? Share your tips below!

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Kate Wilson is a freelance writer who primarily contributes to College Crunch. She enjoys writing about trends in education and college life, and she also loves giving recent grads career and personal finance advice. Kate welcomes your comments below!


  1. Alison Elissa Horner on the 2nd January

    This post is relevant to the discussion of office politics. While a recent graduate may feel timid about diving into office politics it is important to learn how to play the game!

  2. Heather Physioc on the 11th January

    I have worked at some agencies where gossip and politics played an enormous role in the company culture. People bonded over hating their jobs. That’s how I knew it was time to leave. So I guess one tip is … if the employee gossip and company politics is swallowing you whole, move on. Believe it or not, there ARE companies out there that don’t suffer from this problem and where culture is a real priority. I find that we see more of the gossip and office politics problems in younger Type A employees that are fresh out of college and quite sure they know everything and can do it better than everyone. You know, the “entitled” ones. But with some coaching and friendly guidance, most come around. The ones who don’t find their ways out. That said, we have just as many, if not more, young, ambitious, excited fresh-out-of-college talent that come in with a great attitude and ready to rock. The gossips and drama queens are really the exception, not the rule.

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