I am just a recent undergrad. You know, young and naive. There are many different kinds of politics going on in my workplace. I am really feeling tired and uncomfortable. I am wondering what can I do to deal with them? BTW, I am 21 years old.
There are three huge components to getting plugged in and comfortable. I am not sure of the order of importance, but one thing is for sure, the first one I am listing almost never is the most important.
Component 1: Doing a good job on your work is one of the components, but often is not even in the mix when it comes to the political dynamics of the workplace.
Component 2: "Human Emotional Intelligence", "sensitivity," "awareness," likeable, stuff like that. Some people are naturals. Some people are hopeless. I think it is well known the intelligence for programming often is packaged when we are born without the kind of intelligence of this component. The fact that you are struggling with it could mean you are not naturally great at this. This can be a serious problem. If you don't have it, it puts you at a disadvantage, but the situation hardly is ever black and white. You probably are going to need to work on learning compensating things you can do. You might find some work places easier to work within than others.
Component 3: Friends and allies. Everyone needs these, but it has to come naturally. If you are out there making allies to face the environment, people can pick up on that and stay away from you because you feel like you are forcing something. If your boss respects you, that can a huge friend and ally, we all need the support of at least some peers as well.
Home front: Some of the best help I ever got was from a spouse who never set foot in my workplace, but was able to figure out a lot from what I would tell her, it was uncanny. If you are lucky enough to be close to someone outside of work who can coach you, that can help a lot too.
The thing that threw me the most was the fact that the workplace often is not a place where honesty and facts prevail. In fact, a tendency toward unguarded honestly can be a liability. Everybody but jerks want to be honest, and open, but these do not always work. You have to be really careful about what you say to whom, and you have to do it without looking like you are being careful.
I just completed my engineering 3 years before and I had been in your situation. Politics can't be avoided at any place. You need to develop patience to tackle people who are playing politics. You cannot leave the job as politics is being played and you have observe people and figure out who are playing what kind of politics and behave accordingly.
Understand that there will be many ways in which the same issue can be seen and it will be interpreted by people in the which will be convenient and which would give them an upper hand. Dealing with these kind of people smartly is what proves that we are exercising our knowledge that we acquired all these years.
According to my little knowledge, observing people and hearing the other person's statement completely will give you a better hand in any argument. I personally believe in this logic and even if it doesn't help out then one can come to know the pattern or the way in which those people think in two or three incidents. It is not necessary that the incidents should happen with us but, we should be smart and attentive enough to be able to grasp the behavior of all those people who play politics.
No one should play politics but unfortunately at this time, playing politics is so common that those who doesn't play politics people feel that he/she is planning something very big. We need not prove anyone what we think but yes, we can always be cautious enough and attentive enough so that when it comes to us we can be safe enough because, "Prevention is better than Cure". This doesn't apply only to health but at everywhere.
Recording/Documenting all the conversation before taking any act is one thing which I would suggest and stress upon, because that is the place where every person who is playing politics would be targeting anyone. He will communicate things verbally and we will do as we are very new to the work and will end up falling into their trap which gets us bad name.
Whatever is verbally communicated, draft a mail of it and send it the concerned person and then proceed with the job that you have been asked to do. This would keep you in a safer position and would be useful to defend yourself if and when you are blamed.