This month – getting started and getting on in a new job, a somewhat unexpected take on your career after your masters… and what’s on CareersLink.
The Florentine statesman, writer and philosopher Niccolo Machaivelli was born on May 3rd 1469. Many of you may be familiar with Signor Machiavelli through the word “machiavellian” – a word we use to describe devious, cunning, unprincipled backstabbing behaviour. This is an unfortunate legacy; Machiavelli was a keen and objective observer of human behaviour, an early expert in what we now call “office politics”, and how it can be used in a constructive and positive way (it’s worth noting here, Machiavelli only advocated literal backstabbing when the stakes were high and every other non-violent method had failed).
Some useful Machiavellian wisdom:
- “All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger – it’s impossible – but calculating risk and acting decisively.”
- “Where the willingness is great, the difficulties cannot be great. ”
- “It is essential that in entering a new province (job – Ed.) you should have the good will of its inhabitants.”
- “He who is highly esteemed is not easily conspired against.” ( As an employer at a panel event recently said to postgrads, “If I had one piece of advice to give you, it would be just be nice!”.)
- “There is no other way to guard yourself against flattery than by making men understand that telling you the truth will not offend you.” (Machiavelli wrote an entire chapter, Chapter XXIII Avoiding Flatterers and Sycophants, on the prudent management of such people – at the same time as offering pragmatic advice on how to use flattery (correctly and pragmatically) yourself!).
Learning more from Machiavelli:
As you prepare to enter the workplace (see below for a taster of current opportunities on CareersLink, our one stop job shop) after your postgraduate study, it’s worth considering the best way to start your new job and settle in quickly and successfully. Office politics are an important part of any role in any organisation. And they are not always bad – in fact, office politics are more often very good for you and your colleagues. Political Skills at Work by Ferris et al. is an depth analysis and guide to developing your own political skills – basically making the most of your personality, values and integrity to make friends and get on in the workplace, as well as successfully navigate difficult situations and people. You can read a journal paper by the same authors on the subject here: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0090-2616(00)00007-3
How are your existing political skills?
- Try this Political skills self-assessment
Resources for developing your political skills at work:
- Although this article is written for managers, its useful for anyone at any stage of their career – partly because in the modern workplace there is an increasing expectation of leading from within, partly because it is a way for you to take control and be a role model in your work place. And besides, the likelihood is that you WILL some day be a manager: https://www.forbes.com/2010/05/25/office-politics-psychology-leadership-managing-ccl.html
- This highlights a key issue in many people’s professional development – focusing on competence in the job at the expense of work relationships: http://uk.businessinsider.com/5-signs-youre-doing-office-politics-all-wrong-and-how-to-master-the-game-2016-7?r=US&IR=T/#-2
- For those worried about office politics compromising their values and authenticity: “You must stick to your principles, without fail. Before taking any action that’s fuelled by office politics, ask yourself why you’re doing it,” Bradberry wrote. “If you’re motivated by fear, revenge, or jealousy, don’t do it. If it conflicts with your values and beliefs about fair behaviour, it’s better not to get involved.” And more sound advice : http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20150813-winning-at-office-politics
Looking for a job? Have you remembered to check CareersLink? You will find employers looking for:
- Candidates to fill a variety of roles in charities and NGOs
- Editors, publishing assistants and more of medical/science journals
- German speaking business analysts
- Portuguese speaking office managers
- Researcher for Infrastructure Property and Law
- Postgraduate data scientists
- Marketing executives, brand managers, buyers
- Transport planning, building surveyors
- SEO specialists, web designers software engineers
- …and more!
Start exploring Careers Link for jobs after your masters today.