I will be misguiding you if I was to say that politics never occurs in my line of work. The truth is that politics is absolutely everywhere. However it is up to you as the director of your destiny to decide how you manage it. Politics works at many levels. Here are some examples. You have:
a) Groups/organisations/individuals that aggressively look to gain solely for themselves at whatever cost. I call them the ‘bulldozers’.
b) People who decide never to get involved with politics but as they are not in the loop, they continue doing the same thing and not getting the desired results.
c) Finally, the ones who are more subtle and shrewd. They are clear in what they want but will look at win/win situations so that everyone involved in a process is valued.
Where do you fall under?
I used to fall under B) big time. I was sabotaging myself thinking I could do things for myself or even worst, expecting change to happen. Only when I consciously changed my circle, made adjustments to my personal development was I then starting to connect with key players and gatekeepers. I am a lot better now at sifting out the BS! 😉
The angle I am coming from is that politics can be seen as a good thing if everyone involved in a particular process is properly valued as a stakeholder and also benefit from what you are offering. You MUST identify the key people in your area that can ignite your career. If they come to you naturally, that is fantastic but if not, you may require you to schmooze occasionally! However, if it benefits your career and you are not hurting the other person but rather appealing to their interests, go for it! This is where you are becoming example C)
Dale Carnegie’ How to win friends and influence people’.