Magazine article Black Enterprise

Through the Grapevine

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Through the Grapevine

Article excerpt

Network internally to further your career

You've purposefully avoided hallway corner conversations navigated around the sea of complaints discussed at the water cooler. You've politely excused yourself from the bathroom chitchat. And you've held your tongue and refrained from taking sides in any office debates. Congratulations, you have managed to stay out of office politics. But is this grounds for celebration--or a reason for concern?

"Sometimes you pay when you don't play," says Letitia Doe, a psychologist for an Illinois correctional facility. "Engaging in office politics doesn't have to be dirty, but it does have to be done." Doe can cite several examples where participating in office politics and making use of the company grapevine provided her with opportunities in state government.

"I learned about my current position from a colleague I attended a professional conference with who just one day stopped by my office to share a bit of news," she says. "Similarly, I've helped others locate equally satisfying positions by just passing the word along that there was an opening in a particular department."

Lorna Harrell, manager of employment and employee relations for a hospital in suburban Chicago, agrees with Doe that engaging in office politics and using the company grapevine can be helpful to one's career. The grapevine is a "very important source of information that grows out of office politics," she says. "By not participating in office politics in a positive way, you may be stunting your professional growth." You shut yourself off from vital information sources found on the grapevine, people who know about new company trends, changes, job openings and other opportunities.

Harrell maintains that employees who avoid networking internally lose the benefit of shaping or refuting what others say about their own performance, thus forfeiting the opportunity to spread the word about their job performance and effectiveness. …

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