The political landscape is rife with pitfalls: awkward hand shakes, tempting pony tails and closeted affairs. Office politics can be just as difficult even though they may not feature as much in the media. Unless you left the lights on and the pub is watching. Our advice to our contractors is stay out of it. The politics, not the pub (although it might be best to take it easy there but that’s a story for another day). Remember why you are there. To solve a problem, to get the job done. Getting involved in office politics will distract you from your purpose, damage your reputation and consequently limit your opportunities.
Businesses engage contractors for a specific purpose and they are paying not just for flexibility but for focus on a project or covering a vacancy. They are not paying you to gossip or to climb aboard others’ emotional rollercoasters. You will gain huge credibility from your employer which will enhance your reputation as a contractor in this small market by steering clear of the office drama and ensuring you complete the work you’ve been brought in to do.
Many contractors tell us that it is one of the benefits of contracting, not getting sucked into turbulent politics or tripping over others’ emotional baggage but some find it a struggle to keep their distance from the drama. As a result there are contractors whose reputation has been tarnished by getting involved in aspects of the business that are not their reason for being employed. Ironically, in this anti-political campaign, we need to remind you that people talk and if your contracting reputation is as a trouble maker not a problem solver, you might find yourself the subject of gossip. Don’t be remembered for hindering - not helping -progress towards the business’s objectives.Of course we’re not suggesting you shut yourself off and avoid all human contact, business is after all about people working together. But focus on the issue not the person, the facts not the emotion and you will gain a reputation that will get you repeat business with your employer, positive referrals in a small, talkative market and confidence from your recruiter to represent you for the best contracts in town.