The Most Important Work Skill You Never Learn in School

By Dan Callahan via

The most important issue you will face at work is the one thing they never teach you.

Office politics.

Yes, office politics, the issue that is often the worst criticism you can level at a company, as in “there’s a lot of office politics there.”

Well, it turns out there’s a lot of office politics played everywhere. In fact, it’s often what determines an employee’s level of success in an organization and those who master it are the winners, like it or not.

At its best, it’s the art and science of fitting in, of learning how to be a team player and of being recognized for good work. For instance, when a new assignment comes in for you to complete, it’s knowing to ask who is most interested in that project (hint: if it’s the boss, it goes to the top of your priority list).

Many who enter the workforce fresh out of school struggle with this concept. On its surface, office politics sounds like a trivial, almost petty practice. The issue of who likes whom makes work feel like a replication of the worst aspects of high school.

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