Office Politics: The Woman's Guide to Beat the System and Gain Financial Success


Warning! This is not for the fainthearted. Steele offers something that does not exist in success books for women, a brutally honest expose of what's really behind office politics. Steele's techniques and career strategy for women who want to gain financial independence is powerfully based on his experience...

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Office Politics: The Woman's Guide to Beat the System and Gain Financial Success

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Warning! This is not for the fainthearted. Steele offers something that does not exist in success books for women, a brutally honest expose of what's really behind office politics. Steele's techniques and career strategy for women who want to gain financial independence is powerfully based on his experience at 22 companies over the past 30 years. His realistic advice and practical methods work!

Common mistakes

How to dress for success

Safely inflate your resume

Dealing with rumors and lies

Identify rivals and enemies quickly

When to speak up, when to shut up

Why office politics are everywhere

Stereotypes that must be defeated

Women's major disadvantage

Women's biggest advantage

Learn from criticism

A woman's classic enemy

Control how the boss sees you

Respond to patronizing properly

Ask for help without looking stupid

Get What You Want Instead Of What They Offer!

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Editorial Reviews

Camille McElroy
This book, as the author warns on the cover, is not for the fainthearted! Steele's powerfully honest portrayal of how corporations actually see women is based on his 30 years of experience as an executive and consultant at numerous Fortune 1000 companies. Most working women realize that men and ambitious women are willing to fight to get what they want. Steele tells a woman how, when, who, and why she must fight (play office politics) to get what she wants instead of what they offer. Everything is based on Steele's fundamental belief: Money dictates each and every human being's future. Without money, a woman is powerless. The counsel he offers is blunt. His tactics are practical. The overall strategy is to help an individual become financially secure by beating the system. Steele was shocked as his only child, a daughter, grew. At every turn, society, school, church attempted to make her into "a polite domestic." Thus, the overall tone of the book feels like a training manual for female guerrillas who are outnumbered eight to one in the corporate management war. At the end, Steele resorts to a variation of Tough Love. He exposes, then ravages, cultural myths and fairy tales that women, and men, have bought into. The purpose? So that a woman can make realistic choices about her career path and life's goals. Bravo! -- Boston Globe
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780962067129
  • Publisher: Steel Ball Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1994
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 8.42 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Read an Excerpt

The key point to understanding how The System works is simple, it's money. Major corporations are the only kinds of organizations that can pay $60k to women under 30. They are the only ones that do pay $150k to women of 37. They are the only places where a woman can make enough money so that she is the person who gets to decide how to spend the rest of her life. What You're Going To Learn. Unlike men, women despise playing politics. To understand why office politics are necessary, and normal, first you'll learn how the world really works. As startling as this may seem, the world does not work the way you were led to believe by parents, preachers, professors and politicians.

The next thing you are going to find out is why men are always in charge. Then you'll discover some surprising things about how biology, plus the brainwashing our culture subjects females to, influences you and your behavior inside the corporation. Finally, you will learn that men really are animals. Once you understand this, you'll easily grasp the specifics of office politics, in short, how you can beat the system.

The goal is to have you (a) understand the reality of being female in the corporate world (b) accept the reality of being female in the corporate world. Once you understand, and accept, you'll be able to use the techniques, strategy and tactics in this book to make enough money so that you can:

(1) Leave the corporate world and follow your bliss
(2) Stay in the corporate world and make $150k
(3) Stay in the corporate world and make $60k doing a job you enjoy while easily defeating office politicians who try to make your life miserable. Why Office Politics? The only function of office politics is to get what you want instead of what they offer:
  1. Biggest raise possible.
  2. Quickest promotion possible.
  3. Assigned tasks you enjoy or with the best visibility.
  4. Moved to the best office with the best equipment.
  5. Transferred to the department with the best future.
  6. Not laid off until you can find a good job elsewhere.

To profit from this book, you must know what you want, when you want it and what price you're willing to pay to get it.

Your Goals. Your immediate goal is to make as much money as possible doing something you can tolerate. Your ultimate goal is to make enough money so that you can live comfortably while doing something you enjoy. Who Should Read This Book? Anybody, male or female, from 18-58 can profit from it. I've aimed at a young woman of about 24. You're ambitious, conscientious and unafraid of hard work. You have some college or a degree. You're experienced enough and bright enough to have an uneasy sense that intelligence, dedication, hard work and fair play are not all there is to success. You're right.

This Book Is Realistic. This book is not about how to do what you like to do, it's about how to get enough money so that you can do what you want to do. It's about how to achieve a long range goal one step at a time. Learning how to get what you want out of life is what this book is all about. Learning to stop wanting to have your cake and eat it too is what this book is about.

The Secret They Will Never Tell You. Because they have been led to believe it, most women, young women in particular, think it takes a college education plus years of training and experience to make big money working for a corporation. Nope! A high school grad of average intelligence can do most jobs. Some tasks can be done by chimpanzees or trained dogs. In short, business is nothing more than common sense. No wonder they keep it a secret, right?

Everyone realizes this after a few companies and a few years. But, to preserve self-esteem and keep others from taking their jobs, people pretend the work they do is mega complicated, requiring years of experience and an MBA.

Bullbleep! Paper pushing is paper pushing. That's all anyone does other than attend endless meetings and talk on the phone. Ninety percent of the job, your job, any job, is communicating clearly while getting along with people. Office Politics Required. To drive your salary from $20k to $60k before you're 30, you have to get promoted quickly and often. But, every ambitious person wants the same promotions you want. And, since most jobs can be done by average high school grads, the promotion always goes to someone half as competent as you but twice as skilled in office politics.

That's not news, is it? Who got the best grades in college? Was it the girl who worked the hardest and did the best job? The girl who went to see the professor when he had office hours? How 'bout the girl who went to dinner with him? Who else got good grades? Who else made cheerleader? Who else made class president or whatever?

Hey! Out here in the business world it's far worse. But it's out here where you can make the big bucks. Money, alone, makes it possible for you to be the person who determines your future. But, you're going to learn how to make big bucks without doing the equivalent of going to dinner with the professor.

After you have money, you can choose to stay in the corporate world or you can choose something else, like starting your own business or starting a family or becoming a consultant or whatever you want. The point is, you will be independent. You will have choices. You will never be a wage slave. When you have money, you're the person who gets to decide how you spend the rest of your life. Increasing your options is what this book is fundamentally about because you're the person who must decide which of life's infinite paths to take.

Creative Writing, Resumes. At the first corporation I joined after getting out of the Army, my boss called me into his office a few months after I started. He asked me to close the door. This guy was about 35, nicely dressed, relaxed, confident, polite and on his way up. In an idle moment he had compared my resume with my application. He began gently by saying that Personnel always verified the information on applications, especially recent salaries and education. I nodded, "Uh, huh." Then he stated bluntly, "Everything's off the record."

He said I had been hired two levels below where I should have been based on my experience and education. It would take him a year to promote me to that level because of Personnel policy and rules. Then, as if trying not to hurt my feelings, he explained:

"Everybody assumes resumes are inflated. So everyone who reads your resume automatically discounts it 10 to 40 percent. If you tell the truth you are offered 10 to 40 percent less than your actual experience merits. That's what happened to you."

Inwardly I was outraged, indignant and offended. It didn't seem fair. It didn't make sense. To this day it seems foolish but that's how The System works. Sad but true.

Your First Creative Resume. Get thyself to the library. Read as many different books on writing resumes as you can stand. Ten is minimum. Pick three different formats. Write your resume three different ways. Contact friends outside the company. Send all three versions. Ask them to comment, edit and to please send a copy of their resume when returning yours. Incorporate ideas you like.

No matter where you worked, the duties and responsibilities you describe must mention skills that are transferable to a corporate paper pushing environment. Buzzwords for transferable skills include: schedule, train, plan, hire, monitor costs, develop budgets, forecast, purchase, prepare reports. Other facts newcomers must include (a) held a job (b) held a second more important job © held a third even more important job (d) worked with other employees and the public (e) did something other than lifting or serving.

Inflating Yourself. If you were a Box Girl, call yourself Assistant Cashier and describe those duties as your own. You could have done them, right? If you were a waitress, your title was Lead Server. Duties: prepare work schedules, monitor employee attendance records, prepare register drawers, schedule job interviews, interview prospective employees, train cashiers and hostesses, arrange for equipment repairs.

If you were a Sales Clerk at Nordstrom, your resume title is Assistant Sales Manager. Duties: track sales vs forecasts, keep records on sales people's performance and bonus requirements, train new hires on the computer system, prepare inventory reports. Whatever is similar to corporate paperwork. If you didn't do this stuff you certainly could have. That's the essence of inflating your resume. No big deal. Right?

Risk Taking Required. Does this sound familiar? To profit from this book, you must enjoy beating the system. If you're a wimp who obeys . . . That was in the first chapter. But there is a whole chapter coming up with the same title as this paragraph to explain why and how you must take risks to beat the system. Inflating and slanting your resume is the first risk you have to take.

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Table of Contents

What It's About
The Second Biggest Secret
Your Goals
Females Who Came Before
Creative Writing, Resumes
The Play's The Thing
New On The Job
Whacked Out Co-Workers
Kept Down And Out
Capitalist Pig To Be
Dealing With What You Were Dealt
Time Is Short
Big Picture Research
Risk Taking Required
Rivals And Enemies
The Other Woman
A Degree Of Difference
Run To Freedom
The Company Defined
Office Sex
Why It's All Screwed Up
Status Quo Forever
Corporate Decision Making
Defining The Terms
Helpful Hints
Avoid Layoffs
Unwritten Rules
Temporary Leave
Temps Get To Choose
Meeting Hints
Middle Managers
Understand The Boss
Manage The Boss
Rainy Day Woman
52 Random Truths
Get That Raise
Get Promoted
Understand Yourself
Hunters Not Gatherers
Mythical Glass Ceilings
Reality Check
Be Tough
Children? Now, Later, Never
Now What?
Must Books
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2008

    Bashing your head against a brick wall?

    I'm retired now. Spent 20 years in the Army. Fist 15 were great, last 5 I had had enough. Spent most of it bashing my head against a brick wall, tring to get things done - fighting the politics of idiots above me that didn't have a clue. If I had had this book back then - maybe my life would have been easier! Oh well, just use the info in it for future negotiations - or to help someonelse out who is just starting out.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2008

    Good but needs updating

    A dated but honest look at life in the work force, Don wrote the book for his daughter and young women in general but is adaptable to men up to age of 40. The book is brutally honest if you have been in the work force you can easily relate to what is in the book and will have you laughing at the truthful way this book portrays working for the company, bosses, crazy co workers etc

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2004


    This book, although written originally for women, is just as helpful for me. As a 24y/o in Corporate America, it's helped me understand who truly motivates executives - hint, it's not the creation of gobs of wealth. Wanna know more? Pick up the book! Highly recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2003

    A no-holds-barred guide to success in corporate life

    Don Steele¿s approach to office politics may not be conventional, but it¿s the most practical book on the subject I¿ve ever come across. After a single read through I was ten times more able to tell what was going on at work, how I was destroying my chances, and why the frustrating, stifling corporate culture I worked in works the way it does¿.and how I could make it work for me. Machiavelli would have approved. Don now runs a coaching program that I am looking forward to attending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2003


    Sub-titled, 'The Woman's Guide To Beat The System & Gain Financial Success,' this book is a real eye-opener for anyone who IS, has-been or will-be in today's marketplace. I found it totally coincides with my experiences, good and bad, working for Fortune 500 companies. Steele has begun a coaching program and I will be taking part. The savvy man or woman in today's workforce needs an edge. OFFICE POLITICS is it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2003

    A wonderful expose of what corporations are really like.

    Even though this book was written for women, I found that 99% of the advice within applied to me. It really helped me succeed while working for Arrow Electronics, a Fortune 200 company, and it helped me get the job, and get taken seriously in my workgroup although I was the youngest one there. I highly recommend it to anyone working for a company with more than 100 employees. And it's also a great look at some realities of life that I probably would have had to learn the hard way if I didn't read about them. I am happy to say that I now work for myself, and this book both helped me succeed at a large corporation and it helped me transition out of one successfully too. I have a 20 year old sister, and I wouldn't want her to enter the workforce without reading this book - in fact, I gave her a copy a few months ago.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2003

    An Undiscovered Business Classic

    Office Politics tells how corporations really function instead of how they should function. While it is written for women starting their careers or re-entering the work force, men can learn a lot from it. The basic idea is that the only real reason to work for a corporation is to make as much money as you can as fast as possible, so you can become independent and live the way you want. Promoting yourself, avoiding or dealing with problem people and situations, understanding your boss's motives, and changing companies are dealt with in detail. The author knows what he's talking about since he worked at a lot of corporations and both lived in and studied corporate sociology. The author has also started a coaching program that I have signed up for. All of R. Don Steele's books give you the (sometimes unpleasant) truth in a direct and frequently humorous way. I highly recommend this book, and all his other books, if you're interested in the social realities of life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2001

    Astoundingly Honest and Forthright!

    Tired of reading all those other business books that are vague and unclear? This book will shock you with its length, breadth, and specifics. I cant think of any other book I'd recommend more to women (or men!) who are trying to make it in the corporate world. The best part about this book: no bull. No new-age theorizing, down to earth and REAL. It will probably turn many women off from the business world entirely. Still, Forewarned is Forearmed. Steele makes a big point of explaining the *why* of the business world. This is huge. Instead of busting your rump to do be creative and expose the company to risk, Steele teaches you to understand that it's about survival in the BIG companies. Risk is not generally acceptable. The real kicker to this book is that Steele teaches you with very specific answers to very specific situations. And he prepares you to do what we all want to do: Get the He** out with as much loot as possible. I cant recommend any book more strongly than I'm recommending this one. Female or male, this is the info on the corporate world that helps you cut through the garbage. 300+ pages of hard-earned wisdom in straightforward language. Are you ready to handle the truth?!

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