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Office Politics Quotes

  • "I realized that talent would get me as far as middle management, but beyond that point it would become a matter of politics and currying favor with bosses."
    Masahiro Origuchi (1962–), Japanese business executive
    Source: Wired Asia (June 2000)
  • "I just had this conversation with a guy about a problem we're trying to fix, and he said to me, “Just put out a memo and tell them what to do.” I told him, “If only life were that easy.”"
    Shelly Lazarus (1949–), US chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide
    Source: “The 50 Most Powerful Women in American Business,” Fortune (Patricia Sellers and Cora Daniels, October 1999)
  • "Institutional life is only made possible, or even tolerable, by the shared pretence that everything we do is … a matter of life and death … I came to find the small hierarchies of office life and the ways in which, after a holiday, the office worker had to play himself back into his part, learning once more to feign rage or delight or indignation, both moving and extremely comic."
    Jeremy Lewis, British publisher and author
    Source: Playing for Time (1987)
  • "Weiler’s Law: “Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn’t have to do it himself.”"
    Source: Quoted in Murphy’s Law and Other Reasons That Things Go Wrong (Arthur Bloch, 1977)
  • "There are but two means of locomotion to the top. Either people must like you so much that they push you there, or you, yourself, are so good that you push yourself there."
    Gerald Sparrow (19031988), British business executive and writer
    Source: How to Become a Millionaire (1960), ch. 2
  • "The working of great institutions is mainly the result of a vast mass of routine, petty malice, self interest, carelessness, and sheer mistake. Only a residual fraction is thought."
    George Santayana (18631952), US philosopher, novelist, and poet
    Source: The Crime of Galileo (1958)
  • "He draws the bonds of his new engagements closer and tighter about him. He loses sight, by degrees, of all common sense … in the petty squabbles, intrigues, feuds, and airs of affected importance to which he has made himself accessory."
    William Hazlitt (17781830), British essayist and journalist
    Describing the corporate employee.
    Source: “On Corporate Bodies,” Table Talk (1821–22), Essay 27

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