How to Destroy Office Politics and Passive-Aggression

Quick preface: this article assumes you’re coming from a place of social awareness and aptitude, professional or romantic capability (as the case may be), and at least enough confidence to tell it like it is and not be shy about doing so. If yes, you’ll love this piece; if not, focus on elevating your social, professional, and/or romantic competence first, then circle back to this, because you genuinely need to be the one with the social skills upper hand to pull this off.

We’ve had a number of people on here ask about office politics: how do you deal with it? Indeed, office politics can be a quagmire... you get stuck in it, and it can feel almost impossible to get out. All your attempts to are like wading through waist-deep mud.

office politics

But the solutions to office politics are not exclusive to the world of checkout counters, clock-in devices, and cubicles. Rather, by and large, they’re the same exact things you’ll use for dealing with any passive-aggressive situation.

Because, just like other forms of passive-aggression, most aspects of office politics only work if you insist on playing by their rules... instead of you getting them playing by yours.

office politics

Office politics and passive-aggression are tools of midrange individuals in any given relationship or circle of people who use a “grind it out” strategy to gradually ladder-climb up over other midrange people, and keep those they’ve gained a rung on underfoot.

They’re effective with most folks because most folks don’t have the wherewithal to challenge the users of office politics directly; instead, they try to play the game back, and usually end up losing.

That’s because office politics and passive-aggression are not games you win playing from behind. To win them, you must start from reasonably around the same level, or above. They strongly favor the person with the lead, making it easier and easier for people with leads in them to pull away, and harder and harder for people lagging behind to ever catch back up again.

Office Politics vs. Passive-Aggression

When we use the term “passive-aggressive”, what we usually mean is one person’s treatment of another. Passive-aggression is polite words with insulting, cynical, or threatening undertones; that’s things like a girlfriend telling you:

  • “No, it’s fine; you should totally go out with your friends. I’ll just stay home by myself,” in an annoyed tone of voice

  • “Only seeing you once a week is fine. It’s not like I need a real relationship or anything”

  • “I can’t sleep over? Figures. It was stupid of me to think this was going somewhere”

When someone is passive-aggressive toward you, it feels grating and frustrating, although you won’t always know why. You’ll just know that you really wish she’d have just said what was on her mind, instead of being opaque like she is. Your reaction will range anywhere from panic to an eye roll, depending on how seriously you take the unspoken threat and how emotionally dependent you are on the girlfriend (or other person) wielding passive-aggression your way.

Office politics (or clique politics in school) works exactly the same way, only at group level. Your officemate has it in with the boss; you’re left out of important meetings, or marginalized, while he repeatedly gets chances to show his finer qualities. You’re the last to hear about important news, and the first to be asked to go run pointless errands. You get the feeling that when you’re not there, everyone else is probably talking among themselves about how much longer you’re going to last at the company.

This is nothing but passive-aggression at the group level. Again, the group is telling you something, without saying it outright:

  • “You don’t get it”
  • “You aren’t that useful”
  • “You’re a drag on us”

This is more often communicated by exclusion – either not including you outright, or by ignoring or sidelining you in group situations. There can also be an active element, in tasking you in ways that you end up doing lower value work, or work that keeps you away from the core group and core activities.

That’s bad when your coworkers are doing it... and even worse when the boss is a part of it, too.

You Won’t Win Fighting Uphill

There are instances of battles being won in history by the side fighting uphill, but even in these “victories”, the side fighting uphill normally takes far heavier losses than the side fighting down. That’s why the advice of “seize the high ground” is so ubiquitous throughout the military strategies of every army the world over; when you’re fighting, it’s much better to be the one fighting down than it is the one fighting up.

When it comes to passive-aggression and office politics, the same is true here. The individual who’s taken the initiative and is fighting from the high ground position – that is, the person who’s initiated passive-aggression, or one of those in the office, school, or other clique excluding you – doesn’t really need to do anything other than maintain what he’s doing to keep building his lead over you in the environment.

You, on the other hand, need to start fighting back... or you’ll only lose ground. Yet, you’re going to most naturally feel as if you have to fight back the way your opponent is fighting back – you’ll try to win by playing on his terrain.

office politics

The problem with this is that those who use passive-aggression and/or office politics against you are usually experienced at using these things, and they know how to use them and make them work. You will try to fight back... but you will usually fail at this.

For instance, if you notice that several of your officemates have closed you out of the most rewarding projects, you might try to start meeting with your boss separately, impressing him, and asking him if he has other projects for you to work on... then not filling in your officemates on these projects until they notice you presenting on them when you’re already entrenched. Or, you try to find out what they’re doing, then secretly work on your own superior solution to how they’re handling a given problem, and present yours as an alternative at a critical moment (or consult with the boss behind their backs).

There’re several problems inherent in all this though:

  • It’s slow (it takes time to do)
  • It’s far from guaranteed (your efforts will often fail)
  • It only promotes an escalation of office politics between you and others

Not only does it not solve the problem, but it actually makes things worse, by forcing your opponents to take you more seriously as a competitor... and really pull out their A-game.

Finally, it violates Niccolò Machiavelli’s instruction on dealing with enemies:

Men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they will readily avenge themselves of slight grievances, but not more serious ones. Therefore the injury that is done to a man ought to be of a kind that cannot incur revenge.

Playing “be the better sneak” neither treats those opposing you well, nor does it crush them – it merely stings them, and encourages them to come back at you harder, with everything they have in their back pockets.

office politics

You don’t want to play “be the better sneak” with others using passive-aggression and office politics. That’s playing their game – and chances are, they’re better at their game than you are at it.

However, there’s one thing that every sneak hates, and I think you already know what it is: having the spotlight shown on his sneaking behavior. A player in office politics is of two minds: one is the sneaking he does to undermine opponents, yes, but the other is geared toward keeping an honest, trustworthy, dependable public face.

And if you can call him out on his sneaking appropriately, you force him to reconcile one face with the other – ultimately, by forcing him to conform his behavior to the face he wants to keep.

Forcing Behavioral Change

Most people don’t call out others on their behavior. That seems to me to be for a couple of different reasons:

  1. They fear having their call outs be refuted, thus looking like fools

  2. They fear that others will in turn call them out on their behavior

Both of these fears are based around a fear of not knowing what to do if one is challenged back; that is, not knowing how to answer social challenges. If either fear sounds familiar to you, read these articles and start brushing up on your challenge-handling:

... anyway, that’s why the preface on this article advised you that this is going to show you how to deal with office politics and passive-aggressive behavior provided that you’ve already arrived at a relatively solid level of social aptitude and confidence.

Assuming you’re comfortable enough that you can deal with anything anyone calls you out on in turn, and that you won’t miss a beat if someone tries to shrug off something you call him out on, you’ll find this immensely simple to do. It goes like this:

  1. Person does something sneaky / passive-aggressive to climb over you
  2. You point it out in a self-deprecating, but very clear and authoritative, way
  3. The other person scrambles to defend himself or deny it
  4. You tell him to relax, while not backing off your accusation an inch
  5. He’ll bow out of the conversation, and you’ll smile and let him, but now he’s on alert, and he knows he’s going to get called out if he tries it again

It’s exactly like punching the bully in the nose when he tries to rough you up. You haven’t knocked him out of the game; you’ve just shown him you aren’t a pushover and he’s better off seeking weaker prey.

Here’s an example of dealing with a more or less open challenge:

[you’re a new manager at an auto shop, and the veteran staff is constantly challenging your authority and attempting to undermine and discredit you]

You: Hey guys, we’ve got a few more cars to come in, and we’ve got to do these before the other ones. The customers are here and waiting; the other ones aren’t coming back for another hour or two.

Worker: Oh, come on, man! That one’s been hanging on the rack forever! Tell those new people they’ll just have to wait, and let me do my job.

You: Hey, Mike, I know you don’t like me and you think I’m a putz. That is what it is. But these people are here and they’re waiting and we can get them in and give them great service, and still have plenty of time to finish all the cars before the last owners come back.

Worker: Look [walking up closer and talking more intimately] – it’s not that I don’t like you, I just think you’re an agent of the district manager, down here to clean us up!

You: I’ve talked to the district manager like twice. I’m just here to do the best job I can do, that’s it.

In this example (from a job I had just after I’d turned 19, managing men over twice my age and with a lot more work experience), calling out what I saw as the core point of tension between the two of us prompted the leader of the “resistance movement” against me to backpedal and say he didn’t like me (people usually don’t want to admit to not liking people they work with day in and day out, when prompted to openly), and then to clarify exactly what the core problem he had with me was – which I then was able to address. Things smoothed out a lot between us after this, and the worker (who really more or less held all but equal authority with the actual store manager of the location for who was in charge of the shop) treated me significantly more respectfully after this.

One note on doing the “I know you don’t like me” line – don’t do the “I know you don’t like me. I don’t like you either” bit; you just put people on the defensive. What you want is being disarmingly vulnerable. Telling them you know they don’t like you, then neither trying to defend yourself nor lashing out at them in return, but instead focusing solely on handling the business that you’re both there to handle, makes almost everyone you can possibly work with respect you more, because it shows you have yourself together and are both aware of their disdain for you... and unmoved by it. Massive respect increase (before they see this, they will usually assume that either you aren’t aware, or are hiding your bitterness or hurt feelings about it; after they see this, you’re clearly both aware and relaxed; very powerful).

Here’s another example of using this, in more subtle office politics:

[you’re working on a joint project with a single coworker, where your boss hands tasks to both of you at once and leaves it to the two of you to sort out how to complete them. You do most of the work, but the coworker rushes to be the first to send emails to the boss, and to launch into describing all the work that was accomplished in person. As a result, the boss soon comes to view him as the point man, leader, and rainmaker, and begins directing all communication to him while ignoring you]

You: [to coworker] Hey man, I know you’re excited to report to Captain and all, but the way you’re shooting out emails like crazy and taking over all the talking is making me look like I’m sitting around twiddling my thumbs while you do all the work. We need to figure out a more balanced way to present our results.

Him: Haha, yeah, I didn’t even think about that! [outright lie] I guess you could send some of the emails?

You: How about this: why don’t we figure out what parts each of us will present when we go talk to Captain, and if we have to email stuff to him we’ll just take turns mailing it to him. That way we don’t have to get stupid and start figuring out exactly who did what and we each report our own stuff, because that’s just inefficient, but we’ll both be getting some face time and not be looking like you and your sidekick.

Him: Haha, okay, we can try that.

In this case, I’d called out sneaky behavior my coworker thought I wasn’t picking up on or wasn’t going to say anything about, and made him (very obviously) uncomfortable. The result was that he became a lot more respectful and backed off his power grab and ladder climbing for a bit... though he went back to doing it again within 5 or 6 weeks.

At that point, I could’ve called him out again, and in other office politics situations, I’ve just repeatedly called people out until they shaped up for good, and that was fine. But in this case, my coworker was particularly tenacious and power hungry, and I had another trick up my sleeve I decided to try out instead... more on that in a moment.

Before we get to that though, let’s talk about clearing the air.

Clearing the Air

Clearing the air is probably the most important things to do with any politically dicey, passive-aggressive scenario. People start sneaking around hoping you won’t see them because they want the upper hand on you, but the thing to realize is that the reason they’re doing this in the first place is because they see you as an adversary, rather than an ally.

Occasionally, you’ll find yourself up against someone who’s very low empathy and invariably views everyone as an adversary to be overcome, and no matter how much air clearing you do, you will always be this person’s opponent (though if you clear the air thoroughly and often enough, you will at least become a respected opponent, receiving better treatment and less sneaking than those opponents too oblivious or too fearful to call the individual out). Usually though, clearing the air is an effective way of getting on the same page with people, airing out your differences, and ending adversity.

office politics

It’s a very useful thing to do.

In a romantic relationship, that looks like this:

Girl: Only seeing you once a week is fine. It’s not like I need a real relationship or anything.

You: Okay, we need to talk about this.

Girl: Nope; it’s fine. I don’t want to talk about it.

[this is the point where most guys go, “Okay, well if you don’t want to talk about it, I guess that’s all right,” and then they set themselves for a much bigger emotional tsunami a few days or weeks later]

You: Noooo – this is obviously something important to you, otherwise you wouldn’t be all passive-aggressive pouting around me about it.

Girl: I don’t want to talk about it.

You: Yes you do; you’re the one who brought it up. So talk.

Girl: No, it’s fine.

You: No, it isn’t fine. You’re freaking out because you think this isn’t a “real relationship” because we see each other once a week instead of twice a week or three times a week or every two hours or some undefined amount of time. So do you want to tell me what a “real relationship” is, why what we have doesn’t qualify, and why that’s important to you?

At this point, she’ll tell you what a “real relationship” is, how she defines it, and why she’s upset that you aren’t in it. You can then either tell her you can see her more often (if you like her and want to get more serious with her), or explain to her why you aren’t able to see her more often, and that if she needs to move on you’ll understand, though you certainly love spending time with her and would hope that she wouldn’t.

In office politics or other cliquey situations, you need to call someone out after they do something that clearly shows their adversity toward you and ask them what specifically it is they don’t like about you, why this bothers them, and how the two of you can get on the same page since you have to be around each other for work anyway.

The rules of clearing the air with someone are as follows:

  1. Call them out after a passive-aggressive action. You must do this right when they’ve committed a slight against you, because otherwise you give them room to wiggle out of and tell you you’re imagining things. Sometimes people aren’t even completely conscious of what they’re doing or why they’re doing it. When you time your call out to follow right after they’ve just been passive-aggressive against you or tried to ladder-climb over you, even if they weren’t aware of it before, they become instantly aware of it now, and can address it with you if properly engaged.

  2. Don’t judge, and don’t be sour grapes. Don’t be upset that people don’t like you. Being upset about it doesn’t make them like you more. Being nonchalant about it does. You must be nonjudgmental about their dislike for you, and you must be neutral about it. Don’t be upset or emotional; just ask them why they don’t like you conversationally. Don’t try to “get even” and tell them you don’t like them either; that’s just confirming their suspicion that you are their adversary, and not opening up an air-clearing dialogue instead.

  3. Don’t let them squirm out of answering the allegation. Most people, when called out, will act surprised and tell you they don’t know what you’re talking about, or that they don’t want to talk about it. Don’t let them get away; nail them down on the issue! Insist that they talk about it. If they say they don’t know what you’re talking about, get very specific about what they just did and the effect it had on you and what you infer about their feelings toward you, and ask them why they feel that way and how you can resolve it.

  4. Focus on getting to resolution then and there. Resolve, resolve, resolve. Don’t leave anything hanging. Focus on getting the issue resolved, then and there. Much of the time this means leaving with action items for one or both of you. Other times this means the other person telling you why he’s acting a certain way toward you, and you clearing up the misconception he had about you that led him to act that way. Him opening up and telling you why he’s behaving a certain way toward you is a big concession; it forces him to go quite vulnerable. So you’re fine here conceding to offer an explanation, or even to change a bit if he points out something you hadn’t realized you were doing that is hurtful or inconsiderate.

Clearing the air is wonderful for both of you, because it frees you from having to deal with passive-aggressive behavior, which is mentally taxing when you’re on the receiving end (endlessly having to decipher the “meaning behind a meaning” of someone’s moderately veiled complaints and attacks), and is mentally taxing when you’re on the giving end (feeling stuck and unable to get exactly what you want with someone else; trying to sneak around and eke out one small gain after another).

Occasionally, you will find yourself up against some bad apples who just won’t correct their behavior toward you, even after you’ve repeatedly cleared the air, fixed anything on your end they’ve identified as causing them to act that way, and secured promises from them of behaving better in the future.

In that case, you may not be able to turn adversaries into allies, and instead of taking the well treated path that Machiavelli references, you must crush them instead.

Crushing Passive-Aggressive People

The passive-aggressive individual’s Achilles heel is his allergic reaction to being called out on his sneaking behavior, and attempts to undermine you in a below-the-radar way.

The primary way you use this against him is calling him out; done eloquently, he isn’t expecting it and can’t defend against it – he simply has to admit that, yes, that’s what he’s been doing, and then backpedal and explain why he’s been doing it and work with you to achieve resolution.

Occasionally, that primary way turns out not to work with some people; they’ll promise resolution, act like everything’s fine, then go right back to doing what they were doing before after a short time has passed. You can keep calling them out, but usually they get used to this, start ignoring it, and then feel even bolder around you; you can’t stop them.

This is with the people who don’t have a genuine grievance with you, but instead view you merely as a rung to be climbed in order to get to where they’re trying to get to politics-wise.

Where this is the case, you must respond by utterly crushing the morale of your adversary. You do this by making him seem completely inept, and you seem the talent.

If you’re thinking, “Gee, that sounds hard,” the good news is that the people who are inveterate ladder climbers also happen to be better at ladder climbing than they are at anything else. They’re good at creating appearances, but not so good at actually getting the job done and executing at a high level. If you’re even average at your job, you’re probably better than they are.

Further, they spend most of their time not doing the work but rather learning how to TALK about doing the work. They want to present; others do the work, they present the work, and take the credit.

So, what you do is this:

  • You pass them pieces of work that are simple, and explain simple parts of the work to them. This keeps them feeling involved, and like they know what they need to know about your end of the business

  • Meanwhile, you play the hard stuff close to your chest – you don’t talk about it with them, don’t tell them how it works, and don’t even act like it exists if they don’t otherwise know about it

  • When it’s presentation time, you let them do their usual spotlight-grabbing flourishes. But you interject to point out the things they get wrong, or, at times, to outright correct them – in a very non-challenging, “parent correcting the overeager child” way: “Dan’s close, but I just want to clarify a few small pieces of this. What’s actually happening when X happens is that Y thing...”

  • When questions are asked, you let them try to answer if they care to, and fill in the blanks if they can’t

The end result of this is that you come to have the appearance of being the guy who really knows what’s going on. The other guy is all show and bluster; once he’s looking dumbstruck and at a loss for answers, you step in and calmly and confidently address all remaining questions.

The floor of his knowledge and effectiveness in the job has been exposed; meanwhile, yours appears, for all intents and purposes, to be limitless.

In this way, I dealt with that workplace ladder-climbing coworker mentioned above in such a way that the Navy Captain we reported to, who’d previously taken to solely addressing him in our three-person meetings and entirely ignoring me, began to address solely me when discussing any important or detailed work, while turning to my coworker only to give light assignments or simple tasks to.

I became the go-to guy for all the intellectual heavy lifting, hard answers, and tough assignments, and I rapidly commanded most of the respect in our two-man team. I just let the other guy dig his own grave, because he didn’t know the real guts of the system we were putting together... but I did. And after all his talk, he couldn’t answer deep questions about it, or would tell our superior that we’d have to get back to him on something, only for me to interject and say no, actually, we’ve already got those numbers – here they are.

All but the dumbest bosses love their most effective people the most; and if you have a boss who doesn’t appreciate you being one of his heavy-hitters, you probably need to change projects, divisions, or companies.

office politicsOne note: bear in mind Machiavelli’s warning, and when you crush someone like this, make sure you don’t ever give them an opening to climb back. You may start feeling bad for the guy after a while, seeing him deprived of his former glory as spotlight stealer, but don’t be fooled; if you take pity on him and start including him more, he’ll go right back to taking all the credit again, and you’ll start looking like someone who’s just along for the ride instead of someone contributing important things to the workplace instead.

It’s unfortunate, but when you’re working with people who will ladder-climb you and don’t respond to air-clearing attempts, you’ve just got to keep your most important work secret and only explain it in front of the boss or bosses, while feeding them lower level work that will make them feel like you’re working closely with them, so they’re constantly off the trail. Eventually, they’ll realize you aren’t telling them everything, but there’s not really anything they can do about it except wait to hear about it at the same time as the boss.

Office Politics / Passive-Aggressive Recap

We covered a lot here, but it’s all actually pretty straightforward:

  • Office politics and passive-aggression are related (and often one and the same) inasmuch as both entail sneaking around, hiding one’s actual desires, and trying to pressure others into doing what we want rather than commanding them to outright

  • People using these “guerilla tactics” against you are betting on you not noticing or, if you notice, not having the balls or the skill to call them out on it socially

  • If you do call them out on passive-aggression and/or office politics, they’re forced to backtrack in order to reconcile sneaky actions with public face (which is almost always as someone honest and forthright)

  • When calling someone out, remember to mind our rules on this:

    1. Call them out after a passive-aggressive action
    2. Don’t judge, and don’t be sour grapes
    3. Don’t let them squirm out of answering the allegation
    4. Focus on getting to resolution then and there
  • Occasionally, you’ll run into people that no amount of calling out and correcting or resolving to correct behavior fixes; they just keep sniping at you from the underbrush regardless. In this case, you need to crush them; you do this by:

    1. Feeding them simple, sometimes irrelevant information
    2. Keeping your important information hidden away
    3. Revealing important information only in front of authority figures
    4. Letting politics-players show their knowledge floor before you jump in
    5. Branding yourself as the guy with all the answers, and deep knowledge
  • With people you crush, remember not to “have mercy” later and decide to ease up on them; this is all they need to come back, pick up where they left off, and make you look and feel like a fool all over again

And that’s how you win at politics with experts at pulling the political strings.

Interestingly enough, you can almost always either get these cats over on your side, as friends and allies, or you can just step back, stop giving them the information they need to make you look irrelevant, and let them hang themselves with their own puppet strings instead.

Just bear in mind, you always want to try calling people out and clearing the air before you go scorched earth on them, trying to leave them nothing they can use to elevate their positions anymore. It’s easier, it’s less stressful over the long-term, and life’s just better and more fun with a larger number of allies who respect the hell out of you on your side because you’re one of the few people they’ve ever met with balls big enough to call them on their shenanigans and not be moved by them.


Chase AmanteAbout the Author: Chase Amante

Chase woke up one day in 2004 tired of being alone. So, he set to work and read every book he could find, studied every teacher he could meet, and talked to every girl he could talk to to figure out dating. After four years, scads of lays, and many great girlfriends (plus plenty of failures along the way), he launched this website. He will teach you everything he knows about girls in one single program in his Mastery Package.


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Anonymous's picture

Okay, Chase, you taught us how to prevent failed escalation and what to do when one occurs..

But i have a question... How do you respond with a Failed Making Out / Failed Kissing on lets say a park bench ??

I`ve tried the "Okay we can be friends" technique and it works good as the girls are getting stunned and confused when i say that ( subconsciously telling me, they want to kiss me )...

But what else, or what next, how to proceed ??
Should you set up the 2nd date from that point or what ??

One girl even stated, and i quote: "I just don`t feel it" ...

I really am curios what kind of a technique do you have when a girl isn`t giving you the first kiss on the first date...

The full process went as followed:
First date: We went to a cafe, had an amazing chat and time there, we paid for our drinks, we continued 5mins walking and we sat down onto a bench..
There we sat, after 5 or so mins of chatting and relaxing i am making a move for the kiss only to be denied...

What do you do in this type of a scenario ?
What do you say, act, what process do you pick here ?

Chase Amante's picture


Usually, you've just got to chalk it up as a loss. Kissing a girl, then not giving her sex immediately afterwards, leads to an emotion "crash" exactly like what we talked about when cresting emotions too early here: "Emotional Cresting: What It Is and How to Use It."

If you absolutely MUST kiss girls in public, or before you're ready to sleep with them, use the methods here: "How to Kiss Girls in Public and Have It Go Great"... although, be advised, that's rather advanced, and you're usually better off just saving kissing for immediately prior to sex until you're more experienced.

Kissing too early can shoot your feet off with girls, so be very careful with it. Good stuff if done right, but most guys don't do it right...!


Troy's picture

Chase -

Regarding your article "how to use situationally relevant openers with women", I now understand a lott better why persons got annoyed at me. I agree, that yes it is a value problem I have that make peope want to spend less time with me. 1 thing I just learned from this article eben though I am new to this whole thing was the part about " don't judge and don't be sour grapes". This is a tool tonavoid makingnenemies as well. I'm sure I couldbapply this tidbit of thebarticle to my life right now. What I would normally do that you said was bad was to tell people I don't like yhem after they ignored/offended me. I'll try to cut that out in my future interactions. Also on using situational openers I guess I used too many of those the wrong way, that is boring and unclever as you stated. That could be why I sounded stupid. I will have to implement this article more in my daily activities. This can also help improve my wittiness.

Question: I have always had trouble recognizing when someone/ group of people were laughing with me or at me when I made a joke. How do I tell when people are indirectly laughing at me doing/ sayiny something stupid or if they are genuingly laughing at my joke?

It would be great if an article was up on here comprehensively on how to be witty ( no... not funny. We are straight men only who love girls: )


Chase Amante's picture


Great that the SitRel article gave you so many epiphanies about where you're coming up short with opening and general dialogue. Yes, being boring and being a downer are two of the most heinous crimes you can commit in interactions with people... they will make others want to avoid you like a piece of rotting meat. Not fun.

As for telling if people are laughing at a joke you've made (laughing with you) or are laughing at your expense (laughing at you)... that's a good question. Probably the best way is looking at their subcommunication - are they looking at each other as they laugh, and not much at you, except to steal glances with incredulous looks on their faces, and then back to each other? If so, they're probably laughing at you. Or are they asking you leading / patronizing / condescending / absurd questions, like what you'd ask a child telling you something silly or mundane? "So then what'd you do - did you open up a can of whoop ass on him?" Otherwise, if they're laughing and mostly looking at you and not too much at each other, and then adding their own jokes that are not about you or being absurdist or condescending about you or the situation, they're usually laughing at the joke, and not at your expense.

An article on humor is upcoming - when I do one, it'll cover the gamut, and isn't going to be focused on being clownish, don't worry. I have no interest in that, and I don't think anyone else reading GC does either ;)


Oskar's picture

Hello Chase,

I'm curious as to what you think one should do if a ladder-climber, after you cut him off from the most important details about shared projects, tries to clear the air with you and addresses your strangling of his reputation? If you abstain from letting him in after this he then has a justifiable complaint about your behavior, while if you do let him in, chances are he was just pretending to be reformed and you lose your upper-hand.

Also, how would you deal with this type of passive-aggression in a situation where you can't cut the ladder-climber off from the important information, for example, if all information is necessarily shared between all parties? Should you just bank on doing a superior job than him so he might look bad in comparison? Yet this is fighting uphill and the problem would still remain that if he is doing a sufficient enough job, and if he is still maintaining most of the spotlight (which by nature he spends more time and effort on than a truly productive individual), he will still come across as sufficiently able and more or less in the know to all but the most attentive, socially calibrated bosses. If this is the case, then the skilled ladder climber would be more likely to succeed in this scenario than a truly productive socially calibrated person. There are obvious other benefits for being socially calibrated, but in some status establishing affairs, the master value converter (ladder climber) apparently has advantage over the master value-producer/giver.


Chase Amante's picture


If he comes back contrite, and he really does seem to "get it" (and is not just saying "I'm sorry for whatever I did - can I have my old status back please?"), you can start giving him a little more information, and see what he does with it. Gradually ramp him up, and the instant he swaps back to his old ways, clamp back down on him again. If he doesn't seem to get it, just tell him sorry - if he wants to be a team player, you're happy to be as well, but until then, if he's going to structure his career on parasitizing your work, he'll have to find someone else to feed off of.

If everyone's deliverables are going to a central place and there's no way to differentiate them aside from what individual people say, I'd suggest a few things: the first would be talking to other members of the team, if there are more than you and him, and finding out if they share your sentiment and will agree to talk to the boss with you together. The next would be to arrange a meeting with the boss, and say boss, I hate having to come to you and talk about this, but we've got a big problem: John's a great guy, and I don't think he's doing this consciously, but he's been sucking up the credit for the work that I and the other team members have been doing, and we're afraid it's making us look like slackers when we're all pretty sure we're actually doing a lot more work than he is. Can we report to you in private about what each of us is contributing?

Meeting in private can be a great way to convey what you're actually doing to the boss, won't take much of his time (he can meet with each of you for 10 minutes once per week), and will get you face time to clear up misconceptions and fight back against the spotlight stealer. Since he has no control over what you tell the boss in private, there's not much he can do against this, and if you and the other team members make it sufficiently clear what you're doing in private, and he keeps taking credit for others' work publicly, he'll start making himself look both clueless and conniving.


VC's picture

thanks a lot Chase. this advice was really valuable. I study in college but I had always been a rather of these things. but I tried your advice and it worked well. now the guy can't even make eye contact with me without getting red.. turns out he was just jealous of the female attention and social status.. You always give a good advice in life man you have reduced my learning curves rapidly which allows me to work on more importwnt things ;)

Anonymous's picture

how can I look more dominant and aggressive?
people tend to think I am not dominant cause I wear glasses.
how can I look badass?

TORNADO's picture

OMG! This is almost like reliving my 3+ years in my previous office. Been through all what you mentioned - bending down to passive aggression, actually countering passive aggression then feeling bad for the person and letting him come up again, successfully countering passive aggression etc.

I just had a few points to add. I don't know how much will you agree to it. But passive-aggression is something which can further be subdivided into two areas. I'll explain with an example:

Situation 1 (High Class) - This is if you are in a company/college which is highly branded and where high level people come. I am studying in one now. Recently a guy (who is a show boat - infact mostly everyone hates him and they all like me) tried this on me. He used to pass comments on me in public everyday, counter my arguments purposely in lectures etc. I am usually a very patient guy, but once he crossed all limits when he embarrassed me and my friend (a girl) with his stupid comments.

Solution - What I did was took him to the side and really scared him by negative aggression approach. I said "Look, I know you don't like me. I have no idea what is it that I have done to piss you off. But you gotta knock it off. See, what's gonna happen is that its gonna affect my grades. Thus I'll give up altogether and would be someone with Nothing to lose. Then my only mission would be to lower your grades and get you to the same level as mine. You don't want that" ----> and BOOM not once since that day has he dared to pass any comments. We say hi to each other (he apologized after some weeks).

Situation 2 - Low class area. The above strategy doesn't usually work here because people rarely give a shit about their own brand and all they come is to have fun at the expense of others. If you do the above here you are doomed as it only gives them more incentive as you pointed out in your article. In this case, again in my experience I used to use my Intellect and calmly try to point them out. If its an individual, probably try take him out for a drink or something. Its a lot harder here, so I'll leave it upto you to comment on What can one do if they are in such a place where people don't give a shit about being called out (Like hostels, dorms etc.)?

Secondly, one other thing that caught my eye is the conversation with the Girl where I have a slight doubt.

You told me in my previous comment that one should never give in to supplication and I am absolutely in awe with your "Devil May Care" article and actually urge other people to read it. When a girl follows up a passive aggressive comment with a "Its fine, Nothing wrong", isn't it usually a BAIT for the guy to succumb? I have often seen guys who actually say "Cool, later then" have way more success than guys who actually try to resolve the problem by prodding (In another article you suggested never to Prod on a topic, if its stale, leave it and move on). Slight confusion on this one.

Lastly, Nothing related to this topic - Just a personal question. I have spring break and there is this girl who is calling me to live with her and her roommates in Jersey. We are strictly platonic (She's attractive and has tons of guys behind her but I don't find her attractive for some reason) but I am more interested in meeting more girls (i.e. her two roommates). Was wondering if there was any advice on a Group deep dive? Is is possible to deep dive women in a group (like 3 women at one time)?

Thanks man! Keep up the amazing work!

Chase Amante's picture


Absolutely; threatening a guy's status when he's invested in it and fears losing it will very often scare him straight. However, if he's VERY experienced at passive-aggressive games, he will tell you he doesn't know what you're talking about, and threaten you back by throwing around names or the like; that's pretty rare though, since most passive-aggressive individuals are cowards who shrink back from being exposed.

With guys who have nothing to lose, it's better to either make an example of one of them (if you can), or cut them out of the loop, like I talked about in the article, if you can. Making an example of the guy, in, say, the classroom example, would be if the guy starts sniping at you and you say, "Wait, hold up a second, we need to address this. Why was my comment wrong? I need detail from you, because I don't get what you're saying, and I think it's probably wrong." Challenge him back hard and openly, and just humiliate him publicly. Do it a couple of times, and he'll usually knock it off, just because he's tired of getting schooled, losing, and taking the hit that comes from losing. Even when you've got nothing to lose, you still don't like getting your ass kicked, and will tend to avoid messing with people who have demonstrated the ability to deliver said ass-kicking.

On prodding girls, depends on the relationship. If you're in a short-term relationship or less, yes; if she says, "Nothing; it's fine," you're best off saying, "Great! I'm going to go watch a movie then," and leaving. If you're in a longer-term relationship where she's just going to stew and pout and fester, it's better to pull it out of her and avoid allowing her to build up negative emotions towards you.

And you can't really deep dive groups, simply because people don't think as "groups", they think as individuals. Just as if you and two of your buddies were sitting there, and I tried to deep dive you about your dreams and motivations, at no time would you really just open up to me and have a heart-to-heart with me because in front of your buddies that's just weird, same deal with girls. If you want to deep dive, get her one-on-one. If she's in a group, keep it light and entertaining, and refrain from deep diving until the others are occupied and it's just you and her wrapped up in your own conversational bubble.


Anonymous's picture

Thanks Chase,

This really hits home for me. I joined a corporate job and never had to deal with passive aggressive behavior. I just saw it as bullying and treated it the same way I did as a kid.

Which was ignoring it. The "kid bully" was just a hurt kid who wasn't understood by anyone. Once they saw I wasn't going to fight them...they eventually became my friend. And he treated me with respect. And if anyone messed with me he would be the first to defend me. He was a normal kid who just had a messed up family.

The rest of my school life, everyone respected and/or admired me. The details aren't important, but simply I was never bullied.

After graduating at the top of my class and getting my master's I went on to start my career.

Fast forward to my corporate job and all this passive aggressive behavior came out. I treated it like the bullying behavior I had in the past. Ignored it. Hoping the quality of my work and my friendly behavior would win them over. But it didn't. It just got worst. I didn't realize it wasn't that they hated me, but many saw me as a threat. Despite my hard, quality work the people who saw me as a threat just talked behind my back to my peers, my boss and even my boss's boss making sure to ruin my reputation. Soon I became that guy.

I was put on projects that were doomed from the get go. And when they went bad I was blamed. When other people screwed up, they would find a way to put the blame on me. Essentially, I was so far behind I wasn't going to catch up.

Ultimately, I left. I think it was for the best. 90% of the people were ladder-climbing people who just cared about their reputation and ruining others.

I ended up in another career, where those people made up about 10%. Still, instead of defending myself...I just put up with it. Left for other reasons.

Now that I work for myself I come across that behavior in about 5% of people. I still find myself putting up with such behavior. I think the time I spent in my first job just destroyed my ego.

There was some study that found saying bullying didn't thicken the skin, but thins it.

The one time someone tried to bully me in high school ended with me grabbing his arm and telling him to piss off. He tried to intimate me while I had his arm in my grip, but I didn't waiver. He never bullied me again.

Now, I find myself getting passive aggressive communications and just putting up with it.

I know the only way to regain what I lost from my career years is to stand up for myself. The right way.

Thanks again for writing the article. When someone is passive aggressive against you, you feel all alone. Like you are dumb and thus deserve to be bullied. Your article really calls it for what it is. Weak people trying to belittle good people.

Black Mystery's picture

Hey Bro,
How's you doing dude? Just wanted to say you "thanks" first for your last time advice. You are like big bro to me. 2nd reason behind commenting here is to know "what's the best thing to do?"
Remember my last comment? (In case you don't here it's You advised me to cut the losses, move on and meet other girls. I did. However, after three months of ignoring her when I was walking down the stairs outside the station I saw her gazing and smiling at me as if nothing was happen and whatever she said she didn't really mean. I saw her for fraction of sec. As always she saw me before. I could have just stopped, turn around and talk to her but hey I thought she just doesn't deserve it. I didn't even smiled at her when I noticed her smiling and gazing at me I just ignore her as if I don't know her.
Point here is :
1) I seriously don't know whatever I did was well or I was suppose to talk to her.
2) I'm absolute certain I'll see her accidentally again and she'd gazing at me. (It has happen dozen times before). But what should I do then? You still advice to ignore her. (She won't come to me and talk/send me message. I know that.) or I should talk to her the moment I saw gazing at me. And if I should how can I make the approach look like "It's you who's chasing me".
Thanks in advance.

Black Mystery

Chase Amante's picture


My advice is still the same. If you must respond to her, give her a very minimal, stern smile, and a slight head nod. Then back to your day.

Go out, meet more women, go on dates, sleep with girls, get girlfriends. If after you've slept with 10 new girls and had 2 other girlfriends, you still want to chase after this girl, you can do so then, and you will have a better grasp of the skills you need to do so, and will also have a lot less of a scarcity mindset around her. But I'd bet that after sleeping with 10 new girls and taking 2 other girlfriends, you won't lose a wink of sleep over this one.


Sam2's picture


Francis Underwood, the character played by Kevin Spacey in the television series House of Cards, is the epitome of a master ladder-climbing person who uses sneaky, guerrilla-fighting tactics to get his way.

Anonymous's picture

Love the office tips and hope you keep them coming! What is your experience with corporate type jobs and how much of an overlap is there between seduction and work success? For example, in an interview, what are you mostly being judged on? Is it a subconscious attraction like how a female decides very early on whether she's attracted to you? Are candidates primarily judged on confidence and potential vs. someone who's highly qualified and the rest is history?

Thanks so much.

Chase Amante's picture


I spent four years in the corporate world, on numerous projects with private companies and government agencies. I've also had a fair amount of experience since hiring in a corporate office-like setup. There's a fair amount of overlap, but of course plenty of differences, too. The nuance of social dynamics though translates right across.

In a traditional interview setup, you know when you're bringing someone in already if you like him based off the résumé, or if you're just bringing him in because you need a few candidates / don't want to be too limited if it turns out the guy you like most ends up being a dud. The interview itself is for confirming or denying your feelings on reading the résumé: is this guy as awesome as he sounds? Or do you get him in and the feeling is just "ugh"? Is he able to speak intelligently to the points on his résumé? Does he end up sounding vague, or uncertain, or all wrong? Or do you bring him in and end up being pleasantly surprised - you thought he was just okay from the résumé, but now in person he's actually pretty solid?

Much of that is your demeanor in the interview. It's also in how you answer the questions. If you can answer questions intelligently, detailed, confidently, and in a charming way, the interviewer will tend to be impressed. If you can make your answers relate to the company you're interviewing to, while also building intrigue and excitement around your answers, the interviewer will be blown away and will view you as a very capable person who knows his stuff inside and out. e.g., telling an interviewer, "I worked in marketing, and did this and this and that," in a confident way is good; telling an interviewer, "I worked in marketing, and did this, which is similar to your X campaign, except different in that it did Y; I also implemented several Z for us - I noticed that you are doing this too, in ABC, and I think that's really exciting because this is an area where I have a lot of ideas and can probably apply a lot of the lessons I took from my Z campaigns at XYZ company and apply them to ABC's campaigns," will get you the job 10 times out of 10 if everything else checks out too.

A friend of mine who's ace at interviews and goes for high-ish level positions tends to show up with a list of suggestions for how the company can improve its processes right out of the bat, based on a lot of research he's done into the company, and he almost always gets the job he's after. As always, it's about striking the right tone of being respectful of existing processes while also having lots of new and creative ideas; you don't know who you're talking to and how invested he may or may not be in what the company's currently doing, so you don't want to step on his toes and tell him some process the company is currently using is crap and yours is better, since for all you know he invented it and may be defensive about it; but, if you have good ideas, and can convey a few of them by baiting the interviewer into asking you more and more, you can be quite impressive.


Riz's picture

Hi Chase,

I've been thinking a bit recently about the mentality and thinking process of the seducer and the life that comes with it.

If you think about it when you have been enlightened to the way dating and the mind of a women really works its inevitable that you will change your ideas of how things in these arenas should be done.

Look at the classic 'dating process' of your average man - meets a girl, connects with her, falls for her, marry's her, lives with her for as long as things go well and thats it. He believes he has been lucky enough to fall in love with 'the one', his girl, by divine right.

Of course, in reality we know that there are millions of girls out there who that man could have ended up with and perhaps loved even more. I don't believe in the concept of 'the one' - there are so many people that you could love, so many people who you wont even meet, who would perhaps be as perfect for you as possible.

This leads me to my question(s)

1) Do successful seducers who see beyond classic dating 'settle down' ? - Thinking about it, why would they - They know that whichever girl they are with right now, there is probably out there somewhere, a girl who is even sexier, more intelligent, more fun, successful etc etc - They know they will never find Ms.Perfect - So why 'settle' - Whats the point?

Surely on of the big reasons most guys settle is because they fall in love with a girl and can't help but cling onto her in false belief that they will never find another girl like her, they have to marry her now to solidify heir destined relationship and if things ever go wrong and they divorce then that's it, life over.

2) What are your thoughts specifically on 'settling down' - I don't know why exactly but even uttering those words 'settle down' sounds to me like giving up almost. To me it just sounds so defeatist. Why would anybody want to settle down lol, its crazy.

And I am not a young man either, I have though this for quite a while. Seems hardly anybody else really relates though.

It's like for most, settling down is the ultimate goal to achieve in life. Everyone always talks about it in group 'ah so are you settled yet?' - And i'm like 'uhh no...., should I?'

'Ohh I really just need to settle down now' - Hahah?

I do find it frustrating. Your thoughts Chase?


Chase Amante's picture


I know you commented already on it, because I saw your comment when skimming, but for anyone else reading comments, I answered part of Riz's comment in article form here: "Satisficing and Seduction; or, Why You Probably Won't be a Bachelor Forever."

For parts I didn't touch on (since I went on more of an overall treatment of the question, and more generalized; i.e., not as specific to your comment here, Riz) -

The term "settle down" has loads of culture baggage, so it sort of depends how you use it. If we throw that term out (which I despise as well), and instead say "pick one girl to stay with for some undefined but longer-term period of time", I'd say almost everyone does this at various times in his life, even if his overall lifestyle trend is to more or less be a bachelor and not permanently stay settled with one woman. If you narrow the definition to include "does not seek out other women / is completely monogamous", that leaves out a good chunk of men who "settle down" but still sleep with other women on the side or have mistresses; if "settled down" means 100% monogamous, there are plenty of men out there who will pick one woman and stay with her for a long term or forever, but who are not "settled down" because they run an open relationship, are cheating, or have an understanding with their woman that they will sleep with other women but devote their resources / child-rearing to her and the offspring they have with her. You see this a lot with celebrities, athletes, politicians, and other monied men.

You also do occasionally see the perpetual bachelor - the guy who's 50+ and has never had a relationship longer than 6 months and doesn't really want to. That's pretty rare, but those guys are out there. Some of them are guys who have an abundance of choice with women, but most of them are just guys who have an aversion of one sort or another to close relationships; sometimes it's some sort of avoidant attachment style, or other times it's an obsession with their work, some project, etc.

My thoughts personally on "settling down" as traditionally defined (pick some girl and spend the rest of your life with her) is that it's unrealistic for me, and something that would be trapping and constraining. I have no problem with taking time off to produce a few children for a few years, but even when I have an out-and-out amazing girl, I've always had the itch to be with other women, and prefer to keep that itched scratched rather than not. I don't want to predict the future, since I've seen far too many men take strong positions on something only to flip a few years later, so who knows, and maybe I will mellow out with age. I see danger in letting that happen though, since testosterone levels fall off steeply once men quit looking for new mates, and with that goes productivity and creativity - they shift from risky, bold, creative adventurers and explorers into stolid, stable family men investing in and protecting what they've got.

Because my view of the world is that everything on this planet is insignificant in the grand scheme of the universe (if there are other living creatures in the universe, and the odds would appear to be seriously stacked in favor of this being the case, it's almost certain that many of them are so far ahead of us technologically that the most impressive humans who've ever lived are about as important to them like the guy who first discovered how to make boat oars is to us), I'd view settling for any worldly purpose as pretty short-sighted and insignificant, myself, but who knows - maybe if I suffer a large enough setback at some point, maybe I retreat into a shell and try to emotionally rationalize clinging to the same things that most others cling to for reassurance of my own significance too.

Anyway, that's my personal opinion at the moment - there is something a little tempting and a little nice about the idea of settling down, but on the other side, it feels like the temptation of pleasure that a hard drug like cocaine or heroin offers - an escape from the reality of the world, and an immersion in something that feels good and tricks the brain into thinking it's lived a live of worth. Which is not to dismiss the contributions of those who choose to settle down (96% or 97% of people, maybe?) - the world stops going round without them. But for me, and the things I'd like to do with myself, it feels distinctly like, as you said, "giving up."

Maybe some day if I ever give up I'll feel differently, though.


Mc's picture


I've read your articles on dating younger women, but just wondered if you could elaborate on a few things for me.

From what I read it seems that once your older, in order to get younger girls you have to be successful or your just another ordinary older man.

Chase, I'm never going to have a lot if money, it's just not what gets me up in the morning and is not something I stride to achieve. Is there any hope or a guy who may not ever be a rich older man?

Up until like 35 pulling young chicks is easy, but once you get past that 35ish age they start to get skeptical. I really don't want to end up older and having to date 30+ chicks with loads of baggage etc, I just don't find them sexy at all and I don't think any man really does.

So what should my plan be? I want girls to want to be with me when I'm older, for me not for my bank balance etc, that would really turn me off.

Is being sexy enough? You know how many older guys just let themselves go, get fat etc.

Yeh I know thinking about the future too much is silly and all that, but I would still like to know its possible to have girls want you as an older man, even if your not some millionaire stockbroker who can buy them diamond necklaces, ughh.

Chase Amante's picture


There's nothing wrong with thinking about the future so long as you're taking action to shape the future into what you want it to be, rather than simply filling your time up with idle daydreaming.

There are other paths to success with younger women as an older man than net worth. In fact, from all the men I've seen, you're a lot more likely to be successful with younger women as an older man with a good mix of being in great shape, having enough money to be independent, and living a passionate life, than you will only having one of those things - e.g., a guy who's filthy rich but in poor health and poor shape and does nothing but work 24/7 will only tend to attract gold diggers (and often even not especially attractive ones); a guy who's in incredible shape but broke and leading an uneventful life will still end up with older women, or trashy younger ones. But a guy with a great body, a decent income, and a pretty good lifestyle will very often routinely get attractive younger women, who find him a nice, well-rounded package.

So, I'd say, even if you COULD be an outlier in wealth, you'd need to focus at least some time on other things too. And if you don't want to be one, that's fine - just make sure you're not a complete financial failure, that you're in pretty good shape and health (a little muscle on your arms / legs, and ideally no beer belly), stylish and fashionable, and lead an at least somewhat interesting life, from a younger woman's perspective (cool activities, artistic hobbies, etc.).


Anonymous's picture

But Chase, what happens if you're having issues with higher ups than you? Would the things you're teaching on this site-how to call people out, stand up for yourself etc.-have negative repercussions when used on superiors and managers? I had a control freak, perfectionist manager once who was basically a hot shot. He chewed me out all the time for ridiculous things and wasn't afraid to speak his mind. Now that I think about it he really treated me like shit sometimes and I was even working for free. I'm not sure he would have appreciated any kind of retaliation.

I'd also appreciate your advice on this situation: I emailed a former supervisor whom I'd worked for a few years ago for a letter of recommendation. I spent a few hours writing that request so it was very respectful and appreciative. I even talked about how impressed with her I was and how much I'd learned which was the complete truth (although now that I think about it, maybe it would have been better to reach out to her less formally and more as a friend?). I had a bad feeling when I sent it out just because I could never read her back then. Anyway, she responded the next day at night time (which was strange so I could tell she had been thinking about it) and in a brief message thanked me for what I said and said that she would if she could but can't because my employment was a few years ago for a short amount of time and she doesn't know me well enough to write something in depth. I know plenty of people who have gotten letters from their managers under the same exact circumstances though, and I could tell she didn't want to talk to me because she didn't even ask me how I was doing or have any questions about my request. She just ended the message saying best of luck to you. I responded to her saying thanks for the feedback etc. but would appreciate some kind of reference at least and she has not responded for a few days.

From what I remember she was a very by the book person but I could never tell if she liked me or not. She was friendly and was a good manager, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that I got the impression that she didn't always say or act the way she was thinking. She said she was very pleased with my work and that I could use her as a reference when I left, so I'm a bit confused. She's smart enough to handle situations in a politically correct manner, so maybe she says things just for the sake of saying them. Throughout my time there, she did say I was doing a good job and gave me advice when I asked, but I didn't feel like she really valued me.

So how do I move on from here? Maybe she's just the type of person who feels offended by a late request, email request, doesn't remember what I did, or doesn't want to write something if she can't write something really strong etc. etc. Or maybe after I left they found out I screwed something up. I'm in the dark though and have no clue what to do. I was expecting a strong reference for all my hard work and effort, and now would settle for anything remotely positive. It sucks to have this bad luck with managers but maybe I should be more careful about who I work for next time.

Thank you Chase.

Chase Amante's picture


You usually won't have leverage over a bad boss, so usually the best call if you have an insufferable superior is just to leave and go somewhere else. Occasionally you can work with higher ups, however; I've had friends who reported to higher ups, and in my days of employment, I'd very frequently ally myself with my boss's bosses, and tap them to get what I wanted when my boss wouldn't be willing to work with me (I tried to only do this for things where I knew the boss would agree with me if he had all the details, just to not be undermining him too much - e.g., I didn't have the power to fire people, but went around my boss to have someone fired when he tried to fight me at work; boss was frustrated at first, but later got on my side when they realized they hadn't done a background check on the fired guy and he had a long criminal history of getting in big, bloody fights at work and being in and out of prison). However, if the boss is really terrible, and you don't have a higher up who can transfer you out of that situation to somewhere else, start interviewing elsewhere.

On the manager not remembering you, usually the best option after a few years is to write to a manager and respectfully ask if you can get a recommendation, plus offering to write a short recommendation that you can send to her to save her time if she'd rather just scan that, make sure she agrees with everything, and signs off on it. If it's because she's pressed for time, often she'll just say sure, send it over; if she won't agree to that, usually she doesn't like you for whatever reason. I haven't had many female bosses, but I've often found that they tend to be pretty snippy. No problems with them myself, but a LOT of the male employees they don't get along with so well, often with the male not knowing why (if you're not super socially calibrated, it's easy to step on a woman's toes in office settings; deference is arguably more important with working women than it is with working men, because women in managerial roles are so sensitive to insufficiently deferential men, and many men don't know how to properly defer).


Anonymous's picture

After reading through this article I found it to be very informative, but confusing in other areas. At first you say not to fight an uphill battle because you will lose. But at the end when you talk about crushing your enemy you gave the same examples for both. IE: leaving your co worker in the dark so you can do the substantial work and shine in front of your boss. The two points just seem to contradict each other. Is there another way to crush a stubborn enemy without playing their game?

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