Its a common scenario in a lot of offices: for some reason or another, the boss has befriended one person at the office and has decided to provide that individual with preferential treatment – the best projects, promotions and raises. Meanwhile, another person gets the shaft from the boss and generally feels worthless or unappreciated.
In other words, if the workplace VIP makes a mistake its OK; if the workplace victim makes the same error then they will be reprimanded and torn to shreds almost immediately.
Despite the hiring manager or the small business owner claiming to operate an egalitarian workforce where everyone is treated fairly and given the same amount of scrutiny or praise, the fact is that there will always be one supervisor, manager, executive or owner who will select one person out of the bunch to be their VIP.
There have been many theories as to why this transpires: are the superiors still immature and treat the office like a playground? Does the boss want to be accepted by the cool people of the office like in high school? Perhaps the supervisor shares many things in common with a colleague. Who knows?
One thing is for sure is that its toxic to the rest of the office as it can prompt the staff to reduce their productivity levels and maybe even quit the company to seek greater pastures elsewhere.
Favoritism is absolutely seen in most offices, big or small, said Ryan Kahn, a career coach and author of "Hired! The Guide for the Recent Grad," in an interview with Forbes. People enjoy working with friends, which often inadvertently turns into favoritism. It can start as something as simple as being included on a lunch outing where business is discussed and may lead to something much more substantial, like getting salary and promotional benefits. Wanting to work with people you like is fine, as long as it is fair to other employees.
Its very rare that the human resources department or the company itself addresses this facet. If thats the case in your enterprise then here are three tips to follow if youre the victim of workplace favoritism (tips for workplace VIPs will follow):
If youre sick and tired of seeing others get promoted or gain special treatment then its best that you speak up about it. You should air your grievances with any type of people in management positions, whether its a professional in HR, the team of executives or the manager playing the favoritism game. If you dont address it then perhaps the problem will never be solved.
A model employee
Even if youre frustrated and disgruntled by the office nepotism, this shouldnt mean that you should stop doing your job in the most professional and productive manner possible. Instead of slacking off out of irritation, do your job, come in on time, work well with others and be a model employee.
It is difficult to comprehend why certain people in your office are receiving preferable treatment – it could be because they share the same interests outside of work or their family members are friends – but it would be wise to try to understand the special relationship that the boss and subordinate share. Its possible that there could actually be a rational unknown reason.
Here are three tips to follow if youre the workplace VIP:
Address the issue
Although it may seem tempting to continue on receiving extra benefits and regular pay raises, it still doesnt make it right to be the favorite of the office. Rather than maintaining the status quo and being in the ire of your colleagues, speak with your boss and try to find out why youre receiving the VIP treatment and explain how it should stop.
The next time your boss recommends you for a promotion or to do special projects consider declining the invitation. Its easy to be complacent and earning that extra money but you dont want to be unfair to others or be the most hated person at work. You dont have to go into any further explanation for your decision; just say no.
Remember, youre not at work to make friends, find your one true love or correct the mistakes of your childhood. Youre at work to earn a living, improve the business and enhance your career. If youre the life of the office and are the apple of your bosss eye then tone it down. Be professional, continue to be trustworthy with your boss and colleagues and recommend others to complete certain projects or to receive other perks.
Never discuss your health, wealth and other personal matters with anyone outside of your immediate family. Be very disciplined in this regard, stated Robin Sharma, author of The Top 200 Secrets of Success and the Pillars of Self-Mastery, in an interview with the Deccan Herald.
Workplace favoritism can be poisonous if it persists. Not only does it hurt the long-term success of the business, it also hurts the employees because they have to be on the receiving end of the bosss dissatisfaction with work. Its important to realize that its the boss that shouldnt run a business if he wants to make friends. The office should be a meritocracy not a bar to mingle in.
Have you been the victim or VIP of workplace favoritism? Let us know in the comment section.