Must You Play Games In The Office?

My basic nature is to value honesty and transparency and to move away from game playing. When it comes to the work world, there is a fine line here between dangerous naiveté and maliciousness. Machiavelli tells us games are inherent in human nature and we must become expert in playing them. Some say they don’t like the games, so they ignore them.

When I began my career, I was given a book Games Mother Never Taught You that discusses the games many are unaware of, but must know about, in order to succeed at work. It helped me navigate through the games I began experiencing at work.

What are games, when it comes to work? I think games are manipulations of people and circumstances towards a desired (frequently self-serving) end. Often, games are played in a secretive way, with only the person playing them or a small group of people, knowing what is happening and what the “rules” are. In the course of a game, it is common that people are manipulated and treated unfairly.

My best answer to the lead question of this blog post is no, you do not have to play games in the office. However, it behooves you to be aware of them, hone your skills to know when they are being played and know how to protect yourself and proceed within them. In a perfect world, we’d have transparency and honesty in our dealings. Alas, we do not live in a perfect world. Best that you accept the presence of games in your interactions with people and learn how to safeguard yourself, and your interests, when they are being played.

Who is holding a console in your workplace?


photo: Arvind Balaraman,