We looked for answers to these questions in the comments about
political behavior at work that were volunteered in response to the
questions about career challenges, retention, and generational
conﬂict, and in response to speciﬁc questions we asked about how
people get ahead at work.
How important do you think internal politics is in your work-
place? According to the people of all generations who ﬁlled out
the survey, internal politics is one of the major issues that—believe
it or not—actually interferes with getting their job done. For ex-
ample, people wrote about how dealing with a bad boss, peer jeal-
ousy, political sabotage, managing older bosses, being the youngest
one on an executive team, having political battles for resources,
not being skilled politically, and not getting recognition for good
work reduced their productivity signiﬁcantly, causing them to get
much less done for the good of the organization than they could.
They also commented that sometimes the amount of “politicking”
made them less energized to get anything done at all. In essence
they said that politics made work much less interesting and much
less fun, which caused them to do less and to want to do less.
Learning How to Be Political
Early Xers talked about needing to learn how to be more politically
aware and savvy. They talked about how they thought it was a skill
set they didn’t have and one that they felt was important to learn.
They understood the importance of political skills for doing well in
an organization, although they obviously weren’t happy about its
appearing to be more important than doing the work well.
Politics seems to be the primary driver for promotion (who you
know with a vote) rather than one’s performance record.
Politics Causing Bad Business Decisions
Another political issue that both Boomers and Xers talked about
as having a signiﬁcantly negative effect on getting their job done
88 RETIRING THE GENERATION GAP