Good article John. Anyone who worked in the Cubicle Culture, like I did, know what you are talking about. What is truly amazing is that the people that are very involved in trying to make themselves look good to the boss(s) spend more time doing this than actually working towards their goal. There thought was that if they want to get ahead, they must walk over and around people that are also looking at getting ahead. Of course everyone in business has come across this well worn quote, “In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.” This was created by a Canadian Scholar of Education, Laurence J. Peter. Remember that everybody up to a certain level is paranoid about someone showing up their incompetence and surpassing them with early completion of projects, and being asked to take meetings over their primary Boss(s). The most important thing is to never assume that you are indispensable when you have a winning day.
From my own personal experiences, my last position was working for a huge Benefits management company with divisions throughout the United States, Canada, South America and Europe. My position was Accounts Representative, Human Resource Manager for six companies, Open Enrollment for these companies and, Retirement benefits Specialist for six companies. The go to representative for locating Medical Facilities for people that lived outside their medical coverage areas. I was the Cobra and HIPAA consultant for any questions about the Cobra law and HIPAA regulations. Then, I became a FSA specialist to assist the transition of FSA accounts from one year to the next. I was also the person that entered claims and receipts received from people to be paid from their FSA accounts. I was also a Scheduler for our Corporation, in St. Petersburg, Livonia and Salt Lake City. I did the scheduling for the personal when they would be late, any Unexcused absence or Tardiness. I was also the person to review the daily phone usage and to assess what people were to be sent home early or had to stay late. This was based on many factors, but I was able to maintain an excellent call volume for each department that was involved in the HIPAA, Cobra, H&R, and FSA departments.
But the important thing to remember is that when you allow yourself to become to much in demand and to indispensable, you will create a position where you become a target for anyone who is above you in any department that may feel threatened by your abilities to achieve certain goals.
My whole Philosophy of business is just this. “When in Trouble, When in Doubt, Run in Circles, Scream and Shout.”