Trust no one, not even your ‘friends’

November 17, 2008

Worried about layoffs? Backstabbers at work, can’t really trust anyone, not even your ‘friends?’

Scapegoating is also more common during a recession because bad economic times draw attention to problems and inefficiencies inside companies that might otherwise be ignored during a boom, says Harvey.

“When things tighten up, inefficiencies and problems become bigger issues. You can no longer hide them,” he adds.

It’s easy to get blindsided by a co-worker playing the blame game, because such subterfuge takes place behind the scenes and because people are so focused on the specter of a layoff that they fail to recognize coworkers’ machinations. Thus, a victim of workplace scapegoating often doesn’t realize what’s happening until his boss calls him into the office for a tense discussion about why the victim’s software contains more bugs than the Amityville Horror House.

Don’t trust the ones who you obviously shouldn’t trust, and don’t trust the ones who you have been trusting:

You also need to tune your radar to people who might try to throw you under the bus. Take a look around the office and identify the complainers and back-stabbers, the people you’ve heard bad-mouthing others, and realize that they could direct their ire at you, too.

Don’t ignore your friends, either, says Harvey. “It is so common for people to not want to be blamed that even people who are your friends, when push comes to shove, if they feel their career is in jeopardy, they may feel justified in doing it,” he says.


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