SELF-PROMOTION IS VITAL
The Pfeffer method is probably most suitable to corporate life. But there are tips for anyone seeking a route up, or out of an unfulfilling rut.
They include making yourself and your achievements as visible as possible, projecting confidence and authority, and making sure you network, network, network: You have to become an invaluable conduit and contact.
His first piece of advice, however, is to face up to the fact that this stuff is vital: You need to, in his words, “get out of your own way”. Don’t disapprove of people you see engaged in self-promoting stratagems, learn from them.
And if your identity depends on belief in, as Pfeffer satirically puts it, “a just world and the ultimate triumph of merit”, you are in danger of sacrificing what you want from your working life.
FINDING WAYS TO MAKE YOUR MARK
Don’t get me wrong. Unlike many others, actual democratic politics has been a life-long obsession and delight to me, but I am not totally sold on the Pfeffer method of mastering the work-based variety. Do not expect a memoir entitled How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Love Office Politics.
While Pfeffer argues you can’t fight “the behavioural realities of power”, straying too far from your core values will make you feel dreadful. But I am convinced by one thing: Hiding from the trade-offs you are already making will send you straight back to that pity party.