The further up the corporate ladder one climbs the more Machiavellian ones colleagues appear to be. Apportioning blame, taking undue credit and generally deceiving others can all be hugely advantageous when promotions come around. Should we accept that certain careers are merely games and if we want to play we must be prepared to do things that would not be considered outside the workplace?

If I say no will this be taken as my trying to impress readers with my strong commitment to ethics? If I say yes then perhaps I am only trying to persuade you of my firm realism.

On the other hand, we do need to accept that political life does involve making the right sort of impression on others, and this is just as true within the organization as in party politics. But there is a difference between putting the brightest feasible perspective on one's own achievements and running down others, especially if this involves deceit. One may try to excuse the latter by saying that it is better for a good person to succeed through dubious methods than for a dubious person to employ such methods, or worse, and succeed. It probably is, but once one has stirred the pot of intrigue it is very difficult for one's character to survive unblemished. It becomes ever easier the next time to seek to deceive, and we may not notice that our aims then are less worthy than they were initially. Once attention moves from the results of such behavior to its likely damage to the characters of the participants, it seems that far more than just cynicism is implicated here.

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