How to Play in the Waves: Your Guide to Surviving a New Job in Troubled Waters

May 29, 2023 | Overcoming Perceived Liabilities

How to Play in the Waves


So it seems that getting this new job isn’t going to be the biggest challenge that job change is presenting. Let’s just say that as it turns out, loving the job is easy, it’s loving the company that may be the problem. 

The organization is embroiled with internal politics and it’s starting to seep into the external client relationships. Successfully navigating troubles such as these can be a testament to your resilience, professional integrity, and leadership.

During part 5 of this 8-part series for navigating the challenging parts of your job search process, we will explore the key ideas to help you decide if managing through the turmoil will be worth the challenge.


Part 5: Your Guide to Surviving a New Job in Troubled Waters


Understand the Landscape

First and foremost, invest time to understand the company culture and power dynamics. Observe interactions, communication styles, and how decisions are made. Are there factions within the company? Who are the influencers and decision-makers? This understanding will enable you to navigate the politics effectively, know who to align with, and avoid potential pitfalls.

Maintain Professionalism and Integrity

In the face of internal politics or reputational issues, maintaining your professionalism and integrity is paramount. Avoid getting involved in office gossip and ensure your actions align with your values and professional ethics. Remember, your behavior can set a precedent for others to follow.

Seek Guidance

Mentors can provide invaluable guidance during periods of professional indecision. They offer objective insights and advice based on experience and having ridden the waves of office turmoil. If an internal mentor is not available or appropriate, seek a mentor from outside the company. This can provide a broader perspective and unbiased advice.

Establish Clear Communication

Communicating effectively becomes even more crucial when the work environment is riddled with politics. Clarity, transparency, and consistency in your communication can help prevent misunderstandings and build trust with your team and colleagues. Whenever possible, capture communications related to your role in change in writing, CYA whenever possible.

Keep a Long-Term Perspective

It’s essential to think long-term. If the company has a poor reputation, consider how this could affect your career. If your path to contribute to improving the company’s reputation is clear then proceed with a timeline to see results? Also, set your boundaries for when to exit should the improvement results not emerge in a timely manner.

Know When to Exit

If the politics or ethical dilemmas become unbearable or compromise your integrity, it might be time to consider leaving. No job is worth sacrificing your peace of mind or values.



In conclusion, navigating a new job amidst internal politics or a poor company reputation can be challenging but not impossible. Remember, the way you respond to this situation can demonstrate your capacity to lead and succeed amidst complexity and adversity. In a sink or swim world, this may be the opportunity for you to show that you know how to push ahead in calm and in troubled waters.


Next Week, Part 6: “Addressing Compensation and Negotiation Challenges”

Patrick Lage

Written By: Terri Wiksten, Chief Operating Officer

Terri Wiksten is a dynamic powerhouse who works harder than anyone you know and tackles every task with 100% effort while maintaining her enthusiastic, cheerleader attitude!

She loves helping professionals save time and money as they search for their next challenge and thrives on how technology turned this industry on its head, allowing for constant change and opportunity to do things better and more effectively for our clients.