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It really depends whether or not your department head of chief is a back stabber. If they are: 1) you should really find a place to work where its frowned upon; if not, 2) live by the old addage "if you want to beat someone at they ball park, play by there rules to win.
The latter strategy takes incredible cleverness and cool. I have had to do it, but I loathe it.
IF YOU CAN RAP WITH YOUR BOSS, talk about it casually with them. A good boss will reassure you that backstabbing nd witch huntung is not tolerated in the organization.
Take aside the key people you have to work with, tell them things about yourself *in confidence* that are incredibly outragous, and untrue. Then wait and watch... The stories that come back were obviously from the people you can't trust, so don't trust them. Eventually you can laugh with the ones who held your confidence, and you simply deny the other silly rumors.
I can agree with that. In a unique twist to Mastiff's situation, I was often on the receiving end of those stories that are to test one's loyalties. I never peeped a word. And you know what? After a while, those "fish stories" were exchanged with real stories and I became so trusted by those folks that they began to tell me all the juicy gossip and future policy changes before they actually happened. In a way, I established a unique political advantage over many of my peers. After awhile, it was quite easy to dodge changes while the others complained about the pain. I never knew what to say to them. And they never knew that I knew. So, loyalty and honesty does pay, if ya asks me.