In the jobs I've had over the recent years, I've found that I've needed to keep a file simply named, "CYA".
Now what does this mean? Well, one way you could phrase it is "Cover Your Assets". It's a file where I would put things to prove this or that in case it came back to bite me later.
Why do I even need such a file? Sadly, it seems more and more people are doing whatever they can to get ahead--and one really bad way they do it is by tearing other people down. On more than one occasion, I've had to defend myself against allegations that were nothing more than people trying to make me look bad so that they, themselves, look better.
Sadly, I've seen a trend where more and more people are being ranked against their peers--and it's all about being number 1. At one place I worked, a report was sent out daily. It was called "The Motivation Report". It tracked several different categories and then ranked you with an overall score. To make things even more "motivational", it would highlight the areas you were doing well in by coloring them green. And if you weren't doing well? It would be in red. And this report was sent to everyone.
There is a fundamental flaw in this process. There can only be one, well, "1". So really, how motivational is it to be shown everyday that you aren't number 1? Again, some people see the only way to get to the top isn't by excelling at their job, but rather, to tear others down, thereby lifting up their ranking.
I've personally seen people do unethical things to increase their ranking, because that is where the focus was. Oh, they may not out and out lie, but they withhold information, or perhaps promise the best case as the norm.
I believe this is more widespread than just the work place. I consider myself to be a fairly intelligent person--the key word there being "fairly". I can generally sense when people are trying to pull a fast one on me.
An example? How about those misleading checks you get in the mail? At first glance, they look like a real check. They are written out to me for some usually high dollar amount. Then in small printing, it is written, "This is not an actual check. By signing and depositing this check, you agree to enroll in some program you really don't need that actually costs 4 times as much as this check every month. In addition this program is next to impossible to cancel. Go ahead and try to contact us. We're available from 3:00 am to 3:15 am Zimbabwe time."
If you are one of those people who feel you have to be number one, I give you this challenge. Go to a graveyard and find a tombstone that states the person was ranked number one in something they did at work.