There are a number of things in life often labeled as necessary evils. You may not like them but you have to swallow the bitter pill.

Examples include in-laws, trips to the dentist, cleaning out the garage, meeting your teenage daughter's new boyfriend, etc.

In the business world, office politics fits the above description. Saying you’re not affected by office politics is like saying you’re not affected by politics at large.

No matter where you work, you’ll deal with people and their interests. The sooner you learn how to play the game, the more influence you’ll have at work – and in your own career.

This doesn’t mean that you have to become another Machivelli and get your hands dirty to succeed.

These are the five reasons why you need to engage in office politics

  • Play the game to accelerate your career

Remind yourself, as many times as it takes, that you’re not engaging in office politics for fun or to be one of “them;” you’re doing it for two reasons: career success and job fulfillment.

Deciding to stay out of office politics altogether isn’t an effective strategy. As long as it’s going on around you, you’re going to be affected by it. It’s a lot better to be a competent, conscious player than to be a bystander or a pawn in the game.

The key is to understand the players and the rules and then to play the game in a way that aligns with your personal values and principles.

  • Make alliances

You can’t just do your job. You need allies. Succeeding in today’s workplace requires that you be a “team player.

The ability to negotiate, influence, engage, convince and persuade effectively to get things done is the essence of political skill.

Politics at work does not occur in a vacuum, but rather through interactions with others.

Choosing not to engage in office politics leads to further isolation. It also makes it more difficult to try and have any sort of influence down the road.

  • Keeping it zipped

While office gossip and chatter can be titillating, it can also be cruel.

Think of gossip as spam or junk mail and hit the "delete" button. When people approach you with juicy details about Mr. or Ms. So-and-So, politely put a stop to the conversation and exit.

When gossip-mongers realize that no one is listening, they'll quiet down and get back to work.

  • Keep your cool

Nothing that happens at the office is worth a heart attack. In the big scheme of things, will the issue matter in a week? A month? A year? As you keep things in perspective, you will also be less prone to turning incidents into catastrophes. Strive for equanimity at all times.

  • Let your work speak for itself

Interesting enough, people may not like you at the office, they might not care to invite you for a drink after work or their wedding but if your work is extremely good you will always have their respect and admiration.