99% of all workplaces work on the jungle law principle - survival of the fittest and the 'cunningest', if there is such a word. Rather than complain about it, you got to survive by your wits. A summary of an excellent article at gawker titled, How to Win In the Machiavellian Workplace.
1. Cultivate your boss - If your boss is of the maniacal type, keep your head down, do your work, and keep quiet. If you want to, praise him indirectly, and see to it that the praise gets to him. Do not try to get his attention overtly.
If your boss is smarter than you, and there will be many, agree with him all the time, and if you want to speak, talk in philosophical terms.
If your boss is hands-off type, easygoing, always distracted with something, this is your best chance to shine, and never forget to blame him for your failures.
If your boss is like you, act on your bright ideas you were always afraid to try out. But do not spend too much time talking your strategy with him.
2. Always be on the look out for coworkers you can befriend or exploit later.
Don't expect much from coworkers you get along with daily. Those are just your good-time friends.
Make friends with coworkers who are into kissing the boss's ass. Never know when you might need them. But no over-sharing with these
Keep incompetent coworkers in good humor so that you can pin your failures/shortcomings on to them.
3. Never let your enemies (for example, competition, backstabbers, etc.) know you think too much about them.
Plot their fall all the time. Report about their slightest mistake (with maximum discretion, of course) to the human resources who always want to prove their worth.
Always think this: Your time will come.