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Well, here is the thing with an office politics situation. I am wanting to get advice.

A couple of weeks ago, our Grand Poobah called a meeting to discuss yon upcoming Big State Powwow. The Big State Powwow is a yearly event which everyone in my department is required to attend and which almost everyone in the entire state doing my job attends. There are various workshops to attend in which various topics applicable to our job are given. Poobah says, at our meeting, that this year they are going to have a panel discussion of something I happen to be somewhat of an expert in. They want people to volunteer to be on this panel so our department looks good, and Poobah says it does not matter how long anyone has worked in the department, etc., she encourages everyone to get involved in this thing. Aside: We need 4-5 people from our department of maybe 30 people, all but one or two of whom consider the word "volunteer" to be an obscenity. Poobah looks hopefully around the room as people study really interesting things in the carpet. Poobah calls on a few people who tactfully decline because they are planning to use the last of their vacation time to have root canals on the day of the Powwow. She finally points out a staff member who is our department representative to the Powwow, and indicates that the vast numbers of volunteers not presently trampling one another in their zeal (or noticeable lack thereof) to press themselves into service should contact this representative, and repeats the statement that anyone, regardless of tenure, would be warmly welcomed onto this project.

It so happens that I am intensely interested in the subject matter of this proposed project. It was the subject of my dissertation and I have spent over five years working with the subject exclusively, and have since working in this department for three years completed about 100 reports a year devoted to this subject. After the meeting, I approach the representative person and tell her I am interested.

At this point, we enter the Wayback Machine and return to high school, picking up on the way the idea that some people are really cool and other people have cooties, and transferring this to the workplace. The representative has a pretty solid clique mentality. This person does not participate in department events, but instead helps stage smaller, very exclusive events that include a few people who have been in the department anywhere from over twenty to less than two years, all of whom are defined as "people who've been here awhile."

Back to "Hey, I'm interested in this project and want to volunteer." The representative tells me, "Well, we really wanted to get people who've been here awhile." I point out my qualifications. Rep just stares at me. I leave. I put out some feelers and find out that not only has no one else volunteered for this thing, the representative has attempted to recruit a couple of people who have much less time in the department than I do, and much less experience with the subject, and they told her to go visit a very warm subterranian locale. I am, quite frankly, rather p!ssed off to learn of this.

I realize "people who've been here awhile" translates as "people I think are cool and who don't have cooties." But, what to do? Blow the whole thing off? Talk to management? Pour pig blood on her at the prom (oh, I forgot, we're not really in high school and don't really have a prom) a la "Carrie?"
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