I'm okay to work in a small firm that nobody knows of, I'm okay to work from home if need be, but I don't want to get caught in office politics. I'm just not the kind of person that can handle office politics, it leads me to have panic attacks and breakdowns. Is there any way you can completely avoid that politics and just focus on your job? I know it might sound like I'm a coward, but if being coward means I can preserve my mental peace and spend my mental energy on the actual work rather than other bull**bleep** gossip, then yes I'd love to be a coward.
they are tricky to navigate for sure, but I don't think you can completely avoid them unless you work for yourself. I'd try my best to not participate in any gossip and just always treat people with respect even if they are being nasty to you. best of luck.
In my experience being an IT contractor is an ideal way of avoiding office politics. You are paid by the hour to do your job and if you do this successfully you will continue to be employed. You can ignore all of the "company stuff" going on around you. If you have no choice but to be a permanent employee then it becomes a bit harder. Usually most serious workplace problems are caused by staff, especially managers, not treating others well - I don't really regard this as politics. The best way to fix this is to change job to a company where you are treated well.