I learned a new expression in Arabic today: يصطاد في الماء العكر pronounced “yastahd fee al-mah al-aker”, meaning “fishing in unclear water.”
Say your boss is giving you a hard time. Then, say someone who doesn’t like your boss gets promoted above her. Now your boss is reporting to someone who won’t listen to her, who won’t take her seriously or be on her side. Now you are in a position to push back on your boss because she can’t go and complain to her own boss and get action. If things were “clear” between them you would be fishing in clear water and you would not have any leverage, but because of the conflict between them, you are “fishing in unclear water” and have influence you would not have otherwise, and can more easily enforce expectations of professional behavior.