mixed mind salad

dressing optional

How to survive in the corporate world

I have worked in the corporate environment for the past 10 years and I felt I should share some tips on how to survive and succeed in this environment.

Before we move on to the specifics, I should point out that I have failed miserably in the corporate context and I have been a complete disaster in playing the corporate game so please bear that in mind as you read on.

1. Kindness

There is no room for kindness in corporate world so if you live by the principle of treating people how you would like to be treated you will need to park that until you leave the office. In corporate world you will need to display selfishness, narcissism and a willingness to walk all over whoever you can in your attempt to climb up the corporate ladder.

2. Crystal Ball

Having a crystal ball will come in very handy because in sales you are expected to know exactly what you will be selling weeks in advance. The ability to look into the future is not something that corporations will teach you so you’d better pull your socks up and learn it for yourself!!

3. Doing tasks to keep your boss in a job.

This is probably one of the most important aspects of survival in corporate world! If you want to be successful in the corporate hierarchy, you will need to spend a large proportion of your working time completing work created by your boss so that he/she can justify their own existence within the corporation. This work is usually completely irrelevant to the larger good of the company but is a perfect way of killing time you could have spent in more productive ways. It is, however, important to do this work as if it was more important than what you were employed to do and if you can do it with a smile on your face, even better!

4. Smile or Die!

Ok I stole the title of this from Barbara Ehrenreich’s book (which in my view is a must read) but if you want to succeed and survive in the corporate context you are required to remain positive at all times. In fact this is far more important than skills and intelligence! You may actually be better off if you were to park your intelligence at home, because questioning the status quo is a big no no in the corporate world. You were not employed to think, you were employed to do whatever you were asked to do! Trust me on this, I have been forced to listen to phrases like “I want to see lots of energy and positive attitude” on a daily basis!!

5. Stab your colleagues in the back.

This is a very useful skill to have in your ascent up the corporate ladder. You may lose some self respect in the process but surely that is a price well paid for a job title that your ego can be proud of. There are various ways of doing this;

You will need to be alert and on the lookout for colleagues making mistakes and when they do, you email them pointing out the mistake and copy their boss in on the email. This is the perfect way of earning brownie points from your peers! Don’t worry about the consequences of your back stabbing efforts because in corporate world “failure is not an option!” and if you can help your boss weeding out these failures, you are on your way!

6. Making a difference.

This is of no importance whatsoever unless making a difference translates into more sales. If you are in a client facing role, your job is not to listen to what the client wants. Your job is to sell them as many products as possible and if you fail at that task then you will be required to pester them on a regular basis until they finally sign on the dotted line.

7. Work – Life Balance.

If you really want to succeed then you will have to forget about the life part of the work-life balance, there is no balance! Your contract may state that you are required to work during the hours of 9-5 but you need to understand that this is just a technicality! In reality, there are no limits to the number of hours you work. In fact you could boost your climb up the corporate ladder by demonstrating your willingness to give up on life altogether for the greater good of the company. A good way of doing this is by sending emails from home, preferably late at night and on weekends. The best time to do this is between the hours of 10-11pm, which shows dedication, but more importantly, make sure you copy your boss in on the emails.

As I mentioned earlier, I have been a complete failure at playing the corporate game and as a result of that I was asked to resign from my position which I did last Tuesday.

I may have failed at playing the corporate game but at least I have stayed true my own beliefs and I can go to sleep at the end of every day, safe in the knowledge that my focus remained on the needs of my clients instead of the desire to satisfy a sales target!


in conversation with vivienne tuffnell

Vivienne TuffnellI am sat curled up in an arm chair with a nice cup of coffee by my side (I have just been corrected by Viv who claims it is an awesome cup of coffee) and I am surrounded by books as well as two cats who are looking at me as if I am an intruder…but except for the cats I have been welcomed as if I was part of the family.

Viv is sat across from me with an equally awesome cup of coffee, (at least according to her) while her husband is cooking roast duck, which, if the smell of it is anything to go by, I am in for a dinner worthy of a King. I have often had this image in my head of what a writer may look like based on their work and the real Viv is not far from how I imagined her.

Viv, first of all thank you for agreeing to do this, I get the feeling that you are not keen on the idea of praise?

It’s not so much praise as gush!
I also have an unfailing radar for bullshit when it comes to insincerity. I know I write well; that’s not false modesty. But I guess I prefer it if praise comes with a real sense of engaging with what someone is praising; I like to know what exactly they liked. On a purely personal level, yes, I do have a problem with praise because it makes me uncomfortable; it changes the relationship and if it gives me no opportunity to reciprocate that leaves me feeling unhappy. In the world of the Celts(who I claim some kindred with) a gift MUST be met with another gift. So to receive praise I need to be able to do more than gabble
“Thank you!” and run away. It’s all about relationship I think.

I understand your point but from my perspective you write in way that keeps my attention and very few authors have achieved that. No need to reciprocate by the way!

Where did the inspiration for Strangers & Pilgrims come from?

Actually a lot of places. I did write at the start of the book that the Wellspring is a real place and indeed it is. But the characters have been around in my head for a while. Some of the events are from dreams. Some of the places are real famous places too, like Glastonbury and Bath. I think it was quite hard to write because it was such a different task, to write from the perspectives of six different people. And each of those characters is a facet in certain ways of my own…

I can imagine because they are very different and yet they seem to search for the same thing, a relief from the pain they are feeling. What really drew me into the story was the fact that I felt I was part of the journey. Sometimes it was as an observer but sometimes I felt I was actually part of the story. How much of the story is purely fiction and how much is based on your own experiences?

Hmmmm….that’s a hard one because in some ways it’s all fiction but it’s also all true. The incident that I can say did happen to me was the time when Ginny was taken to Avalon; I camped at the foot of the Tor many years ago now and woke in the night. Wandering through the campsite a heavy mist descended and I actually became lost in it, trying to find the bathroom block which was only about 30 yards away from my tent. It was very eerie and I felt very certain that if I just did something or said something I could part the mists and travel to the land of Avalon. Needless to say, I didn’t, but at times I still wonder what would have happened if I had.

You seem to have a very active imagination to which I can relate as my imagination often take over from reality. However, I often wonder, is there a price to pay for the creativity involved in writing a book?

Yes. Unequivocally yes. Sometimes it’s enough to make me want to stop it dead in its tracks . But it’s worth it when I have finished a piece of work. There is something mysterious about how it all happens to come together without me having to direct it; a story has a life of its own when you let it have its head.

Can you give us an example of when the price made you want to stop it dead in it’s tracks?

To answer this I think I need to backtrack a little. You know me quite well and you know about the depression I’ve suffered much of my life. It’s all connected with that, I think. Part of clinical depression is about brain chemicals but in my own case, some of it is to do with having too few skins to cope well with life. Much of my life I’ve been told I am “too sensitive” and to “toughen up”, which is really not a lot of use. I wonder if what makes me able to write is also what makes me so subject to depression. When I am writing a book, it flows generally with such ease as to be almost automatic writing; I don’t really concentrate. I just write. Things come out as if out of nowhere. Entire plots materialise, out of a few random thoughts, with such power I find myself unable to sleep for days at a time. But that has to come out of somewhere very deep, so deep as to be inaccessible to my conscious mind and those deep places are often the same ones that are involved with my depression, and the same memories and feelings. So in some ways, writing is a therapy; it takes away the pain. But at the same time, the depths that are creating the pain are what I use for the writing. Chicken and egg. I’m not sure I can explain it better than that. The downside, the things that make me want to shut it all off, result in spending days unable to leave the house, weeping uncontrollably at the silliest things and sometimes wishing I might die, well, I do ask myself if it’s worth it. When I have finished a book, or even a short story of poem and I feel I have been present at an act of magic, then I do think it’s worth it, especially when people tell me how much they enjoyed something and how it has helped them. Your comments regarding one novel in particular have touched me very deeply indeed. So that’s another reason why I wanted so much to have the novels out there and available for people to read.

I have often been told that I am too sensitive and that I think too much so I can easily relate to that. I don’t remember the exact nature of the comment but I do know the novel you are referring to and in my humble opinion it really has to be out there.

I remember telling people about the synopsis when I was on a training course and their jaws dropped, which was immediately followed by “where can we get it?”

It wasn’t so much a comment as a series of comments relating to a particular character.

I know the one!

When did you make the decision to go for the self publishing route and how do you feel about the book now being out in the public domain?

That was last April.

I feel good about it. I’d like to see wider sales and availability but that’s something we can work on.

What’s next in terms of further releases?

OK, well I am working on something very exciting which I hope to have released by the end of this year but it may be early next year. It all depends. You can’t hurry these things. I’ll keep you posted; you’ll probably be one of the first to know!

I’m usually working on a few things at once, but like almost all writers, I do have a day job too (well, actually three which sort of add up to almost one if you know what I mean) and a home and family and friends to take care of. I’m also a beekeeper so I have a good fifty thousand little ladies to take care of too. My life provides as much inspiration as it does distraction though. I don’t think I’d want to sequester myself to write, at least not for long; life around me is what gives the little nudges and clues about the stories I am thinking about. I love listening in to people around me; it gives snapshots of other lives that somehow are very enthralling. But life is like that I guess.

The most mouth-watering roast duck has just appeared from the kitchen and with that, this chat came to a natural end as we gathered around the table to enjoy the most wonderful feast cooked by Viv’s husband.

If you have any questions for Viv, feel free to either comment or send her an email.

More importantly; if you haven’t already picked up a copy of Strangers & Pilgrims, please do yourself a favour and do so.

It will take you on the most wonderful journey, not just as an observer, but a journey that will be personal and unique to you.

For those of you who prefer the instant download version, go HERE

For those of you who prefer to curl up with a physical book, go HERE

poker without cards

I have made numerous attempts to write a review of Poker Without Cards and have come to the conclusion that it is a task much harder than I first anticipated. I will, however, make another attempt in the hope that this will do it justice as I feel that anyone who reads it will benefit greatly! But please don’t take my word for it!

A Joseph Matheny (Is he real?) has written the intro to Poker Without Cards and is of a different opinion.  To quote the final line of the introduction: “Since you have gotten this far I suppose you are going to read the transcript. Far be it from me to try and stop you.”

I failed to follow his advice and did read it. In fact, I have so far read it 4 times and always found it difficult to let go of it.

Have I been infected?

The first time I read it I was somewhat bewildered and baffled at what this particular transcript was all about and yet I found it difficult not to carry on!

The format of Poker Without Cards is a transcript of the recording of a conversation between a Dr William Fink and a Howard Campbell, which takes place during 7 sessions in which Dr Fink is trying to understand what led his patient, Richard Wilson (Bucky) to be admitted to his mental hospital!

Well, that is the very basic of it and is really nothing more than the skeleton. It is the content of the conversation that takes you on what I can only describe as a “Mind Journey” and if you manage to read the whole book without giving in to the urge of googling certain stuff then you have done far better than me, who failed that part miserably. To take that a step further, I compiled a reading list based on the stuff referenced in Poker Without Cards (Call me insane!)………..

However, had it not been for this wonderful book I would never have read Viktor Frankl, Kurt Vonnegut, Robert M Pirsig, Robert Cialdini to name a few but then again perhaps I have indeed been infected by reading this book. In other words, I have woken up and there is no going back to sleep.

Is it time for you to wake up too?

I’ll let you make that decision for yourself and if you decide you want to experience it for yourself pokerwithoutcards.com is the place to go.

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