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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!


An open letter to a backstabber

We have known each other for almost a year and I was quickly drawn in by your kindness and friendliness and apparent eagerness to help whenever possible.

You told me on many occasions (and continue to do so) what a true friend I am and how happy you are to have someone to talk to who would understand your point of view.

I naïvely began to trust you and let you in to my world and I shared with you thoughts and information that I would normally guard. I gave you access to my previous blog as a way for you to understand the journey I am on to search for relief and understanding of the anxiety and depression that so often befriends me.

You told me how much you enjoyed reading this, which at the time made me think that letting you in was the right decision. Now I know this not to be the case and thanks to you I have no desire to write on that blog anymore. Thanks to you, that record of my journey, which turned out to be the best form of therapy for me, is no longer a place where I can write freely.

What you failed to remember is the fact that you gave me access to your emails to help you while you were on holiday, and when I first discovered the extent of your back-stabbing efforts I was initially hurt, angry and then started to feel vulnerable.

You also failed to have the decency to talk to me about your frustrations but chose instead to go to our boss resulting in her calling a meeting with me to give me the opportunity to explain my version of the story. A story that you blew out of all proportion wasting everyone’s time in the process, including your own. When you went to her did you remember to tell her just how much she too frustrates you too how incompetent you think she is?? I suspect the answer to that question is no!

Did it ever occur to you that the reason you are always stressed and short of time is the fact that you take three times as long as everyone else to perform a task, which I know you see as being thorough, but when other people are doing better than you, you lash out and accuse them of cutting corners or cheating the system.

I understand what it feels like to be backed into a corner and truth be told I forgave your selfish act because of that.  However, knowing that you are still lashing out and pointing fingers to justify your own mistakes just proves to me what a coward you really are.

The worst part is not the fact that you have stabbed me in the back on more than one occasion. It is the fact that you’re behaving as if none of this has ever happened with your (fake) friendliness and compliments, which leads me to conclude that you have no clue that I am aware of your true colours. However, I am not going to assume this to be the case so I shall continue to pretend to know nothing and be the friendly and understanding person while observing your behaviour with my guards up.

I hope that one day you will find some healthy relief from whatever the real problem is.

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