Journey of Life

the place formerly known as control your destiny

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.

Having said that, I should however, 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 at home. In corporate world you will need to display selfishness, narcissism and a willingness to walk all over whoever you can in your rise up the corporate ladder.

2. Crystal Ball

This will come in very handy, especially if you work in a sales environment because in sales you are expected to know exactly what you will be selling weeks in advance. The ability to look into the future, however,  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 it is a perfect way of helping you keep your job especially if you are able 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 are not employed to think, you are employed to do whatever you are told 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” and “keep smiling” 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 but this is one of the most effective ones;

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 or if (in your view) it is a really bad mistake, just email or call your boss. 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 to bigger and better things.

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. If you observe a colleague failing at this then please go to point 5 above.

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, and if you do, make sure you copy your boss in on the emails.

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!

I also realise that the price I had to pay for refusing to take part in the corporate game was the choice between resigning or essentially being forced out!

I chose to resign.

So long and thanks for all the fish

8 responses to “How to survive in the corporate world

  1. Viv November 21, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    You’re not a failure; this is also something I wouldn’t want you to succeed in if it meant the abadonment of all the precious qualities that make you, YOU.

  2. tanxquare November 26, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    When this happens in real life, I would rather prefer to avoid joining this and seek other places. 😮

  3. karina April 28, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    this is so accurate,
    i’m dealing with this very moral issue at work.
    my boss told me “this job needs to be your life.”

    i’m glad i’m not the only one who thinks cooperate America is a black hole.

  4. Abhisheik March 29, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Friend never mind…..Every one is not made for every game……..Find the game u r made for and PLAY IT…….. My best wishes to u……………

  5. Self Sagacity July 23, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    I should visit you often, when is happy hour? I like our article today. Funny and true at the same time. The subject would be a challenge to carry through positively, but you did it! LOL

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