Remember the times when we were kids and dreamt of growing up to be successful engineers, lawyers and professionals one day? Remember how much we hated going to school and studying and wished we would grow faster to live a settled life like our parents? All of us, at some point of time, have yearned for a lucrative corporate job that would facilitate a good, satisfied life. But, well, now I know, a lucrative job and satisfaction don’t really go hand in hand!
There are so many things the corporate world teaches us. Here is a list of some of things to learn working in this sector.
Take ownership. There is no blame game in corporate. If it succeeds, its everyone’s effort. If it fails, its your fault. Its not a school to push the blame on someone. Your seniors will respect you for integrity.
Be always smarter than your manager. If you are, then your job is secure and he will respect you. If you aren’t, be ready to listen to his taunts and degradation.
If it needs to be done, it has to be done. A mail pops in just before you have to leave after a 10 hour day. And it says urgent. Either you can ignore it or sit for another half hour to complete it. Your decision decides your promotion.
Don’t take a day off unless needed.Your hangover doesn’t count as a reason. If its a reason, stop drinking. Stop everything that makes you tired next day to miss office.
Be cheerful with everyone from security guard to VP. It will give you two benefits:
1. You would be presented as a positive and cheerful employee (and it matters)
2. You can get things does easily.
When in office, do office work. Its ok to file IT returns or check quick social media but don’t start making business plans for your startup or start editing photos for your candid photography page. 6–8 hours of solid office work everyday will take you long way.
Know your process, know your peers, know about every (most) work getting done in your building. Don’t be a stalker or a nagger. Be a curious candidate who knows what he and his peers are doing. Will help you solve any problems you face in work sometime.
Know your company well. Sounds childish? Trust me, most of us do not know what your company does fully. What are the product segments, who are its competitors, where is the headquarter and who is the CEO.
Know the current affairs. While this doesn’t directly affect your work, there are moments when you would get a chance to interact with top management and the topics leapfrog from politics to macro economic factors. You shouldn’t be a sitting duck. Your small talk can have a very large impact.
Focus on big picture. You are just an ordinary s/w engineer or a junior analyst? Doesn’t matter. Look at your process like your lead or manager sees. Focus on the big picture. See like a bird and work like a worm.
Sometimes its donkey work. Do it. I work with senior directors of billion dollar companies who make their own slides. And many times they have to spend time on adjusting the logos or changing the fonts! Part of the job. They have secretaries but on a tight schedule, you are your boss.
Never blame your company. Never. if you feel you are excellent worker and your current company is not supporting you, then you are free to take a walk outside. Search for a better company. And if you can’t find a job, well then, its your mistake. You are not competent enough.
There is always growth. You have to be ready for it. Every company has a CEO and he/she was once a junior like you. The CEO worked his way up by hardwork, talent and beating all the competition. You can also be that CEO if you put 10–12 hours a day for 10 years in a row. There ain’t any shortcut.
Never expect a pat on the back. If you want to go up the ladder, do not strive for pat on backs or acknowledgements for short term projects. To quote Tywin Lannister “Jugglers and singers require applause”. Rise above the competition.
In the race to earn more, personal life becomes a dream
Everyone working in the corporate sector will agree on this. We all want to earn more today so that we can give our family a better life. But, the question is, do we have any life at all? We work day and night, rack our brains and sometimes even skip meals to finish tasks. But that’s what a machine is supposed to do, isn’t it? Where’s the personal life?
You can be deep in shit and yet have to remain calm
The corporate life puts you in shit, actually deep in shit. You might feel tired, upset, frustrated or even want to kill someone. But no, you cannot do that. All you can do is put on a smile, get out of that conference room and stick your eyes back to the computer once again!
There’s a difference between friends and colleagues
Yes, this is probably the most important lessons that the corporate world will teach you. When we were at college, every classmate was introduced as a ‘friend’. But in the corporate world, there are hardly any ‘friends’. They are ‘colleagues’. Yes, there’s a difference!
No matter how much you hate someone, you still have to deal with them (There’s no choice!)
How many times have you wanted to kill your boss or just give it to him on his face? How many times have you hated that dumbass colleague in your team who does nothing yet is boss’s favourite? No matter how much you hate them, there’s simply no choice! You have to deal with them, and yeah, deal with them with a smile on the face. Now that’s what we call shit!
You have to ask for the things you want
Gone are the days when you would go home and mom would keep a cup of tea ready for you on the table. You are out of that safe haven now, in a world that doesn’t care who you are or what you want. So, if you want something, simply ask for it. Remember that salary appraisal meeting?
Sometimes you have to apologize for mistakes you never made
Not all the time, though, but if you have got that really cunning boss, you would surely agree with me on this. Yes, you never made any mistake but you have to apologize because your boss thinks you were wrong. And the boss is always right, remember?
No one’s going to entertain you. You have to make the first move.
Remember how nervous you were on the first day of the job? I remember faking smiles and talking to people unnecessarily because, in the long run, I didn’t want to be left alone!
Planning is the most important thing in life
This is probably the best lesson that a corporate job will teach you! Planning is the most important step of any project at work and also in life. Just make a systematic plan of things and half the work is already done.
You cannot do what your heart says
How many times have you wanted to put down your resignation after a tiff with the boss or a colleague? How many times have you wanted to simply ditch that monotonous job and go out on a world tour? Yes, we all feel that especially on Mondays but you cannot simply do what your heart says. In fact, in the corporate life, you are only expected to use brains, not the heart!
Emotions have no place in the corporate world
Emotions are for the weak in the corporate world. When at work, you are not expected to get too much emotionally attached to people because some day they are all going to part ways and head to different roads. And, you cannot simply let emotions take over or cry your heart out every time your boss insults you! That’s how the corporate world makes you strong!
But, in the end, this is a job that helps us fill our stomach every day and wear those fancy clothes from branded labels, isn’t it? So, like it or not, accept it, move on and love the work you do!