15 lessons I learnt in the corporate world

I have been working in the corporate world for a little almost 3 years now, and even though most of these ‘tips’ are a bit obvious and on-the-nose, I would like to share it here as it maybe helpful to many starting out.

Let’s get to it:

  • Dealing with politics — Always give credit to your boss and never ever ever gossip or belittle someone in public view. Karma is rather instant in an office environment and once you gossip, you will never ever win the war even if you win the battle
  • No ass kissing — Always smile and be friendly and help others out when necessary but never ever ever kiss ass or become too personalized so as to let other senior members take advantage of you. If someone invites you to a weekend party — Always be upfront about whether you want to go or not and play it professionally instead of being confusing about it
  • Try not to fall in love with someone from the same team or account — If you do, ensure you clear the tension immediately by asking them out or rejecting the person. Otherwise it could pose a big problem for both in terms of career and under achievement
  • Overpromise and overdeliver right from the start — Instead of biding your time, approach the manager directly and tell him that you have ideas (briefcase technique) and give it away for free.
  • During huddles or minutes of moments (team meetings) — Always listen carefully but quickly ask a doubt or a clarification to show them your presence. Or just repeat the last 2 words of their elongated sentence to show them you’re awake. Always be proactive and do not hide in a corner or make negative body language signs as this will make your superior(s) suspicious and they will pull you out from the crowd.
  • Show up on time and look the part — Always, always show up on time no matter what. Also, follow the protocol and wear formals whenever the situation demands it
  • Be willing to help out new guys — Read all the latest emails and know everything that is happening in the workplace in terms of technical changes and new softwares or applications being released and any other changes being made. Always raise feedback in case something is not satisfactory. Even if something is satisfactory, let the respective folks know about it and thank them
  • If there is a code red or a clash of egos — Approach manager gently and professionally and also give the other person credit after that. This will help you get noticed by manager for selflessness and prevents tensions from rising
  • Dealing with women — Always deal with women professionally first and then maybe flirt after all the work is done — Never confuse one with another as girls are smart and you will be the one who’s blamed. You will also end up depressed if the woman has played you for a fool
  • Give equal attention to everyone and show no partiality —You can tease and be playful at times in the office but know when to switch off and just focus on work or indicate small imaginary boundaries during conversations so that they do not cross it — headphones help cancel out noise. Also, they usually get the hint
  • Making things official — Even if you have discussed with colleagues and management in private meetings and had a lot of affirmations in terms of words, write it down and make it official by sending out emails to the respective team and let them know that they cannot bail out on it — This also shows you as a professional who doesn’t just depend on word of mouth. Always talk to them in terms of long term i.e Even if you believe the company is going down the drain or has no future. At all times, bring up typical management jargons and long term vision of the company etc when negotiating for salary hike and also providing value
  • Have lunch with different people on different days or weeks — So that there’s no gossip about you and anyone else. This also shows that you’re a good sport who mingles with everyone
  • Be willing to volunteer for extra curricular events — Give out ideas for new events and also be the frontrunner to participate in such events
  • Never ever take anything personally or seriously — If you feel you’re being undervalued or treated badly and not getting what you deserve or just jerked around a lot, by all means, bring it up with the management. But realise that beyond a certain point, you cannot really blame anyone and NEVER take anything that happens within a corporate setting personally. This will serve no purpose other than making you depressed. Incase of being laid off or fired, thank them and leave. Never burn bridges and always keep all the contact numbers intact so that you maybe able to use it later on in the future
  • Diversify and be likeable so that it’s a lot harder to fire you —Let’s face it, NONE of our jobs are secure and we could get fired at any moment. It could be due to cost-cutting or the CEO waking up on the wrong side of the bed, but the fact is corporate safety does not exist. So — Have a lot of fingers on a lot of pies. Be a master of your domain (do your job exceedingly well), enroll yourself in an extra curricular group in office which deals with event management, play drums or guitar in the office band and always hang out with someone from the management and go out with them to the club on Sundays. By diversifying and being likeable, not to mention being part of so many different areas/departments within your little corporate world, it makes it a lot harder for them to let you go or lay you off.