A Note To My Nephew

8 pieces of advice that kept me on track during my stint in the corporate world

Roger A. Reid, Ph.D.
Feb 4 · 5 min read
Photo from Depositphotos

I have a nephew who reminds me of myself — the me from thirty years ago . . . aggressive, wanting to excel, battling the other “bright boys” also competing on the fast track, hoping to score a cushy corner office on the tenth floor of the corporate office.

I have no idea if he’ll read this.

And if he does, if he’ll recognize the similarities — where I’ve come from and where he’s likely headed. I hope he’ll see the commonalities, and understand how quickly they can become consequences.

For the last several years, he’s been following the path laid out for him.

But just in case it doesn’t — just in case the promises made by supervisors and managers don’t come to pass, or budget restrictions, company politics, and buy-outs suddenly derail his timeline for advancement — I’d like to offer a few suggestions:

Temper your enthusiasm for your job with the understanding that you’re following a plan made by someone else — and other people’s plans can change in the blink of an eye.

It can happen with very little warning, so . .

Be prepared.

Always make a positive impression.

Much of your success in a corporate environment will depend not only on what you actually do, but what your superiors think of you.

The corporation is one of those places where knowing the location of your boss’s favorite restaurant, his drink of choice, and his preference in sports teams can have as much impact on your performance review as your actual achievements.

Realize that every successful career requires a commitment — from both sides.

If it’s one-sided for too long, trust and loyalty become contaminated with doubt and suspicion.

The commitment you make to your job is always conditional, with the unspoken contingency that the other side will also live up to their promises. In this case, the company wants your loyalty, dedication, and a level of consistent performance that meets or exceeds their expectations.

In turn, they offer compensation and the potential for a rewarding future.

Make sure neither of you ends up shortchanged.

Understand there will be days when you’ll feel you’ve been taken advantage of, unappreciated for your work, or flat-out snubbed in favor of the next guy.

When working for any large company, longevity results from successful compromises. During your career, you’ll be asked to do things that seem silly, wasteful, unnecessary, or downright stupid.

You may even be used as a scapegoat, and then expected to respond with a professional, “company-first” attitude.

Working for an employer means you’re pursuing their goals and objections. Sometimes they’ll mesh with your own. Many times, they won’t. But you do it anyway, because the company compensates you for it, and in the long-term, you’re counting on the rewards outweighing the sacrifice.

Whatever you do, avoid the temptation to complain, lash out at co-workers, or storm out of the office. Remember, tomorrow could be your day. But if you respond with an emotional outburst, I can guarantee it won’t be.

Remember, your every move is being watched.

“Is this guy a company man? Is he worth keeping? Should we consider him for promotion?”

These are the questions management is constantly asking — about you. Make sure the answers reflect a constant stream of yes’s.

And that’s true even if you don’t plan on staying with the company long-term.

Value your job as one of your most important assets.

Many employees are intelligent — even brilliant — hard-working individuals who are happiest when working on a specific task or project. Often doing their best work when it’s defined in terms of a goal or preferred outcome, they appreciate the organizational discipline a large company can offer.

As an employee, there’s no divisional budgets to balance, no corporate taxes to pay or profit margins to worry about, unless it falls under the specifics of your job responsibility.

Photo from Depositphotos

If you see yourself on the other side of the parking lot,

Because as a “company man,” your life must be decidedly unbalanced, with your first priority squarely focused on the needs of your employer.

You will need to prove your worth with unquestioning loyalty while secretly managing your ambition with the sobering reality that you walk a tight-rope of accountability, requiring you to meet the subjective needs of the company’s most powerful and influential — any one of whom will not hesitate to replace you if you fall short of their expectations.

I’m going to keep a good thought and hope my nephew reads this.

If by chance it raises a few caution flags, I hope it leaves him better prepared to navigate around the confusing and often destructive detours in life that wastes our time and often leaves us feeling bitter and full of regret — especially as we get older.

If nothing else, I hope he realizes his career — regardless of where or how he spends it — is only one aspect of his life. Granted, it’s an important one, but no more so than time spent with family or taking care of his health.

Most of all, I hope he enjoys the journey.

Roger A. Reid, Ph.D. is a writer and founder of SuccessPoint360, a business website featuring articles on career advice and strategies for enhancing professional and personal development. A certified NLP trainer with degrees in engineering and business, Roger draws on his background as a fourteen-year corporate employee, business owner, and management consultant to help others achieve higher levels of career success and personal fulfillment in the real world. Follow Roger at SuccessPoint360.com, LinkedIn, Medium, Facebook and Twitter.

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Roger A. Reid, Ph.D.

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Writer|Founder of SuccessPoint360-personal development, self improvement, careers, work, entrepreneurship, productivity, creativity— https://SuccessPoint360.com

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