Psst! Hey rookie, secrets to survive the office jungle !
Office≠College; Coworkers≠BFF & Boss≠Teacher.
This article is for a 20 something kid who has just chosen “The Office Goer" avatar or is dazed by first 6 months at her first corporate job (after spending most of her life in the safe confines of school/college).
The pointers are from someone who spend a decade and a half walking, crawling, running, flying through the labyrinths of Office,Office.
First things first. Your office and company are different entities. For you, new joiner, your boss and his team would be the office. The company you work for maybe number 1 in the “Best Places to Work For” lists for years - but if your immediate environment sucks — your office experience is in for heavy air turbulence.
Once you define office like this, you get a firm grip on your situation. As your bosses / teams change, your state changes from State A to State B. This implies if currently you are in State A: “very pissed off”… hang on — you may get into State B: “very happy “ if your boss gets transferred. But remember this works both ways!
A Rule of Thumb: Due to one reason or the other - say resignations, transfers, business changes, new recruitment- your office (as defined above) will change after every one and a half year or so.
I was working in this company X with a great relation with Boss V. The office was happy place to be in — I sang songs while driving to the office. As soon as Boss N came, the office changed — the company changed overnight.
The Office is not your family.
Inspite of what the induction program and HR Department swears — office and family are different. Especially true, if you have joined the sales department.
Hell! your parents won’t throw you out if you haven’t sold 50 insurance policies or opened 50 savings account by the end of the month. You won’t resign from your family and move to another one after month’s notice just because that family is paying you extra!
I have a theory that the more you hear “ we are a family here” phrase in an office, the earlier you will be kicked out. You will get lulled to sleep on the driving wheel with such guys.
PS: Try to not to search for best friends at your office. Everyone has an eye on bonuses / promotions — don’t put up a stall of your tender emotions in the middle of this bedlam. You’ll be gored. Yes even if you are working in an NGO.
Respect capitalism and pull your load.
Your boss is not your teacher.
Don’t mistake your boss for your father or your guardian or elder brother. He is trying to save his ass — don’t expect him to babysit you. You are a tool given to him — a resource. Good tools don’t make too much noise, best tools require little maintenance and awesome ones are AI enabled.
Let your boss steal your best ideas. Gift it to her. Make her shine. Build up a rapport before begging for favors.
Your teachers were paid to check your boring homework and guide you — not your boss.
Your personal and corporate self are different.
You are a brilliant sketch artist but you are performing horribly in sales month on month. You are an excellent doodler but the boss is peeing on your office work. You are a 2.5 hour marathon person but are struck at work. You are an awesome friend to all but terrible at sales. Do not let this personal identity get burnt by your office performance.
Differentiate between the corporate and the personal selves — you are wearing two different hats. If office is toxic — try not to let the toxicity seep into the after hours.
Easier said than done — but atleast try!
Maybe the next suggestion would help.
Keep working on yourself
For most of us - academics/parents/ teachers - didn’t let us sustain a hobby. Somewhere around middle school we lost touch with what we really enjoy.
As a twenty something, once you land a job, it’s always good to catch-up with that hobby you left a decade back. And like me, if you never had a serious hobby, it’s high time to learn a hobby. And then try to nurture it into a side hustle.
Use your downtime to learn new skills. I prefer learning non-professional stuff i.e. something that’s not related to my day job. Ex. If I were a writer, i would learn painting and vice versa.
Do not to hang on in office more than required. Most of the clowns who keep sitting late are insecure fools googling their names or checking cricket scores.
Listen to podcasts, watch YouTube for ideas (not cat videos), attend online webinars — not because it’s on the syllabus — but because you are a human and have a mind.
Make yourself an interesting person to know rather than a cubicle worm.
You won’t retire from your first job.
Remember this everyday when push the office door open. Consider first 5 years of your corporate career as a paid apprenticeship.
Nobody, except you, has your best interest in mind.
First year of corporate life is bewildering. Welcome to the world of Adults, Mr.Management Trainee!🙂
I survived one and a half decade as a corporate hack and now love to tell tales about it. This is first of a series of articles on surviving the corporate maze.