I am currently on a “year out” AKA “gap year” (pronounced “gap YAH” over here in the UK). Most of my “gap yah” has been spent working in the corporate world and my goodness has the experience been an eventful one. From late nights and bitchy bosses to turning all the way up at Christmas parties and dancing hand in hand with drunken Managing Directors (MDs for short). I have seen it all.
Newbies entering the corporate world, here are three of key tips that I picked up along the way. Please take note of them in order to keep your sanity… and your job!
1. Your work colleagues are not (and I repeat NOT) your friends, so be careful what you say to them!
This has been the biggest life lesson for me. If I could go back and patch over every bitchy or catty comment I made about work to my “friends”, believe me, I would.
It really is a dog-eat-dog world in the place of work and just because you go for drinks, lunch or even spend a day out together; your colleagues are not your friends.
Everyone is inherently selfish. Everyone wants to get promoted and noticed by their boss or whoever it is that can give them a leg up. As a result of this, they will do ANYTHING (and I do mean anything) to get ahead, even if that means repeating something you told them in confidence to their superior or sleeping with them to make it to the top.
Of course, not everyone is like this – it’s probably only 99.9% of the workforce. I’m sure there’s someone out there that you can trust, but believe me those people are rare. Almost as rare as finding 5 McNuggets in a 4 McNugget meal.
2. Be proactive – if you have no work to do, ask. If there’s nothing your boss can give to you, make your own work!
While it is fun to chill out at work, sitting around doing nothing is detrimental to your progression, plus it’s noticed by everyone. If you’re sat around doing nothing at work, you WILL become a talking point, more than likely out of jealousy at the fact that other people are working this asses off while you sit around and play Candy Crush Saga or spend hours on the phone to your friends. I have personally sat through hours of listening to a colleague talk to a friend on the phone in their mother tongue. I thought that I was only one that noticed until a few weeks later when I wandered over to a colleague’s desk and saw him IMing another about it.
Also, if you have nothing to show for the time that you’re “working”, how on earth will your managers be able to track your performance? They won’t! And they’ll think that you’re lazy as hell. No amount of lip service is going to make up for a lack of work– unless you engage in a totally different kind of lip service…
3. Your skills are transferable, so don’t limit yourself to one project, division or company.
On my first project, I truly learned the “power of the Pivot Table”. On my second project, once again the “power of the Pivot Table” came into play.
It’s simple really – while it may seem like your skills are specialised, in reality they’re not. If you hate your job or your company, then don’t be afraid to leave. Heck! Become a contractor – someone who does the SAME job as you do but gets paid a hell of a lot more because they are essentially their own employer.
So those are my three top tips for you corporate world newbies. Learn how to play the game kids or end up getting played – the choice is yours!