Tuesday, May 23, 2006

12 survival tips for new employees

(1) Master the core competency of the job fast. Get good numbers (sales, IPG, service problems solved, web site unique visitor count, etc.) entered to your credit, and print out reports to document your accomplishments. Worry about peripheral duties later. Figure out the real priority of your boss, and make that your priority, basing every statement and action on it.

(2) Be aloof from others, maintain a professional distance, polite, but unyeilding, revealing next to nothing about yourself.

(3) Learn all you can about your boss and the next few levels up, but be a dense mass of complex mystery to other employees.

(4) If you must engage in small talk or gossipy chatter, speak only of the weather, nearby restaurants for lunch, The Apprentice (latest episode), and your eagerness to use your expertise to help achieve corporate goals. Brag modestly about past achievements at other jobs or on the football field.

(5) Self-containment is vital for job security reasons: the more you reveal about your personal life, habits, marital status, children, friends, political beliefs, music tastes, etc., the more a corporate foe can twist and turn against you.

(6) Demand, photocopy, or snag extra copies you find lying around, of documentation of corporate policies and performance forms.

(7) Use corporate incompetence and mediocrity to your advantage. Do what the others should be doing, and set an outstanding example of obedience and competence. Do not allow the goofs and sandbags to corrupt you. All companies are rampant with lazy, disrespectful, insubordinate mediocres who bully the dickless patriarchal or raging bitch managers. This marvellous secret reality of business must be seen to be believed. Hang in there. You should see it within your first few days at the job.

(8) Carefully acquire and preserve all names, phone numbers, email addresses, etc. of persons who handle sexual harassment, employee theft, and policy violations. Often, these problems will be handled by separate functions, not necessarily Personnel or Human Resources departments.

(9) Be alert to sexual innuendos, bawdy jokes, inappropriate attire, lewd glances, or your boss singing loudly along with a dirty song on the radio, and making snide remarks to you, as you try to focus on your training and systems operations. Strike back at corporate unfairness, unlawful firing, territorial paranoia, mind games, negligence, and ineptness with your own finely honed office-politics weapons.

(10) Employment is war. It's you against mis-managing manager wussies, dopey mission statements, canned sales presentations, hysterical hype, customer dis-service, and shoddy products. You must protect the consumer from the evil intentions of the company...and you must try to protect the company from customer hatred and retaliation by being serious about product quality, increased sales transactions, and customer relations strategy.

(11) Be suspicious of all staff on your first day. Wonder who is working FOR the company and customer, and who is working AGAINST them by pursuing their selfish agendas. The people who smile and shake your hand are the same ones who will scheme against you and stab your back.

(12) The day you quit or are fired is a better day than the day you were hired. See each success and failure as part of your metaphysical training. The Control Panel of the Universe may have put you in a job for a brief period, merely to illuminate you for future great things. Firings, layoffs, coups, revolt, mutiny...what do you care? You can leave a company to rot in its own piss. You could start your own company or consultancy.

Sonic Youth "Little Trouble Girl"

White Stripes "Blue Orchid"


JD. said...

On the nose man.

now, travel back two years and tell me this info.

steven edward streight said...

While I can't travel back two years, you can stay put in the Here and Now, and tell yourself very deeply what you need to know and practice.

The challenge is to keep learned lessons in mind, and not forget what you have experienced.

I wrote this post the day after leaving a company.

There was so much about the company that was wrong, stupid, and evil, I had no hope to reform or salvage it.

When I began investigating massive employee theft, all hell broke loose, and suspicious characters ganged up on me. Same thing happened at the last few jobs I've had.

See, I do web work mostly, but always keep a little part-time job on the side because I like sales, and I like analyzing corporate structure from the front line worker's perspective.

This keeps my abstract marketing theory grounded in actual, current realities.

JD, try to find the book "How To Work for a Jerk" by Robert M. Hochheiser (Vintage, 1987), the best book I've ever read on office politics.