A job or career in corporate America is usually the best entry to true middle class or even upper middle class for managers, but it comes with baggages.
The question is What are the top 10 biggest lessons learned from the corporate world?
1- Every single day, there is someone whose job is to figure out how to get rid of you without impacting the business. Make choice that are good for you and your family only. If you leave, no one will care. Everybody is replaceable.
2- No emotion, nobody cares for you. The occasional smiles are 95% fake. Never forget that.
3- Always figure out a way to be good and be needed, because at the second they realize they can do it without you with minimal effect to the team or business, you will be gone.
4- Always improve yourself and keep your eyes open on the market. Never get too comfortable. Be nice to recruiters, always reply nicely to their email even if you are not available. The tide can turn very quickly. Always keep a pulse on the job market. At least twice a year apply for jobs in your industry to get a sense on what your skills trade for in the open market and to sharpen your interviewing skills. It is also a great habit to be in the orbit of recruiters because they operate within a tight-knit ecosystem, network with, and know one another. If you’re not a great fit for one role, and they like you, they’ll refer you to a friend or colleague looking to fill another role as a courtesy.
5- If you are very technical , the best outcome for you is to open your own business or become an independent consultant or contractor or freelancer while working in corporate. Once your own business pick up, quit your corporate job and discover real freedom.
6- Be very wise and knowledgeable about the business, but stay humble at the same time: Be friendly without making friends. Being too cold can prevent colleagues from sharing gossips with you and those gossips can be helpful sometimes.
7- Stay away from people who complain too much, they slow productivity and can drag you with them and expose you.
8- HR is not your friend. Their jobs is to protect the big bosses and their own job. Think twice before reporting racists, sexists, bullies, …or you will be gone. If you are victim of any of that as a minority, look for a new job and report it anonymously, otherwise your career will be over. All the following characteristics are overlooked by most HR departments:
The ability to be the “bigger person”
9- Become a subject matter in at least one topic or area within your department of team to make yourself indispensable. Be result oriented and not effort oriented. Result matter more than effort. Focus on getting things done instead of on working hard. They are more than often not the same thing.
10- Volunteer to headline new projects and gain visibility from leadership. It might help during tough times when cuts are needed.
11- Be kind, especially to nerds, they will probably own a company one day and will remember you. Be authentic, work hard and be wise and kind, especially to the awkward and silent ones. Introverts, extroverts, flashy dressers, frumpy dressers, are sometime gifted with supreme execution and succeed in business, which proves one thing: Success doesn’t care how you show up; just that you show up.
12- Never waste your weekend or holidays for office work. Your company is not going to take care of your family. You will regret later when the time will start taking your loved ones back, every product of nature has expiry date. This is harsh truth.
13- Emotional and professional are opposite words in corporate culture. Don’t share your emotional stories with your colleagues, surely one day, they are gonna make fun of your emotions and use it against you.
14- Keep your spirit and self respect up and never let anyone harm your image. They selected you because you were better than others and you add value to the company.
15- Never make a relationship in the office, a single mistake will destroy your personal and professional life.
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Disclaimer: The content of this post doesn’t describe or target any company I worked with in particular, it is based on research and discussion with friends working with several companies within Corporate America.