“You should be earning, learning and having fun. And if you’re only doing one of these things, that’s not good.”
There are a plethora of so called workplace norms that I feel really need to be set straight. Joining the rat race, earning, learning and having fun doesn’t mean you aren’t working hard too. It is possible to be nice and still succeed and to have a great work-life balance and be able to still do the best job. Often from the get go, it will be drummed into you that in order to do X you have to put up with Y, in order to progress you’ll have to wait X years and in order to get a job you have to jump through multiple hoops.
Not always the case and in fact it’s often the complete opposite. Here are, in my humble opinion, some misconceptions of the corporate world and how to survive in an outdated system:
You have to stay late and work hard to get ahead
Arriving early, working through a lunch break and staying late to show the boss your ‘working hard’ when you’re hardly working isn’t fooling anyone. Unless it’s vital, you shouldn’t make a habit of working extra hours unnecessarily as, unfortunately, once you start the process, you’ll likely be taken advantage of. It soon becomes the norm and therefore hard to backtrack once you’ve made the habit of putting in those extra hours. Focus more on quality of work outcomes not time spent. How efficiently are you working and how much value 9-5 do you provide for the company? Thinking and doing everything to improve your workplace, investing in yourself and making yourself indispensable is a sure-fire way to move up the ranks.
You have to work X amount of years to be promoted
Earning a promotion should solely be based on your work ethic, passion, ability to do the job and how capable you are to progress and get to the next level. It’s a somewhat naive attitude to have to progress people using these types of parameters and only serves to clip your wings. Working under a manager with this mindset will dim your flame. You can be a CEO at 25 or 50, age doesn’t affect your ability to do a great job!
You should follow the money
This is true to an extent. Let’s face it we all need money right? We need money for rent, holidays, food, nights out etc. but research shows it’s only a motivator up to a certain point. I for one know that money is a major contributing factor to my motivation, but it’s not the main focus and prioritising learning, career progression and company culture should be just as important. Sacrificing a slight pay drop can be a good risk to take if in the long run you can increase your salary, along with adding a wider skill set and more experience to your CV.
Being thrown in at the deep end is a great way to learn
I fear when this is mentioned in interviews it’s often code for we just wing it, don’t have a training process in place nor have the time or resources. Being thrown in at the deep end makes you learn fast, sure, but often there’s a lot of unnecessary trail and error involved and especially with a lack of support and guidance, can knock confidence and result in major mistakes. I have learnt the most through this method but employees should make it their mission to invest in their staff with proper on-boarding, training opportunities, mentor sessions and exposure you to opportunities when you are capable.
You must eat your lunch at your desk
I think now more than ever this type of culture where you’ve got to be seen to be busy and therefore eat at your desk is silly and outdated. Practise mindfulness at work. Take your lunch-break as a break! Go for a walk, eat your lunch in a different environment and take your mind off work. Nothing that game-changing can happen in 45 mins so you might as well make the most of your time out the office. You’ll find you’ll come back much more refreshed, energised and be more productive!
What irks you most about the corporate world?
Let me know in the comments,
Love Career Girl xo