This week, I want to cover the best ways to excel in the corporate environment.
The Many Challenges of the Corporate World
“Busy hands achieve more than idle tongues.” ― Matshona Dhliwayo
Do you work in a corporate office with the cubicles and the typing and the uncomfortable chairs? In such an environment, an individual can struggle to feel motivated or driven to excel. The challenges of corporate work are plentiful, but a few examples include:
- Corporate work is sedentary. A sedentary lifestyle can promote laziness, listlessness, and inactivity. Your inactivity can sap you of energy and inspiration.
- Corporate offices suffer from excessive gossiping and inner-politics. With so much time on their hands, most workers will focus on creating drama instead of being productive.
- Many corporate offices work on ass-kissing and favors. I have rarely experienced or heard of an office hierarchy based on an individual’s merits, strength of character, and talents.
- Most corporate workers are sensitive. A small joke, petty prank, or respectful conversation about controversial issues can easily land one in HR’s office or the unemployment line.
- Corporate work is rarely challenging. Many corporations are where most people settle. If you’re a simple office drone, you may view yourself as lazy or unambitious.
How To Succeed in the Corporate World
There are many drawbacks to working in a corporate office, and these drawbacks make it difficult for individuals to enjoy their time at work. Despite the challenges above, you should be determined to excel at your job. When individuals face challenges, we have to see them as opportunities to grow, mature, and develop. When we can push through these difficulties, with our sanities and virtues intact, we will develop the inner strength needed to face tougher challenges in the future.
There are more than a few benefits to consider when thinking about why you should excel at your corporate job.
Learn how to thrive in an environment which annoys and possibly belittles you
If your job is dull and demoralizing, then you need to learn to remain focused and stable. Don’t complain and zero in on what you can control. Although your environment is not designed to empower you, your ability to overcome the dullness will serve you. Think about it – if you can deal with a paper pushing job now, then you’ll be able to withstand mastering a skill. Not everything in life will be exciting. Thus, you need to build your patience right now.
Furthermore, airheads or backstabbers may surround you. At your office, you can learn how to navigate through manipulators and come out on top. You can learn how to keep your personal life close to your chest. Lastly, you can learn how to stay cool in hostile waters. Trust me; you’ll always meet people who want to use, abuse, or manipulate you. Additionally, you will continuously deal with ungrateful, horrible people. Here is your chance to practice how to interact with weak individuals.
Seek Opportunities At Your Corporate Office
“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” – Booker T. Washington
Many people are content with their lot in life. However, you are an individual. Thus, your focus needs to be on pushing yourself and seeking greatness. When you work in the corporate world you hate, you’ll have every reason in the world to get off your ass and change things.
I’ve met many people who hate their jobs but shrug their shoulders. They believe themselves to be trapped. These workers would love to have a better job. However, they chose to do nothing. Don’t have this attitude. You’ll hate yourself and resent successful people. What you need to do is shift your mindset and become proactive.
You may realize there are chances outside of your current role. Maybe you need to ask more questions. Perhaps you need to study a new skill and leave the job you have. Additionally, you have a poor attitude, and your lack of gratitude is what’s causing you difficulty.
When you seek to excel at your corporate job, you’ll uncover solutions to problems which have always plagued you. Therefore, try to thrive, and you’ll expand your ability to find solutions today and in the future.
Build Your Community and Find Allies
The last benefit to pushing yourself at your despised corporate job is the creation of allies. You may find friends hidden away who will see your change in personality as a sign to come out of the darkness. When I decided to take charge of my job, I found many people who rallied to support me. My newly discovered backbone irritated my bosses, but I grew my sphere of influence.
Additionally, when you grow in influence and size, the lazy and dishonest will seek to attack you. However, weak individuals will find it difficult to pierce you. Why? Because you’re working hard, making few mistakes, owning up to your shortcomings, and getting things done. In short, you’re excelling, and they have no weaknesses to attack.
The better you are at your job, the bigger of a target you become but, the harder it is to hit you. Your allies and enemies will be watching. Therefore, you’ll find your new influence more interesting and exciting than sitting around doing nothing.
How to Thrive in Corporate America
You have your challenges, and you have the reasons you need to overcome those challenges. Now let’s dig into the best ways to thrive in corporate America.
1. Understand Why You’re Working at a Corporate Office
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you have a solid “why” then you can handle the many challenges you’ll face at your office. Therefore, understand why you’re at the office, so you can remain focused and inspired to do your best.
You may be working at your job for the experience. If this is the case, then zero in on learning as much as you can from as many people as you can. If you’re at your job for money, then focus on doing a good job, asking for raises, and keeping your options open if you don’t earn a raise.
Never be ashamed of your reasons. If you need insurance, then stick with the job. If you need the money, then earn money. Your shame should come from wallowing in self-pity and not doing your best. However, when you understand “why” you’re at your corporate office, then you will excel at improving your work ethic.
2. Learn the values of the company and follow them exactly
I cannot stress this enough: understand what the corporate culture is and repeat it. There’s little value in being a maverick. If you want to tread new ground or radically shake up the system, then start your own business.
Staying consistent with the company’s, and to a lesser degree, your bosses’, values and preferences will make your life easier. Additionally, you will excel because you’re an asset to the culture, not a burden.
What does this look like in practice? If you have a social corporate culture than be social. Try to attend after work events, frequently talk with people, and be present. If you’re a poor conversationalist, then ask questions and focus on listening rather than sharing. If you don’t like talking at all, then try to find another job.
Another example: I’ve worked at an office where my boss wanted things coded a certain way. He would offer suggestions as to how websites should be built. I took these “suggestions” and followed them exactly. There are different ways to approach resolving a coding issue. However, if my boss wanted it done a certain way, I just did it the way he asked.
Have A Backbone But Avoid Pointless Arguing
If you have reasons for not being as social as others or think your boss’s solutions are poorly implemented, then speak up. Share your thoughts and provide reasons for the different path you’re choosing. However, avoid arguing for the sake of arguing. As I said, if you want to thrive in the corporate world, then you have to play the game. You have to adapt to the environment you’re in.
Furthermore, you can always find the perfect environment for your personality. I’ve discovered corporate environments where scheduling and working times are flexible. People are judged based on merit and strength of character over ass-kissing. I’ve enjoyed working at these places, and I adhere to all the nuances I can, even the few I don’t like.
If compromise seems unbearable, then push back, but you may not get far. My suggestion is to find somewhere else to work or strike it out on your own.
3. Learn Skills Valuable Outside of the Company You Work For
“Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.” ― Frederick Douglass
Take stock of the skills you use within your corporate office. Study these skills carefully, then create a game plan to continue improving these skills. The more developed your talents, the more power you have to excel at your profession.
For example, if you work at a job as a salesperson, then you need to study sales closely. Don’t settle into the habits and training your job provided. Branch out and seek other advice and training so you can have a stronger set of skills. The same is true with anything else, such as web design, coding, writing, and much more.
Never let the way your company functions be the only way you approach your skills. Keep branching out, learn what you can, and you’ll excel wherever you are.
4. How To Become Indispensable in the Corporate World
Being indispensable involves being as valuable as possible to the success of your company. If you want to excel in the corporate world, then you need to be the person your company can’t afford to let go.
Firstly, work on your attitude. Be positive and supportive even during stressful times. Your ability to remain emotionally stable will impress everyone.
Secondly, master the standards and culture of your company. From here, excel at the systems and techniques your company uses. You need to know how to use everything – client portals’, CMS’s, apps – better or as well as everyone else.
Lastly, set clear limits but be flexible. If you’re a late sleeper, then get to work later but leave later. If you have a family you want to see every day, then clear out of the office at the same time each day and with no exceptions. However, find ways to save time during the day so you can get more done.
5. Grow In The Corporate World by Keeping Your Options Open
A mental trick which always works for me is keeping my options open. I have a multitude of skills and years of experience working in a variety of industries. I know content writing, web design, web development, cooking, managing, finances, and much more. If I ever needed to leave the corporate life, I can easily become the manager of a restaurant a friend of mine owns. Or, I could strike it out on my own as a freelancer. I have plenty of options.
Having options keeps me cool and collected. I don’t allow people to walk over me because I don’t fear repercussions. My bosses cannot bully me because I will stand up to them. I cannot be easily silenced because I have options.
Lastly, I take good care of myself, have great finances, and a strong work ethic. I am not desperate for a job. My situation does not mean I laze around and do nothing. Having options means I can work hard, honestly and intentionally, without the fear of blowback from backstabbers or gossipers.
The more options you have, the more confident you will be. The more confident you are, the more you will want to excel.
How To Achieve Success In The Corporate World
The corporate world has never bothered me as much as it does others. I like the stability, and the job I have allows me more flexibility than ever. However, I know working in an office can be a struggle for many people, which is why I put together this list.
If you feel can’t make the corporate life work, then seek a long-term solution. You may need to freelance or start your own business. Such a process will not be easy, but working for yourself may be the best fit for your mindset and personality.
One thing you can’t do is complain. Life is full of things we may not want to do, and work is one of them. If you don’t want to pursue your dream job or find ways to make your current situation work, then remain quiet. Your complaints are not useful. For example, at one job, I snapped at my bosses. When I became angry, I recognized how powerless I felt, and I fought to change. If you feel helpless at your job, then you need to work hard. Ignore the voices calling you a victim or seeking to justify your lack of success. They promise nothing but bitterness.
- Of the five items on this list, which is the easiest for you to follow? Which is the hardest? Why?
- How do you think your life would change if you experienced more success at your job?
- What is the biggest obstacle in your way to career success?
- Have you ever considered freelancing? Or owning a business? Do you know what service you’d provide?
- Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink
- Radical Candor by Kim Scott
- Linchpin by Seth Godin
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.