I know this post is a little late. Scott Adams has been telling people how to survive at their jobs via Dilbert for the last 20 years. I don`t even have 20 years of work experience, leave alone insights that he delivers every day via 2000+ newspapers all over the World. Now, that the disclaimer is over, let me proceed with the most definitive Job survival guide on Mother Earth. My apologies dear Scott Adams. Or should I ask, “Adams, who”?
Before we start the article, let me implement one of my job survival tips – while giving controversial opinions, always start with the line: “These are my personal opinions, and in no way reflect that of my employer.” So here goes: “These are my personal opinions, and in no way reflect that of my employer.”
Simple. Only two things: Make money. Or make money in the future. But don`t blame the employer, for we are all mercenaries too. Isn`t our motto the same? Make money now or make money after the shares have ripened?
Your employer has three ‘carrots` for you while you are working for them. They are – a salary hike, a promotion, or a dramatic lateral shift in your job profile. These weapons are used scarcely and only when needed.
Remember reading Maslow’s Theory of Hierarchy in college? If you haven`t, it makes sense to take a look at the pyramid shown below. It was proposed by a gentleman named Abraham Maslow, who used to beat his wife. No I am kidding – about the wife beating, of course. According to Maslow, the needs of a man (or woman) start as at the bottom of the pyramid and as & when they get full-filled…he moves on to the upper levels of the pyramid. (To know more click here)
I have taken the liberty of using Maslow`s idea and have modified it to show what motivates you during the different stages of your career. The way you work in an organization depends on which level of the pyramid you are in. Do take a look at Jammy`s Career Pyramid shown below.
Just in case you haven`t noticed this pyramid is called: Jammy`s Theory on Hierarchical needs during a career.
Your expectations from your organization will differ depending on the level of the pyramid you are on. If your organization is smart, that`s exactly what it will give you.
You are probably asking: “Wasn`t this supposed to be a funny article? Wasn`t this supposed to be about surviving at the job?” Well yes, I agree. I kind of missed the point so far. So lets move on to the supposedly funny stuff.
Many people quit looking for work when they find a job. That`s precisely what you should also do. If you can smell work anywhere, just leave the spot immediately. Isn`t the logic simple – the more you do, the more your chances of making mistakes, and more the scolding from your boss.
You might have the time to walk up to the coffee machine, but it doesn`t create a good impression to be taking your own coffee. Always call up the cafeteria and ask them to deliver it to your desk…even better, if you ask it to be delivered to a meeting room. You can always visit the meeting room, and pick up your coffee after its delivered.
While moving from Location A to Location B, always carry a few sheets of paper with you. A pencil behind your ear and a white board marker in the other hand add a sense of invincibility to the persona.
When you are at work, and everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something. Immediately, identify an intern who has joined only two days back and blame him for a major fiasco. If you already know of a fiasco committed by somebody, but YOU are yet to be caught with your pants down….you might want to hold on to the Brahmastra for the right time. When you are about to be caught, release the Brahmastra divert everybody to the decoy.
If you have to decide on something, call a meeting (preferably with somebody senior) and use him as your consultant. That way, when everything goes wrong….there is somebody to share the blame with you. He/she being more senior than you will end up taking the brunt.
Always keep all your colleagues happy. Compliment them on their shirts, trousers, undergarments (only if visible, else you will get caught)….how much does it cost to compliment? Giving gifts to your co-workers also helps. Not something costly…cheap gifts that give the impression that lots of thought has gone behind them. I know the economy is down and giving gifts costs money….but hasn`t your colleague count also come down? After all the sacking, aren`t there fewer colleagues to give gifts to?
Last, be in touch with people who recently got fired. Because, they are going to be on a job hunt…and can tip you off whenever they see your profile matching elsewhere. Here is my suggestion – humor them by gifting them a ‘To Do` notepad ….the only hitch with this suggestion is that the entries in this ‘To Do` notepad will read like: Get Up, File Unemployment, Re-look at the pink slip (Like an Aeroplane`s black box, this is also not pink!), start a blog & see if you can make money, cancel landline & internet connections, call up parents & become friends again etc.
If you are the boss at your office, you are special. Here are a few things you need to do to stay on top of things.
1. Always wait until its way past lunch to give any work that has to be delivered by the evening. Remember, your employees like the adrenalin rush of having to complete the task before EoD.
2. If the report you want has to go to the Head Quarters, make sure you are at the person`s desk (the person creating the report) every 15 minutes. The best of bosses, stand right behind and give a comment after every keystroke (or mouse click, whichever happens more often).
3. Whenever your employees want to get in touch with you, avoid them. Force them to take their own decisions – this way, you can`t be blamed when things go wrong.
4. Always give more than one job to an employee and confuse him/her on the priority. It helps keep everybody on their toes.
5. Always treat your employees as if they have no life after work. Give them work for weekends and expect to see the work on Monday mornings. This keeps your employees in shape (and practice) when they land in office on Mondays.
6. If you notice that an employee is enjoying what he/she is doing – immediately give that job to somebody who is less likely to enjoy it. This is a good way to show people, who the boss is.
7. Never discuss non-work related stuff with your employees. Discussing personal items gives them the false hope that their boss cares, and thus relaxes them a bit. Even when you don`t have any work to discuss (like when you meet in the washroom) make up something.
8. Always wait till the mid-year or year-end review before telling your employees what wrong they are doing. You don`t want them to feel they are doing the right thing…do you? Especially during the appraisals.