Back in my college days, I was one of those innocent daydreamers who would spend hours imagining, ‘one day I will walk straight into a 9 to 5 job and conquer the world!’ Planning your corporate journey seems smooth when you are just a student, right?
And in no time my bubble of an ideal world with a perfect job burst. In reality, you have to expect the unexpected only, be it something good or something that you haven’t thought of yet. Entering the professional world is unlike anything else you will ever experience. You might have one or many internships done in your university life, but a full-time real job is way different. The transition from campus to corporate life lands you on a role of responsibility. Here you earn money for your own survival, you are accountable to your family, and discover a whole new version of yourself.
There are loads of facts and myths about the corporate world but expert-backed ones are something we can count on. The sooner we know these facts, the better.
Still, there will always be stuff at work that can take you by surprise!
1. Know the key
Your degree may get you a job. Your previous experience has more probability to get you a job. But what do you think will help you to sustain? Interpersonal skills. Even the hiring managers now consider before confirming a candidate whether s/he possesses some of them or not. You must develop a good communication capability, decision-making quality, negotiation capacity, and most importantly empathy before entering a job. I assume every millennial knows how important interpersonal skills are, as the corporate world won’t cut a slack if you remain indifferent.
Mostly known as soft skills, help you to build a strong personality and become a valuable employee at work. You have good relations with your co-workers, your superiors are happy with the way you are reaching shared goals, you are a teammate everyone wants to work with. You are going long!
2. The email rule
An office worker receives approximately 121 emails and sends out 40 each day. Emails are a key part of communication in the corporate world and no wonder it has some unspoken rules that nobody teaches you. With inboxes stacked high, managing them may seem overwhelming until you maintain these email basics.
– Develop your own email structure, formally merging with the company’s signature format. Show your boss and get it approved if needed.
– Sending emails can make you feel like a minefield. Watch carefully who you write ‘Dear’ and who you say ‘Hi’.
– There is no ground on which an email body can be sorted as wrong or right. Have your mails tailormade. The more authentic you sound, the better it is.
– Keep your direct boss in copy whenever you send mail.
– Have your mails as short as possible. But don’t skip the introduction.
– Last but not the least, always keep your mail organized before it piles up badly.
3. The informal organization chart
A traditional internal structure of a company surely does depict the hierarchy, positions and responsibility. What you have to find out on your own is, who are the real influencers and what power they hold irrespective of whatever rank or job title they belong to. Sit back and observe the informal map of where the control lies, who are the champions, what they practice – authority or mentorship?
Once you find out, you know who to build more connections with, whether based on friendship or respect, to expand your network. Understand the informal relationships and interpersonal conflicts before you find yourself a part of one of these. Choose where you want to see yourself.
4. Double your efforts in meetings
Who likes meetings? Corporate meetings are not something employees enjoy actively participating in. And that’s where you can steal the show by showcasing your engagement and commitment towards the company. While everyone is taking the meetings as a resting time because the manager speaks the most, it’s a great opportunity to build your brand. That does not mean you need to play an over-smart card here. It’s about how innovative your ideas are, How mindful your body language is, and how relevant your answers are. Utilize every chance to prove why your existence matters.
5. Your mistakes are accepted
There are already things you should be concerned about but making mistakes is not one of them. Please breathe out the consciousness. While entering the corporate world yes, we need interpersonal skills, we have to be active, we require a lot of learning. That must not lead us to perceive we are not expected to make mistakes. Newbies tend to put themselves under an insane amount of performance pressure. We mix up our family time, sleeping schedule just to prove ourselves perfect.
Step back if you are the one struggling to develop a Mr. perfectionist image. Companies are more than aware that we will make errors before and after getting hired. As long as you are trying smartly, pouring your heart and soul together, your boss will never depreciate you. Remember how embarrassingly Apple failed with its face ID? Did that make apple products less demanding? – No.
6. Watch your wardrobe
Let’s be honest here. A conversation about dressing offensively violates our personal space. Not even the company you are joining will officially hand you any attire dos and don’ts. I will not talk about any particular cut-and-dry business dress code either. You can style up with anything that has a formal outlook and is less fancy than those you wear on weekends.
Adhering to a professional appearance doesn’t mean that you have to dress like a typical office guy. Even offices are shifting their preferences into a more casual code. Here the mantra is you ‘dress for success’. Even it has a scientific backing that your clothing affects your performance. As your initial days at the office are your impression-building phase as well, you don’t want to screw that up.
“What you wear can influence your thinking and negotiating skills, and even hormone levels and heart rate”– Matthew Hutson
7. Navigating office politics
The phrase office politics has multiple assumptions. It can be spreading misleading rumors, backstabbing, turning people against you, etc. Before you conjure up negative ideas and thoughts in your mind, don’t mistake office politics by avoiding it. Be it on a small scale, or large scale, it will exist in every office. Let’s not view this negative energy as a struggle for power, rather navigate strategically.
When some employees run after easy success, they try mean ways to pave their paths to achieve the goals, usually, this is when office politics arises. Take this as an opportunity for you to ‘win’ at office politics without compromising your own standards or the company’s. You can use office politics positively and this article may help you with some tips and tricks.
8. Gentle art of saying ‘No’
‘ Yes, sure, I can prepare the reports as well ‘
Can you recall those times you just blabbered something like this as a reflex and immediately regretted them?
Right from the interview to the office work, we have said a lot of yes to every possible commitment beyond our work responsibilities. There are times when we already have too much on our plate, still, take up more to not offend the person offering. We hate being seen as confrontational but sometimes a simple no is really important. Saying no doesn’t label you as a bad team player, It shows you are more committed to your own work.
Say no to unrealistic commitments, say no to unnecessary workload, say no to being nice when you don’t need to.
No is a decision, yes is a responsibility. Know when you are up for what.
The Corporate world is not what we predict from the outside. It has ups and downs, achievements and setbacks, learnings and unlearnings. There is no such rulebook that can be spoon-fed to predict or to perform. But we keep constantly learning and this is what matters the most.
What corporate fact do you want to reveal? Share with us.