When we were younger, we used to fantasise about what we would be when we grow up. During university, we all worked tirelessly to be the most hirable option any company could imagine. In that in-between phase, we proudly told our family and friends what jobs we would be doing soon enough. And now that we finally settled down, we finally understand what it means to be working in a corporate.
I’ve been at this thing for quite some time now, and the glitz and glam from the honeymoon phase has definitely worn off. Eight years, two companies, and six countries later, I feel qualified enough to share the not-so-great parts of working in the white collar world.
Self promotion to stand a chance for a real promotion
Have you ever poured your heart and soul into a group project, only to have your partner gain all of the recognition? Or maybe you got recognition but people couldn’t even remember your name?
Well, in the white-collar world, I find that you need to consistently toot your own horn to stay relevant.
Want a decent bonus? Sing your own praises. Want a promotion? Make sure you put your name on influential people’s speed dial. Want to get some shares? Well, I don’t know what to do just yet, so let me know if you do!
When working in a corporate, you’ll have to deal with office politics
What comes with corporate culture, is office politics. How you play the game is sometimes more important than your performance. And by that, I mean, who likes you sometimes has more weight than how good you are.
The thing about white-collar jobs is that they are either easygoing or extremely intense. And if you argue that some are in the middle ground, I am yet to find a place that fits nicely in-between.
You need to play the game just right, so that not only do you blend in nicely, you also stand out. Confusing right? Well, you need to play the game like everyone else, but stick out just enough that you maintain your own identity. And you’d better not stick out for the wrong reasons!
Related: How to stop being invisible at work
Needing to ‘appear’ busy
So I’ve gone through my emails, all my to-do items are cleared off, but it’s noon on a Friday. Thanks to this thing called a contract, I find myself rechecking emails and rearranging icons on my desktop, just because the workday isn’t over.
When you work for someone else, more chances than not, this is the dilemma you’ll encounter. No one sees the extra hours you put in when everyone is sleeping. But they will notice if you step off the desk to buy a toy for your kid. Even if you’d be doing nothing otherwise.
Meetings, meetings and more meetings!
Related: 5 Annoying video conference experiences
When I started out my career, the only meetings I would attend were the yearly or monthly information sessions. Now, 8 years in, I’m lucky to have two consecutive hours without a meeting.
I’m not entirely sure how adding more meetings is meant to increase productivity, but there is a misconception that it does. In my field, at least!
To add fuel to the fire, the global pandemic has resulted in the complete opposite of what should naturally have occurred. That is, people slot in more internal meetings now because they can’t just stop by your desk. I personally think that they just love showing off their cool backgrounds and showcasing any new jargon learned. What other logic would there be to have catch-up calls several times a week on the same projects?
Which leads to my next point…
When working in corporate, you need to talk the talk
Oh my word, the jargon! Since joining the corporate world, I find myself throwing in vocabulary that otherwise wouldn’t have made it to my list. Words like ‘bottleneck’, ‘leverage’, ‘pipeline’, ‘root cause’, ‘remedial action’… All of these words just bounce around like they belong everywhere.
But besides the big words, there are enough acronyms to drive a person crazy! So much so, that my company has created it’s own acronym database. I mean, can you imagine creating your own dictionary so that people can understand what you’re saying?!
And just for you to feel my frustration, guess my job try deciphering this:
“Looking at the YoY progress, the TPI is not on target. We may need to reassess the pipeline, establish a new action plan and submit all the requests for FCs.”
If you are still in school, or just starting out in your career don’t be fooled by what may seem like your ideal job. While we all need to make money and establish ourselves professionally, it will not always be pretty or perfect. Get ready for the rollercoaster ride ahead, so that you don’t just jump ship when things aren’t so pretty.
What are some things you don’t like about working in a corporate?
Pssst! Let’s hang on the socials!
great personal insights –
Happy Panda says
Same experiences which made me quit and start my own business.
Add to that that a large part of how your work environment in a corporate depends on your boss. So if you get unlucky and get stuck with a bad boss then no matter how good everything else is, work will always give you nightmares. My ex-boss used to call me in when I’d be in the washroom to check where I was because apparently I was away from my desk for 5minutes. 😒 He made me miserable and though I had planned to quit (in 1-2 yrs) and do my own thing, he just acted as a catalyst for it to happen sooner.
Shelly DS says
Gosh I suppose we can say thank you to that horrible boss for pushing you to get out of your comfort zone! Not a nice thing, but at least you made the best of the situation!
Michelle (Boomer Eco Crusader) says
Oh yes! I echo all these things. Early in my career, I used to worry about self-promotion. Now, I just let my work speak for itself and if someone wants to hog the glory, they can have it.
And oh the buzzwords. The latest one that I really hate is “lean in”. What the hell does that even mean? “We’re really going to lean in to that.” Just don’t lean too hard or you might fall flat on your face!
Shelly DS says
Hahaha lean in? I’ve never heard of that one before … why not just dive in? Why lean? Oh goodness 😂😂😂
Michelle (Boomer Eco Crusader) says
Right! Dive in would actually make so much more sense. You’re lucky you don’t live in North America. I hear “lean in” at least once a day!
Meetings about meetings! Those drive me nuts! Such time-killers!
Shelly DS says
Hahaha meetings about meetings is the right way to put it!