What are the biggest lessons you have learned in the corporate world?

  • If you’re going out of your way to do something, let your manager know it. CC him/her.
  • This one is from some source I am not able to recollect: “ A management career has more snakes than ladders”.
  • Don’t be happy when you get a work laptop. You know what it is for.
  • The person who says he knows everything and is in charge of everyone repeatedly has no idea of what his work is about.
  • Your manager hates you less than you think he hates you.
  • Your manager likes you less than you think he likes you.
  • The boss who says you can walk into his cabin if you have any trouble hardly means it. These stuff are only for the inductions. Intercom him before barging in.
  • Nothing fruitful has ever been achieved of the “meetings” of the team.
  • Never depend on your company to make you grow. Your company doesn’t owe you anything apart from the CTC. Do stuff outside your office which improves your visibility.
  • A salary is not an entitlement, but a reflection of contribution. It’s a business deal. Neither of you are doing each other any favour.
  • Don’t bank on your past glories to think you deserve good work. Try to make a difference everyday to get great work.
  • If you aren’t efficient, your manager will micromanage you. That’s your fault. Not his.
  • If you think there is something wrong with the processes at work always make sure you put forward your views. Standing up for what you feel is right requires guts. Good managers understand it and address it. Bad managers rebuke it. At least you’ll know when to quit!
  • Next time your manager talks to you about “Internal deadlines” don’t laugh out loud.
  • If you want to get the best out of your subordinates, teach them something first. It is always a give and take. Conversely ask yourself every time “What’s in it for me?”
  • The office goodies like ID cards, tees and key-chains are not to flaunt but to own you totally. Imagine a dog with a leash. Strangely, ID cards give me a similar feeling. Not that I’m disloyal to my company. But I’m against the concept of ID cards.
  • Respect your company’s corporate culture. If you’re not aligned to it, quit the office.
  • Calculate the real time put in for office. This includes commute time, time playing table tennis with the colleagues and the weekend outings with colleagues. When on an outstation, the weekend off in a new unknown city still qualifies as office time. Team lunch, team off-shores, team outings, team crap, everything counts as work time. You’ll be surprised that this “real time” would be way more than what you thought it would be before accepting the work offer.
  • Blaming time for every failure is ignorance.
  • Go to your managers with problems and solutions not just problems.
  • Remember that the company is one step ahead at all times . Take the example of salary hikes. Beyond a particular point salary hikes don’t happen every year unlike rental escalations. They probably increase it say by 75% every 3 years. So assume the salary you’re getting in Y5 is 100. You will get 175 in Y8. The increase is for the “performance already put in”. If you quit the office in Y7, you’ll be at a loss. On the other hand, if you had quit office in Y9, you’re still at a loss because you’re not in a position to reap the benefits of your efforts as you’ll be quitting at an enhanced salary. Had the salary hike been linear and yearly this “centripetal force of salary hike” binding you to your office will be less. At the max. your loss would be 25%. Not 75%. Most shrewd and clever companies do this to retain employees for an extended period.
  • If you’re ordered to do something which is possibly illegal always get the order in writing.
  • Don’t get worked up about performance reviews.
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