Lifting the rose tinted glasses of the corporate life for 3 minutes of a reality check. Brace yourself.
You have to speak up
While you will probably get a lot of support in terms of resources and people to talk to in your firm, a lot of the work has to come from you. By work I mean, being vulnerable enough to recognise when too much is too much, and to actually have the courage to say you’re struggling.
This is so easy for me to talk about but I know first hand how hard it is to speak up and change things.
In the same vein, you actually don’t have to speak up in order to change things. You don’t have to vocally or physically set boundaries if you don’t want to – just create your own norm.
For me, it was getting emotionally draining to continually vocalise my boundaries and I started to feel like a broken record, so I just started acting on them. If people respected them, great! No one hasn’t disrespected my boundaries yet so when they do… I’ll let you know when that video drops 😎
Have a strong case for yourself
You have to evaluate anything you say when you’re speaking up against senior management. You need to know the consequences and potential conflicts of interest when you speak up for something, instead of blindly speaking out on what you disagree on.
Be strategic and always have a business case, evidence or backup for what you say because at the end of the day, it’s your job that you’d be risking.
Don’t be stagnant
It’s SO easy to get comfortable at these bigger conglomerates. However, opportunities to do something different and new present themselves everyday. It’s so easy to let weeks, months and eventually years go by and while your ‘years of experience’ increases.
Have you learnt or done anything new or exciting? It doesn’t have to be difficult or stressful, but take advantage of the fact you work for a huge firm and spice up that CV people!
Separate yourself from your job
It’s far too easy to associate your sense of worth to your performance reviews and I’m here to tell you that they are apples and oranges. Not the same.
The trap of thinking you’re only a good worker if you’re present and productive 12 hours a day, output at 110% and A1 performance reviews means nothing once you log off of your work laptop.
You’re still you, you still have hobbies, and you still have a life to live. Whenever you feel like your wavering on self-worth in your corporate job, just remember the fact that Boris thinks he’s done a great job as the PM right now. So you can have a few unproductive days here and there and not feel guilty. ‘Nuff said.
Emotional intelligence is important
Your attitude matters so much more than you think. Your response in a stressful situation is what makes it stressful.
You could have the worst career of your life if you respond to stress by overworking, centring yourself and caring too much. Do the opposite of these things and start each day with the right attitude.
You have to manage upwards
Your manager will like you more if you make life easy for them as well as doing your job. I always thought everyone had their own job and that was that, as a team, you’d get things done.
But what I’ve realised is that the easier you make your managers life, and the clearer they are on what you’re up to, the happier they will be.
You’re on your own, kid
Timing is everything and no one will actually tell you when to do things—like asking for a promotion, opportunity or a raise.
You have to read the room, understand the performance and salary review structure and know when to ask the right questions because no one is going to ask you if you want to be promoted or want a raise.
Stay out of office politics
Office politics is unfortunately such a thing. People get on, some people don’t get on, and my best advice is to not take sides and just get along with everyone you come into contact with. Get to know your colleagues for who they are and build genuine relationships—but keep those relationships at work.
All in all, something I’m learning this year is to not take my career too seriously. I’m trying to do what I’m good at, find new things I’m good at and find my people at work. Balancing all three of these will really help you to be happy and healthy in your corporate job!