When I was a software engineer and worked for leading IT companies (both services & products) I experienced lot of stupidity. Before joining the workforce – I had this illusion: The more I work the better are my chances of going up in the corporate hierarchy and getting better paycheck. I thought to myself – my hard work will get noticed and my bosses will appreciate it. I did work – without a single holiday for first 13 months of my career, even going to office on weekends when required. I took deep interest in my job and ‘actually cared’ for customer satisfaction. I chose to be a team player, sacrificed few personal gains just to make sure that the project does well in the long run. Not only did I complete all the tasks allotted to me well in advance before deadlines but also helped others achieve the same by sharing their work.
I was confident that my work was being silently noticed and managers were taking note of everything I was doing to contribute to the success of project. In fact, what started as a single-engineer project grew to over 8-engineer project over a period of 1.5 years and it was a big achievement. The clients did write one or two ‘great job’ emails appreciating my work but that’s far lesser appreciation to what I had actually contributed. Am I boasting myself – I don’t know. I believe I contributed more than 100% to the project, if that makes any sense to your mathematical minds.
Facing the reality
The reality was very disappointing. I was expecting above average grades in all the fields like “Team Work”, “Communication”, “Domain Knowledge” and so on. Instead of appreciating my contribution, the managers started telling me how I needed to improve in all those areas and how they expected ‘More’ from me. They told me my contribution was ‘average’ and later I figured out, it was someone else from my project who was actually “A+” material. I was shocked! I knew this guy didn’t contribute a thing more than I did over the year. Just that he was over-friendly with the managers who were in-charge of the ratings.
Discovering The Ultimate Way To Success In Corporate World
I’ve written about it so many times. Let’s accept a fact – The (Corporate) World Is Imperfect & People Are Idiots. We need to equip ourselves with special skills to survive in it. How do you attract your manager’s attention aka a normal, stupid, human being who’s in charge of deciding which car you’ll buy next? Simple! Keep in mind that it’s the illusion of work which fetches the glory in life – not the actual work. I’m NOT suggesting that you should completely avoid work, but learn to amplify the work that you actually do. If you look cheerful and happy at your workplace, then people (your colleagues & managers) will take it for granted that you’ve avoided work and that’s why you are enjoying. It’s the typical Indian mentality, you know!
Be dull. Be silent. Never keep your cubicle clean. Greet people, if you must, with a dull face no matter how cheerful they are. Be silent in meetings and talk only about work that ‘YOU’ do. Do not appreciate other’s work (it makes them smarter and hard-worker than you are). Talk to your manager only about work and try to share (real & imaginary) problems with your manager and have their sympathy with you. Make others look ‘luckier’ than yourself by your actions and words.
It sounds negative, but I know at least 20 people who’ve done it and today enjoy the benefits of it. Many of them are in managerial or team-lead position these days.
Imagining A Work Place Where People Are Happy
I am working on building a work-place and company where people will be happy by choice, without worrying about ‘grades’, ‘appraisals’, ‘salary increments’ and so on. I don’t have a blueprint to share, but I have few ideas which I’ll try. It’s a matter of few years before we actually create such a place.
I’m sure there will be thousands of people, fed up by corporate stupidity, who’ll want to be a part of such a venture.