5 Ways to protect yourself in Corporate America

What’s good World?! Still new to this blog thing and making a more consistent schedule. But I figured Ill use Wednesday’s blogs to teach grads/new jobseekers the game of Corporate America as I’ve come to learn it. Keep in mind different industries call for different work cultures. I’d say I work in the traditional 9-5 environment. Meaning everyone has a cube, business casual, cross functioning teams come together for projects and no nap time unlike some jobs over at Silicon Valley :/. For today’s topic I wanted to go over ways to “protect” yourself while you’re working. 

1. Protect your Signature Like Wu Tang Told You to Protect Your Neck. 

Now that you are over the age of 18 your signature is now a law binding agreement. WHATEVER and I do mean WHATEVER you sign from here on out means you approve of the document you are signing. If a document is falsified or if you don’t feel comfortable signing a document DONT SIGN IT. For example in the real world you get yearly reviews on how you did working on the job for that year. If you don’t agree with your manager’s review of yourself don’t sign it. I know it sounds crazy but if you sign that document you agreed to it. If it says you don’t communicate well with people and you always fall asleep on the job when you don’t (you guessed it) don’t sign it. If you sign it and get fired down the line you can’t argue that you didn’t fall asleep on the job at work. They will pull that evaluation document as proof that you did. Since you signed it you agreed to it so you cant argue your way out with words. 

PROTECT IT NO MATTER WHAT

If someone is not comfortable with signing something and they try to put it off on you (unless you read over it and agree to it) you probably shouldn’t sign it. Sometimes more experienced workers will try to have you sign a document that they aren’t comfortable signing so they won’t take the fall for messing up. Always be mindful of ANY document you sign because you are agreeing to it. 

2. Conform to Workplace

Yes individuality is important and yes you should feel comfortable expressing yourself in any way. But when someone else is paying you to do a job it’s best to fit in. If you have your own business and pay yourself feel free to express yourself however you want to. Here’s an example of conforming.  If everyone is wearing a shirt and tie in your department you should probably wear one too. No it may not be required but when you are trying to navigate through the corp world it takes strategy as well as a good work ethic to move up the latter. If you have good rapport with the higher ups and people that are decision makers in the company you’ll be more likely to get the annual raise, promotion, ect. 

3. Build Relationships in the Workplace 

This is important in any aspect of life. If you don’t leave the cube and get to know people you miss out on knowing how to work with them. As you’ll come to learn everybody has there own way of wanting something done. Some people you work with want DETAIL. Others may like you to be short and direct with the information you provide. It’s best to find this out as well as getting to know the people you are working with. You are, after all, spending 40 or more hours with them everyday. The better you know your coworkers the more likely they will be to help you to get projects done quicker compared to if they didn’t. 

4. Be a Problem Solver 

Unless a problem/decision is outside your payroll try and solve the problem yourself. Your managers are there to assist and help guide you throughout your projects but keep in mind they have a lot on their plate as well. If you are always going to them over every little thing that’s a bad look. They hired you to be the expert in whatever it is you do. Be sure to utilize other resources and people before always going to your manager. Once again if it’s a decision that is bigger than you such as dealing with huge sums of money or changing the overall scope of a project you are working on ask your manager for help. If not try to figure it out and get comfortable with problem solving and decision making. 

5. Put Your Projects FIRST! 

This may sound selfish and it is but trust me on this one. Unless you need to use your skills to assist on a project that can add or dramatically decrease value to a company make sure your project is taken care of. Typically you will plan out your whole project and have milestones. Make it a priority to be early or right on time for those milestones. NOBODY likes late work especially when you were the one that planned the dates for it. Always under sale and over deliver. The phrase “Bottom Line” is all the higher ups care about. To prove yourself to them and your coworkers get your projects done in a timely fashion. Even if you have a valid excuse remember the Bottom Line. You said it was going to be done so make sure it’s DONE. 

That’s it for now. Feel free to share with anyone you know getting a corporate job. Please provide feedback or let me know of any questions you have on Corporate America. Is there anything you agree with? Disagree with? Let me know I’m the comments below. Peace! 

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