on navigating the corporate world

So after a year  of acting like the aam desi aadmi and merging seamlessly into the organizational fabric at work, yours truly has made some observations worth putting on blog.

The company has this mathematical factorial like chain of command. The President is at the top of the ecosystem flanked by the COO, CFO and the CIO. The COO and CFO over look a board of Vice Presidents. And the VP’s preside over a group of Chairmen. The Chairmen boss over Managers. The Managers over Administrative Assistants. And the AA’s over Interns like me. My camouflage was perfect. I would occupy the last row of seats  during meetings, park my ass near the condiments table, helping myself to coffee and cookies and no one would as much lift their eyebrows hearing my hush puppies squeak on the floor. I was invisible.
As an Intern I am supposed to act all intelligent and nerdy by taking down copious notes on regulation and policy, make minutes and do a mail blast.  I would open up a notepad to religiously take notes; start with a few intelligent observations like ‘at the current rate our panel size will grow by an additional 1000 members this necessitates an increase in the number of providers, faster eligibility verification systems etc etc  get bored just in time for ADD to kick in, resulting in drawing captcha doodles and adult cartoons. Sorry that I digress too often. ADD is a bitch because it makes you think you are a multi-tasker and all but no. Its a general misconception the same way safe days for sex is.
So a brief treatise on how the top dogs roll.
canto 1 :
Chain of command. The chief has a problem with his login. It doesn’t seem to be going through. So what does he do? Normal people would hit backspace and retype the password but not the chief because he is the chief. He picks up his blackberry pronto and calls the CIO and yells “Your systems are crap. Your guys are crap. I can’t login to my account.” The CIO seems to be in the midst of a nature call and replies “Let me patch you through to my help desk guys they can help you.” Chief to help desk guy “Are you competent enough to fix my problem ?” systems guy “trust me Sir, I am an Indian.”  “So Sir is the caps lock key light on your keyboard ON ? ” Chief  “eh. what about it ? yes it is. You know what, I don’t have time for all this crap. I pay your department to have my systems up and running when ever I need them not for me to check if some light is illuminated and crap. Remote login to my computer and fix this problem now.” Systems guy: “ Sir please hit caps lock and see that the light goes off. Now retype your password and you should be able to login.” chief:” you Indian guys are amazing. Yes it works now. bye.”
observational gem : When you are chief you deal only with other chiefs. None higher none lower.
Arrested Development. Saturday morning 8 am. Your truly was happily hammered out on Friday night and is having cosmic orgasmic trippy dreams when the phone rings that special the empire strikes back ringtone. 30 minutes latter I am on a train headed towards the office dressed in a neck tie and a two piece suit.
observational gem : If you are a single guy working for the chief. You Have to work on weekends as the unwritten clause in your employment agreement says ‘for the first few years of your working life you have no life’
Asserting authority. Sometimes my escapist luck runs out and I get a chance for some one on one action with the chief. It’s like a nightmare playing out in real life with matrix like slow motion. The chief on seeing me clutching the notepad and vanilla folder holding on for dear life brings  on a devilish grin on his face. Scratches his bald head, drums his fingers and asks “ So intern what brings you here?” I muster courage and squeak out some incomprehensible words. His frown deepens. He puts his legs on top of the mahogany table and stretches them like he’s back from some long walk; adjusts his tie; draws up his pleated trousers and asks back “ You said what ? Anyways I am busy. Leave that folder on the desk I will look at it latter and I hope there are no accounting mistakes else I wont hesitate in firing your sick ass.”
observational gem: create an impression of power and all so that no one will smile at your pot belly or balding head.
Furniture. For most of the time all chiefs are hung up on who has the most expensive and color coordinated furniture. If one chief comes to know someone else has better furniture than him he will go to extreme ends like laying off a few people to buy more expensive wood. Furniture takes on a new dimension like its some extension of people dicks.
observational gem: the higher your position the more polished your desk is.
Emails. If you have an inordinate subordinate who refuses to do a job for you make sure to include his bosses email address in the cc field. The work will be done. CC-ing is like the mafia. It works in strange and wonderful ways.
observational gem: Don’t do mail blasts without a purpose or unless its a video of a dog pooping on a baby. Always spell check.
Appear Busy. In the middle of a meeting the boss will get up suddenly with blackberry in hand like he got some confidential text on the benefits of eating fish,  step out and break wind.
observational gem:make it look cool.
Swear words. Only the boss can use the F-word freely and not flinch or say sorry for bad language. I get to see Ari Gold like curse word outburst every day.
ari gold _ entourage
observational gem: epic power.

Slang/Proverbs.  One particular chief uses a lot of yada yada yada in every sentence and  statistic. He’s too hung up on Calvin and Hobbes me thinks.  Another manager uses lots of slang/arcane movie references/proverbs. a few examples  “the proof is in the pudding”  “lining up my ducks” “you really stuck it out din’t you ?” “ build and they will come”

observational gem:Thanks to the Iphone Wikipedia app  I am always in the loop.

Delegating. The Boss will never do even the most simplest of tasks when he has an assistant whom he can delegate it to.

observational gem: The best way to escape delegation is to spend lots of time hunched in the loo  hoping no one comes looking.

don drapper_mad menAttire. The Chiefs are always dressed like Don Draper from Mad Men. The suit, the tie, the shoes, the belt all are perfect sync; the fact that only Don Draper  call carry that dress code is something that completely overshoots them.

observational gem: Invest in a Macy’s card for people to take you seriously.

Drinks. The best thing about working in a corporate is the free booze at sponsored events. Yours truly is a beer fan boy. The frothy liquid has a vice like grip over his throat.  But when you wander around bosses with a bottle of Budweiser in hand they give you dirty looks like you just landed from a fraternity dorm. All the big men drink gin and tonic and the big ladies cosmos.  observational gem: switch to whiskey, at least.
Take Credit. Irrespective of how big or small achievement a department makes the chief of that department will indulge in a show and tell at the monthly chief’s meeting with PowerPoint presentations and printed handout jazz. Just to ‘in your face’ the peers.
observational gem: Resume/ Operational Budget allotment for dummies.
Observe and Report. To put it simply no matter how stoned the boss looks you have to compliment him on how good he looks with his new crew cut.
The no bs rule. The boss is boss for a particular reason: He can see straight through your bull shit no matter how well you dress it up like Russian salad.
Linkedin. Don’t add your current colleagues to your Linkedin network unless you want to draw flak for for your preposterous job titles and descriptions.
Email Signature. When you are in a temporary position always add a thank you to your signature along with the thanks for your consideration and time line. cleverly delete your phone number so that no one can call you back and shout at you.
Mad Skill Bro. MS-Office. Pdf-ing. Google Advanced searching.  Hands down these three skills are essential to survival in any environment and also for good remarks in your appraisal report.
Memos. Send them out regularly for no particular reason so that people can know how anal you are about regulation and next time delete it directly without opening.
Sick Day. sick days are given for a reason so if you are lucky to get one and someone calls to check sound all sick and constipated even though you might be prancing in your balcony in lungi and sipping beer.
at the office annual party don’t do teen maar when the song says cha cha slide.
clock in. clock out. with out fail. else no pay.

One thought on “on navigating the corporate world

Comments are closed.