Today, I discuss corporate life and its unspoken truths.
Table of Contents
- What Is Corporate Life?
- What Are The Rules of Corporate Life?
- The Problems With Corporate Life
What Is Corporate Life?
I define corporate life as working in an office. You spend most of your time at a computer, processing files and information. You work in a climate-controlled environment, and your job is rarely physical. You regularly interact with other people, such as your coworkers, bosses, and customers.
Your career is mired in bureaucracy, and you have HR looming over your head. Whatever idiosyncracies you have, you must repress to appear socially acceptable. You cannot discuss anything of value, like religion or politics, without fear of offending the office busy body.
What Are The Rules of Corporate Life?
“If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be ‘meetings.” – Dave Barry
Corporate life, as with all social interactions, has unspoken rules. Workers, bosses, and managers do not discuss these rules openly. However, they exist, and you live by them. Regardless of how badly everyone wants to bury and ignore these rules.
Today, I want to uncover these commands and provide individuals with the insight they need to “game the system.” Understanding the system will help you emotionally process the lies and distractions of your job. Once you know the system, you can detach from it and focus on accomplishing your tasks.
1) Your Job Is Your Primary Focus
Your bosses want the corporation to be your primary focus. There is no “work-life balance” to them. Your boss wants you available at all times and working odd hours, especially if it helps you complete a project quickly and efficiently.
What Should You Do? Determine your pain point. How much time can you sacrifice? What isn’t up for negotiation? For example, I’m willing to work odd hours but not during time with my family. You should draw a line somewhere, but realize being consistently available and working odd hours gets you praise and promotions.
2) Money Is All That Matters
It’s all about money. Family, faith, virtue – these are all secondary things. You can have the best personality, the best work ethic, and so on. It doesn’t matter. If you don’t make the company money, you are useless.
What Should You Do? You must establish meaning outside of work. All work friends are your friends as long as you’re a part of the company and bringing in money. They are loyal to you as a fellow worker, not as an individual.
Furthermore, a paycheck provides for a family but doesn’t give meaning to your family. Paychecks don’t replace spiritual concerns or alleviate your fear of death. Therefore, let go of the idea that corporate life will fulfill any deeper meaning or purpose for you.
Lastly, don’t waste your money. Money has been and will always be the primary reason people work at corporations. There’s nothing wrong with this. However, if you waste the money you earn, then the time spent away from your life goals, family, and community will be for nothing.
Don’t spend 40 hours at a job only to misuse your money on consumerist bullshit. Save your money or invest it in yourself and your community.
3) They Want Your Productivity, Not Your Personality
You exist to make the company money. That’s why you were hired. Thus, your boss and coworkers don’t care about you. They don’t care about your oddities or interests. People are more impressed and supportive of you when you get work done.
Thus, your boss doesn’t care about your hobbies, religious beliefs, or personal philosophies. These things do not make you a better worker. And yes, sometimes, coworkers will talk to you. But they want you to discuss the shallow things that matter to them or something banal like the latest episode of a tv show. No one at a corporate office wants to get to know the real you because such intimacy is too deep for the shallow corporate work environment.
What Should You Do? Always be cordial and professional with people. Talk less and listen more. Ask them questions but keep the questions shallow. Never delve too deeply into your life or theirs. Keep a barrier and focus on work.
Additionally, work to alleviate the struggles of your coworkers. The more productive you are, the more accolades you will receive. Such a life can feel jarring and distant from others: you are essentially social without indulging in anything meaningful. But that’s corporate life.
The Problems With Corporate Life
“Persistence. Perfection. Patience. Power. Prioritize your passion. It keeps you sane.” – Criss Jami
Corporate life is capricious, shallow, and cannot replace things that matter. As much as our current society believes consumerism will save it from itself, this is not the case. Corporate life, with its artificial difficulty, pointless rules, stiffening environments, and mind-numbing work, will never satisfy the cravings you have for a meaningful challenge, purposeful existence, and actions not rooted in money.
What Should You Do?
Understanding the rules above has helped me climb the corporate ladder while staying focused on my personal goals. Therefore, if you want to feel better about working at a corporate office, keep the above rules in mind. Whenever you find yourself frustrated or disappointed, you’ll see how you’ve forgotten the above edicts. Keep them in mind, and you’ll excel.
Your corporate work will never be fulfilling. Working day in and day out, processing papers, and answering phone calls will never settle any emptiness you have in your heart. The money your earn should not cause you shame. However, life has to be about more than just money, spreadsheets, and conference calls.
“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” – Warren Buffett
- Do you work at a corporate office? What is it like? Do you think my rules apply? What would you add?
- Have you never worked in a corporate office? What have you learned about these work environments? Would you ever want to work at an office? Do you think the rules I laid out above are also applicable to your situation?
- What’s the perfect job for you? What would it take to get that job?
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.