Like my usual opening line, I don’t have intentions of blogging today. However, an incident triggered me to write.
On the way home, I had those recurring thoughts again. When will I find the courage and opportunity to leave my present work? I have all the reasons to leave. I’m on that stage when horizons are replaced by limitations. I have reached the finish line of my career and no other competitive race awaits me. All my cards lead me to the losing end. It doesn’t help that I often see my former colleagues and friends having the time of their lives.
Typing this, I remember that I’m about to reach my 13 years of working. Maybe a milestone but as of now, my prevalent sentiment remains the same.
I’m overstaying for nothing.
Of the years I spent working, (cliche dialogue ahead) I have my own set of learning experiences. Things I never learned from school. Things I thought only exist in movies. Only to later find out, reality is way painful than those portrayed in movies and TV series.
One advice I heard from a superior was a classic
Always do your best. Keep on doing your best. People, particularly the management, will eventually notice your hard work and value. Eventually, it will not be difficult to achieve that much prayed promotion.
I was less than 25 years old when I heard his advice. I believed and adhered to such principle in my 20s. Over time, I realized that surviving the workplace goes beyond working hard and working smart. Fine, sometimes it’s working smart > working hard. But based on my experiences, workplace survival entails a myriad of lessons you will only understand once it happened.
A few that I experienced and taught me a great lesson include the following
- You will lose friends at the workplace. It may or may not be your fault. But some situations will force you to burn bridges. A little lesser evil outcome would be a cold war with someone you once trusted and respected.
- You will embrace plasticity to some extent. In Filipino parlance, being plastic means showing off a friendly and heart warming image to someone you are dying to hate.
- There will always be bootlickers. You will always have that colleague who survives by kissing someone else’s ass. Unfortunately, some superiors love being patronized by this one-of-a-kind workplace prostitutes.
- Sometimes, you have to flatter or patronize someone to get a job done. Hell, it’s more than promotion and self-advancement. It’s making things happen for a particular project.
- Once in your career lifetime, someone will backstab and use your name as a scapegoat for some selfish endeavor or mistake.
- If there are teachers’ pet in the classroom, the workplace has its own equivalent.
- You don’t adjust and cope with the demands of your workload. You adjust and customize based on what your superior desires.
- Someone will lie to you. Even those who came from the best universities in the country are capable of doing so.
- Once in a while, you will have better ideas than your boss. But because you want show some respect or you’re afraid of being tagged as “pabibo” kid, you will hold on to your silence. On the contrary, those who contradict this principle will end up being transferred to another department, outcasted by colleagues and experience a once in a lifetime superb promotion. The possibility of getting promoted is as blurred as your chance of winning the lottery.
- Like those usual scenes in drama series, you will wake up being framed up and accused of a workplace crime. You will be blamed for something beyond your control. You will be accused of something you don’t even knew was happening. It goes with saying that someone will always refuse to admit inefficiency. The person will drag everyone to the crime of workplace inefficiency. You will try to defend yourself, but in the end, you’ll clean up somebody else’s mess.
- How to get promoted at the workplace entails an algorithm of work place politics and minimal quantity of hard work and intelligence.
- Being smart will never be enough.
- The person with the loudest voice is always right.
- Consequently, my favorite thought and observation is, empty cans make a lot of noise.
- The person who can fluently and seamlessly speak in American English will always look as the smartest person. Although upon further analysis, I realized that most of them are nothing but hollow and empty cans.
- In different drama series, workplace quarrel meant confronting each other and hearing all those kinds of curses. In reality, you seldom see confrontation at the workplace. The battle entails complaining the person to his superior, writing a hate mail anonymously forwarded to the immediate superior, ranting in Facebook, tagging friends to plant hatred against another person, making the art of deadma and avoiding each other forever.
- Someone or some situations will make you feel demoralized and demotivated.
- It’s alright to feel demotivated, stupid and pathetic once in a while. Trust me, this will eventually make you stronger.
- The playing field will never be fair. It’s a sad reality. You can leave the organization, get used to the system, transform the culture which is near to impossibility.
- Being Filipinos, we turn these situations to a source of comic relief. We laugh about colleagues and the management involved. Bottomline, you still wake up in the same reality. There’s no guarantee that this will never happen again. It’s reality among all organizations
- I learned over time that making other meaningful ventures other than your job works both as a defense and survival mechanism.
- Gossips are like appetizing dishes. Admit it, we love to hear it. Unfortunately, being an expert gossiper is not a good idea. Even though colleagues are benefiting from it, don’t ever earn that position. It’s tantamount to becoming the least trusted colleague.
- Fine, gossiping cannot be avoided. However! However, there’s a proper way to unearth or discover gossips in the most discrete and dignifying way. Use your analytical and research skills. :p
- Secrets, secrets and secrets. A secret only remains as a secret when you keep it to yourself. Once you leak it to another person, even if that person is your most trusted friend… trust me, it is no longer a secret. You have opened the door to its explosion.
- Petty workplace offenses are punished while major offenses aren’t. Take it from a personal experience. I have colleagues, who were proven to commit fund malversation, used benefits of their position for personal gains, and committed something that led to the oppression of another person. Most of the time, people who made serious offenses are given the option to make a graceful exit. They were simply eliminated. In another case, an employee who struggle with punctuality, failed to beat a particular deadline, will be subjected for painful disciplinary action. This makes me sad because more employees will feel the presence of equality, justice. In the end, everyone is demoralized.
- Frugality, prudence are great attributes. But don’t overdo it … Once in a while, treat your colleagues apart from your birthday. Give small gifts to a colleague who has been very supportive and contributing in accomplishing a project.
- Once in a while be a hidden angel to a deserving colleague. Help someone secretly. 🙂 Trust me, it will feel so fulfilling in the end.
- Use your vacation leaves, even if you don’t have the money to fund an out-of-town trip. It’s good to detoxify once in a while. There are a number of non-money wrecking activities you can do during a paid vacation leave.
- Don’t bring everything in social media. You can rant using a Facebook status message, but please.. filter its reach. Don’t semi-backstab someone in your Facebook account. You equally dislike people talking behind your back. Trust me, that semi-backstabbing session through status messages and comments will reach the person concerned.
- One thing you will never regret, always do your job. Accomplish your responsibilities, even on situations when you feel demoralized and demotivated. If accomplishing a task meant indulging to an expensive Starbucks frappe, huge bag of potato chips, sweetest slice of cake, oiliest burger … by all means, have it. You will gain more than enough respect and confidence from your colleagues. If the management does not recognize employees within your rank, the least you can do is to deliver even in the most hurtful and disheartening situations. You’ll never know, a colleague whom who have once assisted or served well will pave the way for a better opportunity. Great reputation is priceless. We all have that colleague, classmate, friend or popular celebrities, whose reputation cannot be salvaged even by hiring the best image enhancement company. Reputation is like virginity. 🙂 Once lost, you’ll never find and return it again.