My dear readers, I am jaded. I recently believed that the corporate world was for me, as I am such a skull-crushing know-it-all with killer instincts. In reality, neither my physical nor mental body could quite comprehend the horror I was about to unleash upon myself.
This is not a new thing. Almost a year ago to the day, I took a similar position in an almost-identical company back in Wales. Want to know how that ended?
I moved six thousands miles away to live at the beach…
Still, not all was lost. As a researcher, I used these painful mistakes to create the following nuggets of wisdom so that you, my loves of my life, don’t have to make the same terrible errors in your own lives…
4 Things I Wish They’d Told Me During The Interview
- That “start-up” actually means “more work for less pay”
If any company tells you they work in a “start up” mentality, this can be literally translated to:
“We are only going to pay you the minimum amount we can justify, but we will expect you to dedicate a minimum of 12 hours of your day to this position… and your weekends… and any chance you think you have of taking a vacation has now disappeared as we own your soul.”
Should any employer that has been leading a functioning company for more than five years suggest the “start up” mentality, consider whether this is the sort of company you would die for. I can guarantee it’s not, because no company is worth dying for. If they’ve been around for more than five years, then they’re never going to break into the big bucks, which could be detrimental to you financially in the long-run. You should also consider what sort of leadership allows a company to still be in start-up mode for such a long time. Trust me, it ain’t a good one.
However, it may be that you could handle it for a year. Personally, I’d rather die than have to go through that, but you might be stronger than me. If you are, then I still suggest preparing yourself mentally and physically, and prepare your loved ones, because you’re either about to gain a ton of weight, lose it, or go through some form of mental stress.
- You’re not allowed to have friends in the office
In the world of competitive corporate structures, no one is your friend. Whether it’s the techie, your office mate, or your boss, they’re all out to see you fail. I had no idea quite how competitive the corporate world was until I spent a month working at a firm here in LA.
Here are some basic phrases that I have translated for you. WARNING: if you hear one of your co-workers say the following, make sure you’re ready for battle…
“I really want to see you succeed here” = you’re so fucking shit and it’s embarrassing, but good for me, because you’re making me look better
“You should totally go for some training in X, it’s really interesting” = wow, you’re terrible, and I definitely think you’re totally under-qualified, and I’m going to tell your boss
“How was your weekend?” = did you have more fun than me? Give me a detail about your life that I can use against you
Just remember, if you think you’re in a bitchy in-joke about another member of your team, then the likelihood is that someone else is in an in-joke about you. Don’t tolerate that shit, and don’t let anyone fuck with you. If the job is worth that much, make it yours, and no one elses. Keep your friends outside of the office; they’re the only ones you can trust.
- Attitude is everything
As a writer, I’m constantly told that I have an ego. Yeah, no shit.
As a researcher, being told I’m wrong is something I take very seriously. Unless it’s an opinion-based debate, I won’t enter into a dialogue unless I am well-versed in the subject at hand. For me, being well-versed means having read a plentiful amount of scientific and academic research data, a bunch of other people’s work on the subject… and more often than not it means I’ve literally written a PhD dissertation detailing the phenomenon.
When I’m told I’m wrong, I am known for getting my back up. It’s not ego, it’s intelligence and intellect. These lines are often blurred in the corporate world, and that’s not something I have time for. It’s also the easiest way to see your company stuck in the “start up” phase after fifteen years of being in service.
So, when you’re sat in the interview, and your boss tells you that she/he is really very clever at whatever subject you’re talking about, take it with a pinch of salt. Assess the climate of the office. If you see a lot of people walking around with the passive aggressive smile of satisfaction, ask yourself whether you’ve the tough exterior to put up with their bullshit attitudes. If you’re confident you can handle it, then ask yourself whether you want to be thought of in the same way.
- You’re hired for job, but you don’t know anything
It used to be that one acquired a position at a company because they were qualified enough to fill the requirements. Think about this logically for a second…
You are a website designer.
Your job revolves around being a good web designer
In your spare time, you might read or learn more about web design
Some of your friends have expressed an interest in hiring you to build their website
As a result, you follow details to the nth degree, and always meet the specs in all your freelance work
Now, you move into the corporate world…
Corporate bosses hire people for jobs, but don’t realize that what they actually need is a doctor to hammer a small hole in their skull. After the doctor is finished, then they call in a wizard, a witch doctor, and David Copperfield. Together, the wizard, witch doctor, and David Copperfield combine their magical powers in order to retrieve the information so safely guarded inside your bosses mind that even she/he doesn’t know what he wants.
As a result of this totally impossible task, being hired for a creative job now means being a mind-reader. You’re given the minimum amount of information, because other it would be “micro-managing” and god forbid anyone receive the necessary information they need to do a fucking basic job.
Kay Smythe, The British Bitch in America.
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