At my first corporate gig I looked for a book that would help me cope and adjust to corporate life. I never did find one, but now after nearly six years I have figured it out on my own. These are my tips that make working for corporations a little bit more tolerable.

1. Put your back to your cubicle entrance and practice falling asleep with one hand on the keyboard and the other on the mouse. (Make sure you have a work-related document open on the screen.) This is easy to do if you have a chair that has a high back. There are two things to watch out for: (1) Your screensaver may activate while you nap, and (2) Your hand may smash some keys, making people who pass by you wonder why you have a screen full of G’s. When someone knocks on the frame of your cubicle entrance, waking you up, they will confuse your tired haze with deep and creative thought.

2. Assume you are doing a perfect job unless your boss gives regular feedback, which he probably doesn’t. When you are rated incompetent in several areas during your yearly performance review, go through the five stages of grief. They will admire the fact that you “care” and may not put you under a “performance management plan.” Bonus: Refuse to sign the evaluation right away, saying you are upset and need to think things through.

3. Do not get buddy-buddy with your boss. Rapport with you boss will just make it easier for him to ask special favors of you that do not translate into more pay. Stay distant: When he asks how your weekend was, repeat the same thing every week (“Oh I just sat around the house and watched TV”) until he stops asking. Instead, be nice to everyone but you boss. This way if he tries to fire you, everyone will chime in and say what a great person you are, weakening his power and making him appear delusional.

4. Be average. Do just enough work to not get fired but not so much work that they consider you for management. The responsibilities that come with management rarely makes it worth the often measly increase in pay. Plus if you are reading this right now you are not busy or important enough to be someone whose decisions will ever matter.

5. Always have one good idea in the bag if your slacking is being noticed by many people. Examples:

– Intranet wiki that never gets updated
– Employee suggestion box/committee
– Online bulletin board to post about lost keys
– A database of some sort
– A corporate blog
– Company-wide distribution of “Who Moved My Cheese” to improve morale
– A new system to streamline office supply ordering that involves laminated cards and an in-box.
– Quarterly newsletter with a section that features employee pets.

6. Contemplate killing yourself. Or, walk by the break room every 30 minutes to see if there is any leftover food, in the middle of yet another attempt to break your record of most number of times you can check your personal email in one day.

28 thoughts on “CORPORATE WORK

  1. Mike

    Dear God, man, it’s like you’re narrating my life.

    Another favorite I stole from George Costanza: carry a document (any document) through the halls, staring intently at it and scowling. People will assume you’re working hard and stressed and leave you alone. Then you can go back to checking email/facebook/DCB every ten minutes.

  2. phi

    Man, that’s me too. The things we do to pay the bills and have health care.

    congratulations to everyone to being another cog in the corporate machine.

  3. Roissy

    falling asleep at keyboard used to be so much easier back when you could adjust the screensaver to permanently off.

  4. TC the Terrible

    The key to it is finding what your passion is (other than porn) and following that, then you don’t have major issues with your job. Easy enough to say, but for years I had a hard time doing it. There’s a book called Wild at Heart that’s pretty much for guys only that really helped me put it all into perspective. It’s heavy on the spiritual side of things, but still full of good stuff.
    Corporate life can actually be good for a lot of people. I know I sucked at it, but am way ahead of my peers in the military industrial complex. So it is all about finding the right place at the right time.

  5. Lonnie Bruner

    TC the Terrible,

    “The key to it is finding what your passion is…”

    I think your advice is only partially true for most people. The problem with making your hobby your job is that then your hobby runs the risk of becoming a chore. For example, one of my passions is sailing, but I would never want to feel obligated to do it. That would kill it for me.

    I just changed careers from a semi-souless non-profit job and now I’m doing something completely out of left field and it’s proving to be very interesting and fun.

    Maybe the key is to keep mixing it up and avoid stagnation until you find something that may not be your passion, but is intellectually stimulating, etc. Who knows.


  6. TC the Terrible


    I think you and I are working from different definitions. To me a hobby is ‘interesting’ or ‘stimulating’; but not something I’m ‘passionate’ about. I have lots of hobbies, or would if I had enough time in the day, but only a couple of passions. Having said that I agree with your comments on letting a hobby become a chore. I love to read about history, but would hate to have to teach it.

    Make sense?

  7. Stephen(DC)

    It’s called the blues man.

    Turn off the flourescent light, close the door, and work to the blues.

  8. rebecca

    Number 2 is my favorite. Or being mean to the boss. Of course, that could be because my boss is not my favorite person and not being nice to her sounds like a good plan.

  9. aNON

    Gordon MacKenzie’s “Orbiting The Giant Hairball” is not a bad read.

    My personal opinion is that paying-the-bills shouldn’t be the only reason for a corporate job. Unless your Corporate job provides an immense personally enriching and non-financial gain (such as saving babies, travel, unlimited pumping and dumping the hot secretary etc.) it’s not worth sticking it out.

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  12. Mary A.

    Thank you so much….you put a smile on my face that I have not seen for a while. Six months into the corporate world after having my own business for 15 years. Yes it is for the paycheck and the benefits that I am here. Not because I love it…or even want to make a difference anymore. My spirit was shot down in the first 2 weeks on the job . It seems I am the only one that can see first hand the damaged people around me who work to prove how important they are…and no one beside them…really cares. We have one woman in our design firm, who is like an arsonist, she like to start little fire in the office, problems, arguments, issues…and then runs around like a fire chief…putting them out. She does this to prove to how valuable she is at putting out fires…can’t anyone see who is really starting these fires in the first place. I pray that I can remain aware of the realities of my job and not become blind sited as these poor people have become, by selling their mind and soul…to the corporate world. Thank you to all who write their servival thoughts here and giving me some little chuckles through the day…so very helpful.

  13. B Dawg

    Your comment has absolutely hit so many things on the head. Thank you for this awesome response. I am sharing this with people as I type this.

    This site rocks.

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