Well, i'm 40. The big 4-oh. It's been fun in Hoboken all these years, but now that I look back on my time here, and my time at "Corporation X" (the company we don't speak about), I will over some vague advice to the Class of 2012 and how to get far in this world...as a drone.
Yes. I know 2012. You are going to go out a conquer the world! Trailblazers! Write the "Great American Novel". See the WORLD. Own your own company. Be either a lawyer, a doctor, a CEO - you knew that when you were 12, living under your parents roof.
Well, congrats and good luck on that. In the meantime you may need to work in an office like the rest of the unwashed masses and do the old "9 to 6" (it's not 9 to 5 anymore, there you go that's LESSON ONE!), and while you are in the office toiling with the pathetic nobodies like me, here's my TOP 5 things you should know about working in an office.
1. Shut The Fuck Up. Now I mean this in the nicest way possible, but you need to learn from Uncle Sean here. I'm an outspoken douche at times with my friends. Sometimes they find me amusing. Sometimes it means you get unfriended on Facebook because of a municipal worker who thinks that reducing taxes is a BAD IDEA because it means less tickets to Bruce Springsteen for him and his family. I get it. You can be bold, brash and funny with your friends but let me be clear:
THIS. DOESN'T. WORK. IN. THE. OFFICE.
Oh, your co-workers will think you are a hoot. Your boss? Not so much. I'm speaking from experience, people. Keep your head down, do your work, pipe up only when asked or if you actually have a good idea tell your boss, so he can claim credit for it. He will like you for that.
2. It's Not About You. It's About Your Boss. It took me years to figure this out, and scientists in Cambridge have discovered a revolutionary new secret: "Figure out what your boss wants - and do it."
Lets imagine your job was putting together TPS reports (Testing Procedure Specification, which describes the testing procedures and the testing process). Your boss hammers you about putting the cover sheet on his TPS report:
See now this works out well with Shut The Fuck Up (STFU). What did the drone do wrong here? He should have said, "Yes, sir. I will fix that right now!"
That's it. Less headache from a boss giving you a hard time, and most importantly: Everytime you get that TPS report don't forget the cover sheet. Become the cover sheet go-to guy. Make the best damn cover sheets anyone has seen. Let Bill from the other cubicle keep making the mistake without his cover sheets and you will look like the smartest damn cover sheet maker in all the city! Will this make you the CEO someday? NO CHANCE IN HELL. But what it does mean is that you don't have anyone bothering you, which is what most office drones want. STOP BOTHERING US! LEAVE US ALONE!
3. Often, You Will Be Smarter Than Your Boss, Get Over It. There are some bosses who will be smarter than you. But more often than not if you walk into a hospital, the nurses who have been working there for 20 years are going to know more than the wet-behind-the-ears doctor who just graduated medical school. Some bosses know they have talented, smart subordinates and let us do our jobs with minimal guidance. They are great bosses, and very rare. Other ones...not so much. Your best option is just do a good job and never, ever, show up your boss. Always have his back. Never talk smack about your boss to coworkers. Why? Here's another secret:
Your coworkers talk smack about you to the boss: It's called "Character Assassination".
Because you failed to STFU, and didn't put together the TPS reports right, your coworker who does everything the boss says and keeps their head down then gets their yearly review where they proceed to tell the boss everything you said while they weren't around.
Oh, yeah. Which brings us to point number four.
4. Your Co-Workers Are Not Your Friends. Be cordial. Be friendly. You can talk sports. You can talk shopping. You can talk about how your girlfriend snores like a chainsaw. But, don't sit down and tell them about the strip club you visited or all the pot you smoked at Burning Man. If you work with people long enough you think they are your friends. Sort of like how the Stockholm hostages felt with their kidnappers. If you understand point #3 above, that your coworkers are going to back stab the fuck out of you every chance they get with your boss, then you should be able to figure out what to NOT TALK ABOUT because they will tell your boss. And this does bring me to point #5...
5. Your Co-Worker Probably Will Be Your Boss Someday. Oh, I know Trailblazer - YOU WILL BE THE BOSS! But, until that time that the CEO of the company glides down from his office and taps you on the shoulder to take over, more than likely you will have to work your way up to the top or hope that Daddy gives you a nice job as an executive. Until that time, you will be a drone like the rest of us, and more often than not you will see Susan from the cubicle around the corner, is now your boss. And she hates you because she couldn't stand you because of the jokes about why every stripper you met is "going to medical school", how all Democrats are Socialists, and that your boss is such a moron, and "you could run things better".
Bottom line is that you always want to treat your coworkers well. You never know when they will be your boss and the last thing you want is the guy who has a grudge deciding on giving you a raise next year. Or, your coworker could go to a new department and when that new team leader position opens up - who does he or she pick to take charge? Goofy Gus and his crazy stories about getting hammered with his "boyz" at Lana Lounge or Good Gus who works hard, watches his coworkers backs and is friendly to everyone?
Good luck class of 2012! I know you aren't to be like the rest of us. You are destined for greatness! But if you do end up as a corporate hack, just watching the days go by and humming "Loverboy" songs at 4pm on Fridays, then just remember my advice. Good luck!