Career 101

You will always be the outsider at work if you don’t join in the hourly cigarette, the extended lunches, the endless chatting over chai and the after work drink. You’ll never get the best projects either. In short, if you have a life and want to finish your job and go back to it, you can forget about having any sort of relationship with your cubicle mate. Period.

Clean living isn’t everything it’s made out to be. Just sayin’…

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100 thoughts on “Career 101

  1. ha ha πŸ™‚

    So true! And once you join all those extra-curricular-activities you will be drawn in to office politics.

    20% of my office time goes like that. It boosts your morale if used properly (the kinship that comes with gossiping).

  2. Isn’t there an episode in Friends where Rachel tries to fit in with her boss who smokes.
    Have heard a lot of guys including the hubby who are teetotlers complain that they are never part of any gang and never know what people are joking about most time. Too much unnecessary pressure to fit-in, join-in.

    • same here. the OA complains often that the best jobs and stuff go to the guys who light the boss’s cigarettes. I had joked and told him to carry a lighter. But after a point these jokes arent funny.

    • oh – when I am boss everyone will telecommute, we will meet once a week to consolidate and collaborate and all those other big words. and i dont care what time you do your work as long as you deliver. simple. πŸ˜€

        • of course. everyone has a right to a life. regardless of whether you have kids or not or are married or single. I dont understand bosses who think we should sit in office and play scrabble but not get out and go home.

          • And it is so unreasonable when ur work buddies think u shud go out only with them, and not with other friends or family. And have the nerve to make snide comments abt that too ! Why O why cant there be more like minded pple in my office ??!!@@

            • haan thats another one. I had a great relationship with work buddies in my first job (married one of them ;)) but now I have so many more friends that I cant imagine socialising with the same people I see all day, zabardasti…

            • The comments cascade looks pretty and want to keep it going. The header is cute too:-) So adding another layer and btw, I enjoy a super workplace sans these frills:-)

          • :O
            If only my boss said that!
            The other day, we came to work, there was no internet, some major prob with the server. It was not supposed to return the whole day, and we make websites for a job. We were not allowed to go home, asked to clean our desks and windows instead. I plainly refused and left. To hell with the idiot of a boss!

            • no mass bunk coz my manager is a chicken, he ended up cleaning windows and dusting cobwebs. he might have even polished boss’s shoes for all i know πŸ˜›

            • When I was single and working in India I was told by my manager to work late – akeli rehti ho ghar jaane ki kya jaldi hain. That felt like a lewd remark.

            • Can I work for you too?
              My first job was a disaster. The timings were 9 to 6,but a Super bossy senior would make snide comments about people who left on time. Apparently leaving on time showed how “non-dedicated” you were. I remember staying over at work one night with a colleague-we volunteered to straighten out a few things as our small office was becoming really cluttered and before we knew it this guy wanted us to stay over and organize cupboards, files, folders and basically clean up the entire place. I remember he told us it was “do or get fired”. We did it, and he was very impressed but 2 days later he took me aside and told me that I had to leave because they could not “afford” to keep me and they didn’t think I was a very social person, because I rarely went out for a drink with the other people in the office. I left, but I did send a mail to every one about Superbossyguy and how he needed to tone down. My former colleagues tell me that he has πŸ™‚

            • Exactly.. thats what I want to ask my cubicle mates..

              Also as a working single girl..something I hear often .. which I hate to the core.. ‘So all ur salary goes into savings right.. what do u do with it’.. hate hate hate it

            • “…err… I get a life with my salary?” would be a good answer

              i’m not a big saver and I dont know if I will live to regret it someday. but I do know that I’ve lived everyday to the fullest and I’d not change anything for a minute.

            • It is!! It is!!

              Me neither a big save.. keep asking my friend to introduce me to her financial consultant to atleast get a retirement plan in place.. πŸ™‚ ..

              and Bean could grow up to become like me πŸ™‚ and I love spending all my salary on my family.. but then that is my life and these people are for god sake not even my friends.. just cubicle mates.. which doesn’t even classify to be bench mate kinda friends..

              And if u don’t share ur life’s story then u are not part of the inner circle…

              And talking of life’s story.. my super boss was so inquisitive to know if I have a boy friend.. where he is .. and is that the reason for me asking for a particular assignment.. πŸ˜€ Told him knowing about my personal life is none of his business..

  3. I think it is true to a large extent, especially in professions where networking is almost considered part of the job (read consulting, journalism, media, pr)

    But having seen perhaps multitude of these cases, i think merit wins – the best worker gets the project – sometimes in the end though πŸ™‚

    keep heart – good professionals are like diamonds – get recognized afterall and can take the pressure of lying undiscovered and are worth it

    • I agree-it does seem for quite a while, that the people sucking up to the boss get the upper hand (and it is true too), but no one can keep you down for very long if you have talent….

  4. This is so so true. Worse is if you dont enjoy their company. I am in IT and I rarely find like minded people at work. And truthfully, I would much rather come home and stare at the ceiling than socialize with some.

      • Yes MM.. why dont you move to London? Then I can camp at your house like all these cousins of yours who seem to be in all your pictures. I can draw on your walls.. πŸ™‚
        I might steal the bean though.. or be an elephant for her to play with πŸ˜€

    • Am in IT too.. and same.. I prefer jus sitting at home and staring at the ceiling than come n see the same faces on a weekend to socialize…

      God! and the *** — l****** I see them moving up left right.. everywhere.. Where you get noticed for your good relations with the bosses lunch group..

  5. But you have a life and they don’t. Isn’t that more important. The IT version of that is having a group to have lunch/coffee with. Since I prefer my breaks alone am considered antisocial.. and yes best projects here too are given to networkers.

  6. aaaah tell me about it! i have started believing i have sold my soul to this place. ppl at work scream at their subordinates 😐 i just can’t get over that!

    and i have become a complete recluse too here because i’d rather have it this way!

  7. Thankfully I work in a conservative office, so conservative one might call them stody. But all are married (with or without kids) so they all want to go back home and not hang around πŸ™‚ But I do get what you’re saying – the hubby faces this more than I do. After all I’m ‘expected’ to be a wet blanket πŸ™‚

    • Mine are a conservative lot too and they accept me coming in late or leaving a little earlier than they do. But not being a smoker and definitely, missing all the gossip during after hour drinks does leave me out of the loop somewhat.

  8. This has TOTALLY been my experience in the one month long internship I did last summer. My workplace was basically a male dominated one with only 2 females among 30 odd people. Firstly,I was not given much patta because I was the lowly intern, and THEN I was left twiddling my thumbs, because when the Boss went out for a smoke, – half the office rushed out with him. It was back slapping male bonding all the way, with beer and cigarettes thrown in for good measure.
    What am I supposed to do if I neither smoke nor like beer?
    I am literally dreading the end of college when I will have to endure such things every day.
    Argh.

    • mind you, i dont mind second hand smoke and so i’m willing to sit outside and chat if i enjoy your company. but if its 48 degrees in the sun, or raining or freezing cold, AND I am not really fond of you, then i’m not wasting my time just to kiss ass!

  9. you should work where i work now. if you stay back too late after work, we know you are net-surfing and too cheap to get your net connection at home.
    you have deadlines and resp, and you meet and fulfil those. khalas! real cool. and if you get too friendly with the boss, and run errands/act over familiar, the boss himself/herself will make you regret it.

  10. Went thru’ that as a part-time lecturer. The others just couldn’t stomach that I got to walk-off after classes, leaving them with the admin n paperwork. So they retaliated by leaving me out, thinking my career would get hurt by it. What a bunch of small-minded people!

  11. Sad but true. I gather you ain’t trying as hard as Rachel to join the girls for a cigarette (Friends – as if you don’t know that). πŸ™‚

  12. You are so right!!! And beyond wise. Most people from my workplace regularly go out drinking after work, I don’t drink and after a few raised eyebrows and lame jokes about how I survived my years in New York- as if drinking myself into a drunken stupor is a must to survive anything!

    Plus I’d rather head home and read and cook myself a meal than sit in a dark pub with people I don’t even like to begin with. I have a ton of friends who I don’t get to see because of work, the very idea of spending time schmoozing with my boss or colleagues instead of my friends is plain stupid. I work hard and work well and refuse to go out of my way socializing to improve my work life.

      • I had friends who thought my grandmother wore ‘maxis’ around the house… imagine their shock when they saw her in a saree and my mum with a thali around her neck!! πŸ™‚
        I am stuck at work in a similar situation and since i am 26 and not married and i broke up with my boyfriend (yeah, they are THAT nosy!), they assume my soul is sold to the company… thankfully and surprisingly, my boss is my sane connection!! πŸ™‚

          • Ugh..stereotypes are seriously just a testament to ignorance of those who hold on to them! Another stereotype I find in my workplace is people thinking since I am 23 single and living alone, my fat must be party central! According to some of the twits I work with the only reason I would live alone is to have ‘total’ freedom, meaning freedom to have men come in and out of the flat!

  13. Even if you do all those things you will still be the outsider, unless you hang out with all the people in the office at all times, carefully choosing to be seen with the right people at the right time..work will somehow get done on its own then.

  14. I have this super-hot Italian Boss(blue eyes, tanned skin and the most sexy accent)who takes fag breaks every now and then and comes back in and makes coffee/tea for all of us(I work in the Dispensary at a Chemists, so its usually just 4-5 of us in a shift)because according to him, we deserve a break and because hes the only smoker, his way of socializing with us during the breaks is to have coffee with us!

  15. couldn’t agree more. I gave up on the going up the corporate ladder attempt when I realized that I just couldn’t get myself to take extended lunch breaks and happy hour times with work colleagues in lieu of coming back home to the kids. Sad but true 😦

  16. I am loooong time lurker but have to speak out on this..
    While working in Delhi..all guys would rush out the minute the boss went out for cigarettes..then they would head for chai break..and so went the cycle. All decisions were made during those breaks, all assignments done then. That left me, the only girl in the group, with left over assignments that no one wanted. And since I did not waste my time taking all these breaks and did not want to stay back late, I would go to work early and leave around 6:00 always ensuring my projects were getting delivered on time. Not that it make a difference, I was a slacker just for not staying back late. And don’t even get me started on the mandatory Saturday team meetings when as per company policy weekends were non-working. To head to work through 1 hour commute one way over the weekend to see people you don’t particularly like for a one hour meeting was just too much for me.
    Sigh apparently work situation has not changed at all in India. I am just glad to have the option of coming in early or late or working from home or over the weekends as I like. All people care about is that I finish my work in the allotted time frame.

  17. Hi there..nice small post and true I guess in most places..but I work in the US and my Boss sits in another state….so no issues there and he is a family man too…so you cannot see him beyond the 8 hrs at work..if anything urgent he communicates from home…so pretty most all of us in the same boat..sit for 8 hrs and out we are ..if there is anything to catch up do it from home…and also we have team events and such when all of us get together informally…so I should not be complaining…and here most families are with 2/3 or more kids so we all like to go home asap:)) very good work-life balance..they stress on it and try to keep it up…

  18. Story of my life….I actually got laughed at because I wanted to leave at a particular time everyday to walk my dog… Did not matter that I came in earlier than the rest of them.

    Somehow emergencies and leaving on time seem to be the sole propriety of folks with kids in my office. Sigh!

  19. Sigh. My boss assumes because I’m 22, I dont have a life and keeps me in the office. While merrily taking advantage of her single mother status and waltzing off in quarter of the time we’re supposed to put in. 😦

  20. So true! It’s not what you deliver, but how much you show that you work, and love spending every waking minute at the work place that is regarded high at most places. I wonder when this kind of culture will change.

  21. OMG!! this is mental telepathy. Just a few days ago a couple of us girls (err..women) were talking abt the same thing…if you want to climb the corporate ladder..smoke !!!!!!!

    Dont know whether it’s a coincidence..boss’s blue eyed boys are always the ones who join him for a smoke πŸ™‚

  22. So true. Just add in a part time position to it..you can imagine what i went thro’. I so didnt fit in there and i was treated as if my boss was doing me a favor when in fact it was the other way.

    and oh, i wont feel j about SRK..if it was hrithik..it’s a diff story πŸ˜€

  23. I quit my first job with all these problems..working insane 13-14 hours and only sundays off and even that as some mentioned were to abused as team meetings !! lunch at 5 pm and dinner skipped :(( Gosh MM..what horror some work places can be !!

    The only gud thing I ever got is that the manager still sings praises of me even after a couple of years and late realisations ! I have got so many horror stories to tell πŸ˜› Wish u wud open a place too..would apply πŸ™‚ Plz consider naa.. πŸ˜›

  24. I thought smoking was so out of fashion and uncool these days… Why does everybody’s boss somke?? I have never worked in India, I have been working from home for the same company in the US I worked for before returning to India… As I read this I’m thinking I should hold on to this work-from-home life as long as I can.. This whole going out of home, working and meeting collegues seem over-rated!

  25. I so so agree with this post and I have talked to my husband about this a million times. I have lost on great projects because I did not smoke or did not hang out with the right people. I was hoping things would change after I moved to this part of the world. It did till a certain stage but after that it is the same story. This is a global phenomenon ..

  26. Okay. Here comes the Dissenting Voice (you can’t write a post on career and not expect me to comment, right?).

    I’m not sure its all black and white, though I don’t quite think you are implying that, I think your commenters are. I think there’s a fine balance of what one has to do get ahead – do the once in a while networking event, judicious lunches/dinners/happy hours, networking outside of those, and eventually find the right firm (of course! duh!!). But its pretty much inescapable, some of it, because people will often work with people they like and the best way to cement that bond is outside of ‘formal’ work. Tangentially, being a non-smoker never really stopped me from smoking break chats as long as I indicated that I didn’t mind second hand smoke. I just took my coffee instead.

    Also this whole networking thing is often sequential. At the beginning of one’s career or if you are entering a new firm, or returning after a career, one may have to do it intensively because one has to establish (or re-establish) equity. Then hopefully, there is some momentum and one can do the judicious networking bit. so at 22, I wasn’t averse to practically spending my life in the office because it was the easiest way to get ahead (time was cheap, then!).

    Ok, all this said, i don’t want to give the impression that I like this whole networking shebang. So you know what? The personal is political and all that. Lets all network ourselves to death, become CEOs of every major corporation in town and THEN change the damn system, so no one works more than 8 hours and facetime doesn’t matter. How’s that for a whole generation of change?

    n!

  27. MM – I know a lot of youngsters read your blog, so do want to provide a counter arguement. Choose the profession that goes with your personality. You love networking, chatting up and neeting people ? By all means go to media / PR / Advertising…but if you are like me or plan to be someone like me( read boring, pub hating, mom)get into technology / engineering / middle management.
    I may be doing stereotyping here, but having been a fairly happy career woman for last 12 years I can assure you that it is possible to enjoy your work, the pressure and demands that come with it…you just need to find your true calling.

    • I totally agree nm. But we’re not disagreeing. Neither is yours a counter argument. Mine was a point made in jest with an element of truth. You will always find yourself faring better at any job if you socialise with your colleagues. Naturally a better relationship outside work leads to better relationship within work too. No? That said I am sure you’re not a boring pub hating mom – I bet you partied it up when you had to and got it out of your system πŸ˜‰

  28. the story continues!

    i remember being asked at every interview about late hours! and i have always said that i will stay back late IF there is work to be finished. if not i wont stay back because its your freaking “culture” to work late!

    i keep telling my single buddies that dont stay back late (they dont necessarily work) because you dont have anything better to do at home and you get free internet and ac at work! someday it will come back to bite you. esp once you get married and have a family! they just dont get it! gah!!

    remember leaving on time once and a sorta senior guy saying”Oh! you taking a half day?!” I said I have a husband at home and have no intention of sitting here and wasting my time pretending to work hard. he never asked me again!

    some people i tell ya! make that most people! sigh!

    cheers!

  29. Pingback: the working woman will always be a ‘housewife’ in disguise, even if the housewife is now a ‘home-maker’ « The Life of Umm

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