Thursday, May 22, 2008

Lost in Corporate America

One thing about my current place of employment; they tend to use all of the Corporate America cliches. I'm sure you're familiar with the language: "Take ownership", "Be a team player", "add value to the company", etc. However, it would appear that adding value, being a team player, and so forth is equivalent to bragging about how hard you're doing.

Maybe it stems from my attempt to avoid any social contact with my non-Jewish co-workers (see my earlier post, "The New Word" to get an idea of why) . Or, maybe it's a question of tznius. Whatever the reason, I spend most of my day glued to my computer. I get in around 8, leave at 6, and barely stop typing the whole time I am there. Yet during a recent conversation with my boss, which I initiated because I have been at my current job several months and wanted to ensure I was meeting his expectations (I was being proactive!), I heard the following "advice": in Corporate America, he reminded me, everyone is busy being concerned with how much work the other person is doing. In other words, people are preoccupied with where they fit in relation to everyone else, and take every opportunity to subtly undermine any advantage posed by fellow "team members". The conversation reminded me of one of my catch phrases: the older I get, the more every social encounter resembles high school. Or, in this case, kindergarten.

You know, maybe things aren't so different in Corporate Canada. But my general attitude there as here is that I am here to do a job, and I will diligently work with you to provide any help you need. I am here as a resource, and feel free to consult with me about any documentation assistance you may require. But don't expect me to go tooting my own horn; don't expect that I will be the person you overhear loudly proclaiming how hard they worked on Project ____ to ensure that objectives X, Y, and Z were met. I figure I would rather concentrate my energy on doing a good job. Quietly. Expeditiously. Correctly. Here in America though, I hear this rhetoric about how important it is to constantly sell yourself and the value you are bringing to the company.

So, bli ayin hara, everything should remain good, and I should manage to remain free of all this political nonsense. Politics occur in every place of employment, I know; the key seems to be finding a way to dodge the pitfalls such politics create. Hashem should please continue to protect me, so that I can successfully avoid these pitfalls...not to mention my two-faced, self-aggrandizing co-workers. After all, a little shalom goes a long way...

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