Since a lot of kids graduated from college in May, and itusually takes a few months for people to find a job in this constipatedeconomy, quite a few fresh-faced twenty-somethings are entering the job marketright…about….NOW. I thought this morning, hey! I have been in the job marketfor almost twenty years, and I have many, many helpful tips to pass on, gleanedfrom the behavior I have experienced, first-hand, at my many jobs over theyears. And, as my repeat readers know, if there’s one thing I am, it’s super-helpful.(What’s that? You were going to say long-winded? And one of you in the back wasgoing to say bitchy? Suck it, haters!)
So! For the class of 2011, here. With my compliments.
HOW TO BE AMEGA-HELPFUL PRODUCTIVE EMPLOYEE AT YOUR FIRST JOB AND MAKE SUCH A GOODIMPRESSION THAT THEY WILL ALMOST IMMEDIATELY MOVE YOU UP TO SUPERVISOR, THENBOSS, THEN GRAND MASTER OVERLORD POOBAH
1. Takewhatever you want from wherever you want. It’s your right, you’re entitledto it, you need it, and dammit, you’re special! Didn’t your parents drum thatinto your head all while you were growing up? Example: you are stapling, andyour stapler runs out of staples. You have a full box of staples in your desk,but filling a stapler, well, that’s for mooks and peons! Your co-worker acrossthe way has a stapler! It is full of staples! TAKE IT. You deserve it! I mean,it’s not like he’s using it or will ever use it, right? Or, you need anenvelope. And you’re out of them. But your co-worker has a bunch on top of herdesk. Take one. Hell, take them all. She’ll get more! It’s obvious she hasnothing better to do than to refill her envelope supply. She’s going nowherefast, while you, my friend? You are on the FAST TRACK TO THE TOP. You can’t getthere without using your grabby hands to your full advantage.
2. Take alesson from toddlers: when you’re done with something, drop it like it’s hotand walk away. Remember that stapleryou borrowed above? You don’t have time to walk it two steps over to the deskyou borrowed it from. You are a BUSY BEE. You have PLACES TO GO and TASKS TOCOMPLETE. Drop that stapler wherever you stand and MOVE ON. You’re on theladder to success, my friend! Keep a’climbin’! No time for tidying up whenyou’re on the ladder to the stars! You know what they call people that cleanup, don’t you? MAINTENANCE STAFF. And you didn’t go to college to be GroundskeeperWillie, no sir, not you. So leave that stapler wherever. I suggest somewhere noone would ever look for it, say, behind the X’s in the file room, or on top ofthe refrigerator in the break room. Take the only pen from the sign-in desk anddrop it behind the copier where it’s irretrievable, and forget it everhappened. Finish the paper towels? Don’t you dare refill the dispenser.Overflow the toilet? Too bad, losers. You’re really too busy to care, and thereare shinier rings to reach for.
3. Repeatafter me: “it is not my problem.” You loaded your assistant up with a metricton of work at the end of the day and she told you weeks ago she has to leave ontime for once today but you need it before she walks out the door? “It is notmy problem.” You forgot to tell someone working on a team with you about asensitive email you received and it reflected badly on them, but you came offlooking smelling like a rose (and/or Axe body spray?) “It is not my problem.”Your secretary has laryngitis and can’t come to work today but you don’t haveanyone else to answer your phones because you forgot to train anyone else? “Getin here. That is not my problem.” It’s a state of emergency and the radio’stelling people to get home because they’re going to start shutting down theroads due to the gigantic snowstorm outside and you have employees waiting foryour go-ahead to leave? “Too bad, we have work that needs to be done today. Itis not my problem.” Don’t you just feel more powerful even saying the phrase?More barrel-chested, manly/womanly, strong, virile, able to leap tall buildingsin a single bound? It’s a power phrase. It’s a mantra. I suggest saying it atleast once a day, and making sure it’s said in a situation where tears are mostlikely to result, therefore tipping the scales even more in your favor.
4. Practicecondescension and braggery wherever possible. Who cares if these two thingsmake your co-workers shy away from you? You’re catching the eyes of the bigboys. There’s no crying in baseball and there are no friendships on the way tothe top of the heap. Really, there’s just you, and the garbage. You don’t wantto be garbage, do you? WHO WANTS TO BE GARBAGE? Not you, that’s who. Then useone of these, or a combination of them, or something similar to them, adjustedfor your particular situation, at least once a day:
“I was at my vacation home on thelake the other day, thinking about taking my boat out for a spin, when mysupermodel wife came up to me and told me no man had ever fulfilled her like Ido. How was your weekend?”
“I just spent your year’s salaryon this tie. No, seriously. You won’t be getting paid this year. What’s good inthe vending machine today? My, but those SunChips look tasty! But all I have isthis $100. Do you have a dollar in quarters I could borrow?”
“Your hair looksreally…interesting today. Did you see that in a magazine? Was it Popular Mechanics? I get mine cut by aswami in Tibet. It costs $1,000 a snip but the results are, I think we can bothagree, worth the price.”
“Did I see you at Walmart thisweekend? No, ha ha, I wasn’t at Walmart. I was driving by in my Cadillac,chuckling richly at the plebeians. I do that for kicks sometimes. You all looklike little ants to me, up there in my Cadillac. Ants, shuffling around theparking lot. Zombie ants. Do you like my ring? It’s the Pope’s. I just had tohave it, and when he realized who I was, he just handed it over. It was a wisechoice.”
5. Eyecontact – it’s not recommended. Don’t make it. It just makes yourunderlings think they “know” you, and that you’re “relatable.” And do you wantthat? Really? No. No, you don’t. Always look just over their head and to theleft a little. Like you’re looking past them for someone that’s moreinteresting and important to talk to. Or like you’re looking into your future.If your backstory is that you’re looking into your future, smile a little,vaguely. Because your future is bright. Really, really bright. And they need toknow that, so they’ll be properly jealous.
6. Don’treturn phone calls or tell people where you’ll be. This is an importantone. If you return phone calls or tell people where you are, it implies you arenot busy. And everyone knows, the most successful people in the business worldare those you are unable to reach or make an appointment with. So leave at 10amon a Tuesday. Don’t tell your secretary where you’re going. Drift back inaround 3pm, and when you see you have a number of voice mail messages, justignore them. When your secretary tells you the callers are calling back, iratethere’s no callback, just smile and nod and say you’re unavailable. Eventually,the callers will start yelling at the secretary, because callers always assumeit’s the secretary’s fault they’re not getting through. That’s what you want.You’ve got your clients in the palm of your hand, now. Wait a few days, andTHEN call them back. They’re going to feel special. Like they are the only onein the universe, because you, very special, busy you, took the time to callthem back. You made them feel like a special snowflake. Congratulations! (Note:This is exhausting work, which will require that you take more time off torelax.)
7. Takeaway happiness. The time for happiness is not in the office. Do youremployees enjoy chatting? Separate them. Do you employees enjoy surfing thenet? Take away their internet access. Do you your employees enjoy makingpersonal calls? Take away phone privileges. Do your employees enjoy having acigarette? Turn your entire office area, inside and out, into a smoke freezone. If they complain, ask them if they enjoy their paychecks. They should sayyes. If not, well, there’s the door. We don’t need whiners here. Only winners.(See what I did there? Wordplay. It’s what winners do.)
8. Whatto do when an employee asks for a raise. This is a touchy subject, so I’llbreak it down for you. The employee will come to you for a raise with some sobstory about “cost of living increases” or “medical bills” or “mother withdementia” or “inability to buy groceries.” Pretend to listen; what they’resaying really isn’t important. What they’re doing is begging. And what do we dowith beggars? We don’t give in. That’s like negotiating with terrorists. First,tell the employee everything they’ve done wrong over the past year. Even ifit’s not true. Keep it vague: some employees fancy themselves investigators andwill ferret out the source of the complaints like little gumshoes. Say thingslike “there have been complaints about your work ethic…” and trail off. Vague,and sort of worrisome. Look stern. Say “I think we both agree you could begiving a little more.” This is vague enough to cover a lot of ground. Onceyou’ve made up some things about the filthy beggar, tell them, in your best “Ireally empathize with your plight” voice (you might want to practice this infront of the mirror first, as there’s no way you can empathize with a poorperson so you run the risk of coming off like a robot who just learned humanspeech) say “I’m sorry we’re not able to increase your pay at this time, butlet’s revisit this conversation sometime in the near future. You’re a valuableasset to our team, Tammy.” (Note: please don’t quote this verbatim unless theemployee’s name is really Tammy. For some reason, it really irks underlings when you can’t remember their names.) The employee, now disheartened and possiblystarving to death, will wander back to their cubicle, and you are free! Tocelebrate, ask Tammy to book you lunch at the most expensive restaurant intown, and when you get back, make sure she types up your expense report. She’llreally appreciate seeing how much a winner spends on lunch, and it will giveher something to aspire to.
9. Remember:shit rolls downhill for a reason. This is a saying I like to tell youngpeople just starting out. Shit rolls downhill. It is a metaphor. Well, unlessyou really didn’t report that stopped-up bathroom and your restrooms are uphillfrom your office. But that’s not your problem, winner! Which, anyway, is whyyou want to be uphill. Also, make sure to treat those below you poorly, andthey will pass it down and down and down and DOWN until it all rests on theshoulders of the lowest man or woman on the totem pole – and that persondeserves it, because that person just DID NOT TRY HARD ENOUGH AND IS A TOTALLOSER. No room for less than shining stars here!
This is not an all-inclusive list, but it’s enough to getyou started. You’re on your way to the top, baby! Nothing’s going to stop you! Andonce you’re King Shit of Turd Mountain and lord of all you survey, look around.Isn’t the view from the top nice? Isn’t it nice to be king? Fancy? Yes. Yes, itis. You are so welcome. Remember, it all starts with you – don’t be afraid ofsuccess. And you can’t spell success without SUCK. Well, minus the K. But it’snot funny that way.