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surviving the corporate jungle

(18 Posts)
saffronwblue Fri 16-Sep-11 07:03:13

Much of my career has been spent in universities and for the last 5 years in a small training company. I have just landed a job in a large multinational so at the age of 50 will be learning the corporate ropes. The role is .8 and at a senior associate level.
I would be really grateful for any collective wisdom and advice about how to start off well and avoid any obvious pitfalls. I am not a gung ho graduate and can't work 18 hour days but am clever and good at problem solving ( I think). I also managed to keep a straight face in the interview when they used dialogue as a verb and talked about the C-suite.

lollystix Fri 16-Sep-11 14:07:15

You need to hone your corporate chat- your 'wankspeak''. So frequent use of things like 'on my radar, ducks in a row, bake that into budget, totally unacceptable, exceeding expectations, blue sky thinking, gaining buy-in and of course, being on the same page'wink

slug Fri 16-Sep-11 14:34:07

Ahh, wankspeak, so annoying, yet so difficult to keep a straight face.

'target demographic', 'reach out' as in "I'll reach our to my manager and get back to you" (particular bug bear of mine) 'proactive monitoring' etc.

lollystix Fri 16-Sep-11 14:44:08

Ooh Slug - I've never reached out to my manager - I must try that in Monday!

fanjolina Fri 16-Sep-11 14:56:23

And don't underestimate the need to play politics - a fatal mistake I made

slug Fri 16-Sep-11 16:03:06

You have to do it with an ever so cheery American accent lollystix for the full cringe effect.

NoMoreWasabi Fri 16-Sep-11 16:05:08

This may sound obvious but remember that the purpose of your existence at a company is to help the company make money for shareholders.

SootySweepandSue Fri 16-Sep-11 16:09:32

This reminds me of when a whole load of senior colleagues went on a course and afterwards they all started saying 'delta' as in the difference between 2 things. At first I and everyone else had no flipping clue what they were on about.

We used to play bingo (in secret) at the particularly wankiest of meetings with all the 'buzz' words.

I am so glad I'm no longer there.

Oh and the motivational videos...don't get me started...

rookiemater Fri 16-Sep-11 16:13:01

Go around describing yourself as a "Glass half-full type of gal" extra points if you bray it loudly, this appears to be the wank words de jour at our place.

SootySweepandSue Fri 16-Sep-11 16:17:30

On your first day ask a few of your colleagues for a 'chemistry' meeting. That will get you started smile.

lollystix Fri 16-Sep-11 23:08:17

And don't forget EVERYTHING you do is business critical and required yesterday and then in 3 days time everyone has forgotten why it was needed.

And if you every want anything doing, fine a 'mandatory' reason and everyone shits themselves and suddenly moves heaven and earth. Make friends with the company's lawyer - I find it helpswink

NormaStanleyFletcher Fri 16-Sep-11 23:12:35

'It speaks to the zzz space'

Is a combination of two of My least favourites.

FreeButtonBee Fri 16-Sep-11 23:19:47

actually, not to be a pisser on the piss all over the private sector 'wankspeak' parade butI've found that being bright, interested, witty and sensible has given me a great profile in a big international organisation which has resulted in promotion on merit and people taking me very seriously. Do your best; treat people as you'd like to be treated and don't be naive and tbh you should be okay.

Carry on with the piss takes though- I don find it funny!

lollystix Fri 16-Sep-11 23:26:54

Oh get over yourself Freebutton!

GeorgeEliot Sat 17-Sep-11 11:40:39

In my opinion the key things that will set you apart in a corporate environment are demonstrating strategic thinking - that your actions have the company's long-term objectives in mind; and confident decision-making. You can be wrong occasionally (but should be prepared to admit it), but nothing is more irritating than someone who requires others to sign off everything they do.
but don't dive in straight away - spend a few weeks quietly observing ho relationships work and, yes, trying to get the hang of the office politics.
Good luck - I think you'll find (as I did) that your maturity and experience will be a huge asset to the company.

saffronwblue Sat 17-Sep-11 11:42:17

Thanks everyone for helpful remarks. I'm sure the approach to work that has worked for me will continue to do so - I just do feel there is a mystique around the corporate world.
Blue sky thinking, here we come!

lollystix Sat 17-Sep-11 11:47:56

I think nomorewasabi sums it up well. It's about making money for shareholders but doing it compliantly without trying to piss too many customers off. Making money is the point though which can feel a bit shallow at timessad

Smum99 Mon 19-Sep-11 12:00:22

Find out how your manager is assessed - what are his quarterly objectives and help to achieve those.

A colleague and friend who did very well in a global organisation explained that she managed upwards, nothing went to her manager without her seeing it first.

The good news about being older is that you will be more confident and hopefullly not like the young bucks desparate to outshine colleagues. I have mostly worked in large corporates however have worked for smaller organisations and the politics are similar - just the scale is different.I would prefer corporate to public sector however.

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