It’s time to get real. Not “Your baby is ugly and you should never have conceived” real, but more like, “Even if you lost 10 pounds you’d still be gross because your face isn’t pretty” kind of real.
I’ll start: I am the lowest guy on the totem pole at my company, a total paper bitch. As high as my potential is, I won’t be meaningfully promoted for years, and I’m only the second best looking single guy at my company. I don’t totally mind all of that, because my goal is to be one of the bosses someday, and you have to start somewhere. The problem is this: There isn’t a set road map or formula on how to get to the top. Until now. Here are 10 quick truths I have learned so far from the corporate world that could actually get you to the mountaintop one day.
1. One good first impression doesn’t cut it.
You need to continuously impress your coworkers right from the start; your brilliance needs to be flashed early and often (just like spring break). Eventually, you will stop being “The Future of the Company” as younger, fresher entry level grads will be hired below you. Once that tide comes in, your company has had a pretty good look at you over a few years and has determined if you’re in its long term plans or not. From the CEO to the janitorial staff, make people like you, by any means necessary.
2. No one cares how busy you are.
Apparently, once you have kids all of your free time goes to shit. It kind of makes sense, given that you go to jail if anything bad happens to your baby, but waking up multiple times in the middle of the night to feed a crying infant sucks. Fast forward three hours later to the opening of business hours, and your boss has ZERO patience for any missed deadlines or tardiness on your end. Why? You don’t have children, therefore you are not busy and have had plenty of time to be on top of your shit.
3. Binging is destroying your bank account.
Binge drinking or binge eating: pick one. Like most of America, I routinely do both. There is nothing I like more on a Saturday night than to get wasted downtown and cab back home to some Dominoes cheese sticks with a fat bag of Goldfish waiting on my desk. Check your bank statement next time you’re bored and see if you can make any cuts. You can. It’s a similar feeling after circling the parts of your body that jiggle when you sit on a washing machine. I’ve tried both.
4. Your bad habits are starting to form for life.
Weird example, but I noticed this with my posture. God only knows what 40 years of slouching in a creaky office chair will do to your back. Some crunches in the morning might help that specific issue, but I’d cut out some of the more debilitating habits now while you still have the willpower to do so (cigarettes, pet clothing, whole milk, etc).
5. During the week, follow the Thirty, Thirty, Thirty Rule.
Yes, I just made that up, but free time is limited after work, although our children-laden colleagues would disagree. The correct decisions between cooking or buying dinner, vegging out or exercising, need to be made consistently for the rest of your life. That means that every (other?) day you need to be doing 30 minutes of cardio, 30 minutes of a hobby (this could include cooking yourself your meals), and only 30 minutes or less of laziness. If you use your weekday free time constructively, feel free to do whatever the hell you want on the weekends. Go nuts.
6. You probably spend money on things you don’t need.
I’ve pretty much figured out that if I want to be a baller in my 30s, I have to live my 20s on a budget, which sucks. Once again, let me volunteer freely that I spend like an absolute idiot. When it’s not 30 dollar pizza delivery orders, I can always find something ridiculous to blow my paycheck on. Last month, it was four Game of Thrones seasons off iTunes. Not to point fingers, but I’ve seen my friend spend thousands of dollars on a dog. That’s thousand with a “T.” About a month later, his car broke down and he took out a massive loan to buy a new one. What? Stop spending stupid money.
7. Never carry a credit card balance.
Student loan debt sucks, but at least we didn’t know what we were getting into when it came time to pay for college. Ever since the second season of Friends, the world has known that making exorbitant purchases with an interest rate is a terrible idea. If you’ve already jumped off the credit card cliff, cut your cards up immediately and pay them back as soon as possible. Or never buy a house, ever; it’s up to you.
8. Sarah in Accounting doesn’t like you.
We all would like the Jim and Pam romance, but you’re not as smooth as Jim and your hot coworker is a heck of a lot more career minded than Pam was. Sarah doesn’t want to hook up, not now, not ever. The sooner you get that through your head, the fewer amounts of awkward break room conversations you’ll end up having.
9. Quoting movies isn’t funny anymore.
Your coworkers stopped watching movies the day their first child was born. I guarantee it. You dropping a sick Hangover 2 reference does nothing for the father of three rug-rats, and it’s only making him resent you for having the free time to do exactly what you want to do, every day. If you do choose to tastefully break this rule, wait for someone to set you up conversationally before doing your best Ron Burgundy impression. Less is more now-a-days.
10. You are expected to work late, so stop complaining about it.
Even worse, if you have not started to noticeably put in extra time, start doing so immediately, like today. Your car should be one of the last ones to leave the parking lot. Every successful person in any company probably ever has already “paid their dues” at some point. Imagine you are the CEO for a second. You want to see your new hires killing it early and busting ass after closing time, just like you did back in the glory days. Older people think our generation is a bunch of lazy, preppy babies. Leaving right at five perpetuates the stereotype. Don’t be a stereotype..
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