Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Corporate Unwanted Way

Most of the White Collar Worker or Knowledge Worker earns their living through the corporate way, either climbing the corporate ladder through employment, or involved in business leading with corporation. The corporation way is lucrative (compared to small business or individual), but it does comes with its own share of politics (people and power issue).

Once upon a time, I thought doing a good job through hard work and effectiveness is all that matter. Is like a cleaner cleaning the room until it is spotless; or a programmer developed a good piece of software according to the specification in a timely manner. As I get older by (or as I start climbing up the hierarchy), I found that “completing the task” in a technical manner is just secondary. The primary task lies in handling people: negotiate with customers, know when to give in and when not, handling expectation, manage the workers, etc. Perhaps it’s about how to get people to like you and not to appear to be a threat to them.

All this people matter is still okay, until politics or power struggle comes in. I have to do something totally useless just to please the management; I have unreasonable deadlines just to make someone look good; People tend to put words in my mouth; Never offend the clients and don’t challenge of their pride and authority. Thinking back, I was once naïve and made quite a few of these corporate mistakes. Most who manage to climb up the corporate hierarchy is not someone who knows the technicality of the work he or she need to perform, but people who can attack, defend, avoid, shift and manipulate.

Thus knowing how to do the work is not enough, you must know how to survive in the corporate and business environment, dealing with people of different camps and agendas. I realize that it’s a skill to survive which need to be learned and mastered, just like the technical skill to do the actual work. Somehow I just don’t quite like it, because I found it to be “pointless” (and rejected the idea). A close friend told me it’s unavoidable and he accepted the fact that politics exist and need to be handled. The higher you climb (the more money you get), the more politic skill (or perhaps diplomatic skill) you required. He accepted the fact and go with the flow.

My sister told me a few days back, “If you know that you have to do it, just do it and don’t grumble about it”. She is right. So, do I have to do it? It’s important for me to find a way so that I don’t have to have to do it, or reduce it now or in the near future. I rejected work politic, and I just want to earn a living the honest and simple way, the good old way. If I have a choice, I want to avoid lying, cheating, scheming, plotting, go under table or even through the back door. Thus, I need to create that choice - to make a decent living through a politic-less means.

I always wonder if I am being too naïve, or complaint too much of life and work. Is this the fact of life I am trying to avoid, or is there another way out. It’s like the data entry job I offer to people: you work from home, no need to travel, no need to handle people, just do the work and you get paid on time. The downside is it’s not an extremely well paying job, but it’s simple. I guess you don’t get paid to handle the politics of work in my offer (thus the lower pay). Does it means only low level job are without politics? I guess there is always exception, but every job does come with its own shit (whether it is a shit we choose to live with or not).

At the end of the day, it is all about choosing the right kind of shit to live with; Or to actually something which I like to do, yet financially feasible. Money sure can play some role here.

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