Tag Archives: Business

Working For The Weekend

26 Apr

Dan Swanky’s old pal and resident Steed recently reached the summit of the Job Search mountain and has been rewarded with a shiny new executive job at a towering skyscraper downtown.  The opportunity to hear Steed’s unique perspective on the business world is one we didn’t want to pass up.  So we gave him a pocket notebook, some Walking Around Money for his troubles, and then sat back to await the results.  His dispatches did not disappoint.  Prior WFTW: One, Two.

Fellas.  So, ah, I guess last we left my epic executive journey I was grappling with the monkey on my back known as Kenneth.  Well, I was all set to pull some emotional and mental strings to resolve the situation.  But Kenneth’s short (heh) fuse beat me to the punch.

I guess there was another employee in my department, Stephan, who had been here for several months before me, and who had been harboring his own Kenneth anxieties this whole time.  He was a pretty quiet dude, so I didn’t even know he had these issues until last week, when we were all in Kenneth’s office getting Busy Work assignments.  After getting a particularly absurd project, Stephan’s self-control just said Fuck It, and he responded to Kenneth’s request by muttering something we didn’t pick up at first.

Kenneth’s head cocked slightly at Stephan’s comment, almost like a cobra, and the room got quiet as he calmly asked What Was That.  Stephan looked him in the eye and repeated that He Would Rather Not.  Kenneth must have been having a bad day or something, because this just kind of snipped something in his head and he went ballistic.  He started yelling, throwing papers, and finally leaped at Stephan like a spider monkey.  We all cleared the room to let them grapple it out, and eventually one of the secretaries called security to come break it up.  They were both marched to HR Lady Sally, and the last I heard was that Kenneth was being placed on administrative leave for exhaustion.  Problem solved for now, but I’ll keep my eyes out in case that go-getter returns with a chip on his shoulder.

So that little hurdle was cleared, and now I can put my energy towards the Power Climb here.  Rumors are there’s a manager spot opening up soon in my department, and as far as I’m concerned that’s mine to lose.  I did some recon on the hiring people behind this position, and after greasing some palms I was pointed to H. Frackens, a cheery little V.P. who seemed to like me from the start.  I headed over to his office yesterday for a little schmoozing, and things took a bit of a turn.

It was about 1pm when I strolled into H.’s corner office, and he was just polishing off a large snifter of his personal Scotch bottle.  Right away I saw we could speak the same language, and after an introduction I took a seat on his couch and started socializin’.  It might have been the missing half of the Scotch, but H. was loving my jokes.  Before I knew it he had poured the rest of the bottle into two glasses, one for each of us.

Several rounds of Cheers and Prosts later, we had somehow switched positions, with H. laying face-down on the couch and me leaning back in his chair, wingtips up on the desk.  I was enjoying the buzz of new power friendship and warm Scotch when all of a sudden H. let out an Oh Shit and threw his phone across the room.  Before I could ask what was up, he slurred that he had forgotten the time and really needed me to do him a solid.  Seeing a chance to score some Cred Points, I couldn’t say Yes fast enough.  Then I got to hear what the deal was.

Turns out H. was assigned to guest-speak at the Intern Training program that day, a program that started in fifteen minutes.  Seeing as how he was speaking to the coat rack when trying to talk to me, H. was not going to be able to make that guest appearance, and he wanted me to take his place.  He had some notes on Business Communication that he tossed at me before passing out, and then it was all on me to get my game face on.

At that point, I ran down to the garage and burned down my Emergency Spliff to get my head straight.  That had a little bit of an unintended reaction with the Scotch, so I don’t much remember the elevator ride up to the Intern conference room, or the first few minutes of my introduction talk.  I basically blacked back in standing in front of 30 college kids with my shoes off and the words THIS IS REAL written on the white board behind me.  I had apparently been in the middle of a story, but totally lost my train of thought when consciousness had returned.  As we all stared at each other not saying anything, I had a sudden flash of insight and realized I would just impart my personal Comm. Mantras to these kids and then drop the mic.

I quickly turned, fighting off the urge to pass out, and furiously scribbled my Power Comm. Advice on the board:

1.  Enter a room listening

2.  Keep both feet on the floor

3.  Silently repeat the other speaker’s words

4.  Act as if everything is hilarious/brilliant/interesting

5.  Alert power posture, at all times

By the time I was done, I was sweating through my slim-fit and seeing double.  I started a slow-clap for myself and left as it was starting to build.

It was a Wednesday and I took the next two days off, since I had done more than enough work for the week.  Pretty sure that promotion is mine, and that I may have a chance with at least a few of those interns in there.

Steed’s Business Ethics 101 continues on the next installment of Working For The Weekend…

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Working For The Weekend

12 Apr

Dan Swanky’s old pal and resident Steed recently reached the summit of the Job Search mountain and has been rewarded with a shiny new executive job at a towering skyscraper downtown.  The opportunity to hear Steed’s unique perspective on the business world is one we didn’t want to pass up.  So we gave him a pocket notebook, some Walking Around Money for his troubles, and then sat back to await the results.  His dispatches did not disappoint.  Prior WFTW: One.

“It’s been a solid two weeks in the Working Game, and even though some of the shine has come off, I’m still fired up every day.  The thing that makes the early morning wakeup call worthwhile is the power struggle here, both inside and outside the office.  Like I said before, I usually craft my life philosophy around the laws of the Animal Kingdom, and the drive to make my way up the authority chain here is where all of those Laws come into play.

Unfortunately, I’ve had to deal with the downside to the entry-level working life – I keep getting pulled away from my power moves to do ‘actual’ work.  I totally understand that I gotta pay my dues, but my goal is to pop out a couple spreadsheets every day for the right people, and then get back to the serious task of building up my own personal brand.  Once I get a couple more positions up from here, I’ll be able to safely hand any ‘work’ off to an intern or something, and I can fully focus on the rise all the way to CEO-status.  Until I can get there, however, I need to deal with my Kenneth problem.

Pretty soon after I started working, I took the lay of the land to see who I had to report to, who I had to be afraid of, and who I had to impress.  My goal was to figure out how to best deal with who I reported to directly – do I need to buddy up to them, do I need to be firm with my authority, do I need to just avoid them at all times?  Whatever it took to prevent them from monopolizing my time with actual ‘tasks,’ so that I could focus on impressing the right people.  Well, my direct supervisor is Kenneth, and this has been an issue.

Kenneth is a fellow of short stature who occupies an office pretty close to my open-air work desk.  (It’s not a cubicle, and regardless, it’s temporary).  He oversees a couple other people in my department, and once I saw that he was not interested in joshin’ around, I figured I would just avoid him and let the others fall on the Busy Work sword.  I’d buy them some brews at happy hour to make up for it, y’know?  But that little sprite Kenneth has been on my ass from day one with things to do, and he is not letting up.

This guy is totally out of control.  He’ll call me into his office whenever he sees me socializing (aka working) and then proceeds to go on brutal sprees of assigning project after project to me.  It’s impossible to avoid him while I’m around my desk, because he lives in his office.  His eyes glint with a terrifying spark of delight when Overtime is mentioned, and he seems hell-bent on continuing this habit of always keeping me busy.  Even when I think he’s not around and try to take some down time at my desk, he uses his short height and fleet feet to pop up when I least expect it.  I often barely have time to hit the minimize button on my browser, and just yesterday there was a tense moment when he snuck up and clearly saw me looking at The Top 10 Hottest Engineering Majors in the Pac-12 on Bleacher Report.  We just stared at each other for a few seconds before he cleared his throat and asked me to finish up the reports he had given me that morning.  I had to spend the next two hours typing up those damn things.  That’s valuable power move time wasted!  This cannot last.

I’ve spent the past few nights brooding over my Schlitzes about what to do, and I think I’m ready to take this situation into my own hands.  I really need to get all of my energy back on the Power game, because I’ve been hearing that clown Curtis from down the hall yukking it up with some of our execs all week.  He’s been speaking out a lot more at our department meetings, and if there’s a promotion coming up soon he’ll be my biggest competition.

But anyways, back to Kenneth.  Lately I’ve been reading some books about power and seduction, just to brush up, and their ideas about quietly displaying authority gestures to disrupt a situation are great.  They say that things like crossing your arms or facing away from someone will illustrate that you don’t respect the situation, and this got my mind working.

What if I drive Kenneth up the wall with my subtle anti-authority postures, while at the same time use some of my patented charm to butter up the HR department?  Then, when Kenneth finally loses his cool on me, I’ll have the support of HR in my back pocket, and I’ll put in a request to transfer out of this toxic work situation!  Bingo, bango, bongo.  I’m going to play this situation like a goddmaned fiddle, and I can’t wait to see Kenneth in my rearview.  I’m off to go drop some passive-aggressive one-liners, guys, I’ll update you with the good news next week.”

Steed’s Business Ethics 101 continues on the next installment of Working For The Weekend…

 

Working For The Weekend

26 Mar

Dan Swanky’s old pal and resident Steed recently reached the summit of the Job Search mountain and has been rewarded with a shiny new executive job at a towering skyscraper downtown.  The opportunity to hear Steed’s unique perspective on the business world is one we didn’t want to pass up.  So we gave him a pocket notebook, some Walking Around Money for his troubles, and then sat back to await the results.  His dispatches did not disappoint.

“A professional ‘Hello’ from my office in the clouds.  I’ve been here for two weeks now, and I still get pretty jazzed about being all the way up on the 40th floor.  The elevator ride up in the mornings offers up a little adrenaline boost that shakes the hangover cobwebs away and gets me amped up for the office.  To top that off, I then get to use my keycard to scan in through three secure doors on the way to my office area, which is really fucking sweet.  Casually flipping that card out on its little retractable string makes me feel like a dapper scientist, walking through secure areas on my way to do some top-secret stealth government shit.  It’s a little bit of a letdown when I get to my desk and realize all I’ve got to do are some spreadsheets, but I’m liking the daydream material.

But anyways.  You guys want to hear the gritty details about fast life in the working world.  It is definitely a crazy place here in the financial district, both in and out of the office.  There are unspoken rules all over the place, and I’m learning them almost as quickly as I’m bending them to my will.  I’m coming in on an ‘Entry-Level’ status here, but have serious designs on moving up the power ladder quickly, so I’ve been making some moves right off the bat.

One of the first moves I made was based off some ‘incidents’ that came up at my last few office jobs.  I found out that Rohit and Chad are the IT fellows assigned to my particular department, and I made a quick trip down to their offices to have a chat.  Several dollars and a few comped Dave & Busters’ Eat + Play Combos later, we had come to a little understanding.  As long as I wasn’t distributing company information, they’d watch my back in case I raised any red flags with web site traffic (Myspace, Sportsbook, Ashley Madison, etc.) or questionable email content.  Don’t want any messy tech issues impeding my rise to the top here.

After my chat with IT, I was exposed to a daily part of office life that should have some big-time implications for how my future plays out.  Lunchtime.  Here in the high-octane business district, the hours of 12-2 are filled with tension and strong power plays, both inside and outside the company’s walls.  At our company and in most others, officemates band together in groups before heading out to the local restaurants for some midday dining.  As a wolf enthusiast, I’ve become familiar with the pack mentality and let me tell you, these lunch groups are just a bunch of wolf packs in like-colored business shirts roving the downtown streets.  And like with every wolfpack, there are the alphas of the groups and the ones that want to be the alphas.

I got a heads-up on some of our alpha dynamics during my first week at the office.  I had already noticed that Curtis was one of the louder ones on my floor, and most of the catchphrases he coined were picked up quickly around the copyrooms.  He was usually leading the lunch charge every day, but one day a fellow named Stephen made a play at the morning meeting.  Stephen stated that he was really feeling like some Noodle Bar that day.  After a few quiet yet tense seconds Curtis calmly reiterated his plan to get some wraps at noon.  The tension was heavy for the next couple hours, but as 12 came around Stephen joined us for some tasty wraps.

I’ve also gotten a glimpse at how the lunch pack power plays get pretty intense outside of the office as well.  The packs usually organize according to company/industry, and stalk the business district streets during lunch hours.  The groups will usually keep their distance from each other, but will exchange professional head nods if they happen to pass by on the same sidewalk.  Occasionally, two friends from different packs will break off from the groups to exchange a handslap/hug or quick ‘whatsup’ before darting back to the home pack with assurances that it was ‘just a friend.’

From what  I can see, the opportunity to make a name for myself on these streets will come at lunch time.  Each pack typically occupies the same couple lunch spots for weeks at a time.  The transition of lunch spot from one pack to another usually happens naturally and with little excitement.  At times, however, one pack seeking to make a power statement can jump the gun on an occupied spot and attempt a hostile takeover.  This happened last week at the Subway down the street.

The Slim-Fit Plaids from the new boutique I-Bank had been getting squirrelly ever since moving onto the office block, and they showed up for $5 footlongs last Thursday, even though the Wells Fargo Stripes had been holding down the spot for a week.  There were a tense few moments when the Stripes milled about outside Subway’s glass doors, pretending to check their smartphones with furrowed brows, but one of their alphas eventually assumed control and they headed towards Quizno’s without further incident.

Strategic games  like these have gotten my competitive juices going, and I can’t wait to jump in to our office pack power game.  Once I’ve gotten some respect on the homefront, I can start making some moves on the lunchtime sidewalks towards becoming a regional presence.  Curtis had better watch his back, because I’m here to stay.  Let the games begin.”

Steed’s Business Ethics 101 continues on the next installment of Working For The Weekend…