Well, what should I say? This topic was not even in the remotest corner of my brain when I logged on to the dashboard of http://www.ubiquitense.com. Usually, once I log on to my site, I’m confronted with various topics that I must write about, but end up choosing a topic that would be easier to finish before 11:30 PM (ahem! that’s when I go to bed). Sometimes, my brain is just too dry to think of a topic that I could write about. Today, I was caught in the middle of the aforementioned scenarios; and finally, I thought of writing about our corporate culture that is prevalent today. This article also contains some tips and tricks that I gathered during my 5 years of corporate experience. So, here we go…
Identifying yourself among others in the corporate jungle
When I got my first job at a multi-national bank in Chennai, I had great expectations about the way I might be working. ‘Great expectations’ because my dad works for a nationalized bank, and I’ve seen how his subordinates and superiors perform when confronted with the task of issuing an educational loan. Should I mention about how they kept records of your application, photocopies, etc? Well, things have changed a lot now – a big leap to be precise, but that was how things were at that time. So, coming back to my ‘great expectations’ of working for a multi-national bank, I was expecting sophistication in almost everything. Well, I was wrong! My first day in office started off with a general ‘fall in’ and I got introduced to my managers, and answered all questions about my nativity, educational qualification, experience, and so on. Later, when I was shown my work place, I was told that I had to share the desktop with 3 of my other counterparts. Well,…OK!
When I met my counterparts that day, they had an air of authoritativeness in their speech. Huh, my counterparts and I were freshers with similar qualifications, and report to the same manager. Yet, it looks like they are seniors since they joined 4 months prior to me!! It took a couple of days for me to match their wavelength and befriend them for good. This is not just my case, but to all those who had colleagues who became seniors just by a few months. Our managers were no different; they used to weigh our talents and usefulness to the broader team by inquiring about our work from the self-proclaimed seniors. People like us lost our identity as a separate ‘entity’ in the corporate jungle. I used to think, “Is it that difficult for a manger to monitor every individual in his/her team and identify his/her talent?” Well, that’s what their profile is all about and that’s what they are paid for. So, what my manager gets to know from my seniors is directly proportional to how I behave with my seniors. I was starting to feel the first twinge of favoritism in the corporate world.
Team chart: Who are you connected with?
I’ve seen team charts that had a tree structure, but it was only in my first job that I got to know that there existed no structure for my team. Everyone was connected to every other person in the team, and the set up was a bit chaotic. Having said that, my manager’s placement was clearly defined!! So, what are the ill-effects of such a team chart? Often, seniors get committed (work-wise, I mean) to a couple of business-tethers of their choice, and they fall out of this connection that eventually becomes their ‘comfort zone’. As usual, juniors don’t have a choice, and they move from one business-tether to the other – as and when asked to do so. Why are we not stepping out of our old-school mentality? There existed a teacher-student atmosphere between the managers and his/her subordinates. Just like all school teachers have their favorite students in the class, these managers exhibited favoritism to certain subordinates in their team.
Well, after two years of experience in the multi-national bank, I changed my job and landed up on a nice sexy multi-naitonal IT company, which luckily didn’t have much of the negatives that ‘ve mentioned above. However, it had its own share of positives and negatives. Part II of this article will cover the following topics:
- The new party culture: the good and the bad
- Moving up the corporate ladder
- The new form of favoritism at work: The girl effect
- Finally, don’t get silhouetted: make some noise!
Keep watching this space for more…