Article 50: Don’t Let the Corporate Monster Eat Your Lunch!

If you want to be in charge of your destiny and determine where and when you eat your lunch then there are things you must do in order to keep that power within your control.  Daily the corporate monster roams the halls and cubicles looking for the uninspired, complacent and overpaid in search of lunches it can eat.  Simply put when the corporate monster eats your lunch you no longer have a place at the table.  Either your position gets conveniently eliminated or your department downsized.  Doesn’t really matter which because at the end of the day the result is the same, you end up out on the street. 

The fact of the matter is that the majority of our work force operates in some type of corporate structure.  Granted the size and type vary but the mentality is similar and if you don’t make a concerted effort to maximize your opportunities you are limiting your ability to grow and remain.  Most people go to work, do their job and rarely seek out ways to improve themselves within the corporate system.  It doesn’t matter if you are entry level or middle management if you don’t have the attitude to expand your abilities and knowledge than each day just puts you one step closer to an early exit.

There is a corporate saying that states you should not stay with a company more than 5 or 6 years because after that period of time you have probably learned all you are going to learn or have reached the unspoken “glass ceiling”.  Now for many there is a lot of truth in that saying because during their 5/6 years they have not sought out other opportunities within their respective organization.  They have become stagnant and in essence expendable.  Their salary may be at the higher end of the spectrum and their performance at the lower.  Too many companies have these people on their payroll and when it’s time to cut payroll the quickest way to get noticed is to be the one who has the highest salary or longest tenure in your respective department.

The best way to have the 5 to 6 year principle work for you is to make sure you position yourself in knowledge and skill so you can easily transfer your current title to a lateral or upward one by moving within other departments.  When opportunities open up you need to be the first one on everyone’s short list.  Doing just a little more than anyone else will ensure you get the recognition desired.  In today’s corporate environment it doesn’t take much to stand out.  Seeking out opportunities to grow will force you to leave your comfort zone and provide you with tenor as well as an expanded set of skills.  It will increase your personal stock value while allowing you to get a better picture of how other departments view projects and corporate tasks.

Here are 10 keys to being able to accomplish the corporate 5/6 year internal move:

  1. Be flexible
  2. Become overqualified with your area of responsibility
  3. Have a desire to learn. Read the type of books those who inspire you read
  4. Correctly position your skill set to those who have influence
  5. Remain teachable. Seek out corporate training seminars
  6. Welcome new assignments
  7. Listen at least twice as much as you speak
  8. Study and learn the corporate hierarchy
  9. Always publicly recognize, sincerely, those who contributed to your success
  10. View assignments as part of the journey not destinations
You truly can continue to grow within an organization way past the 5/6 cutoff if you have a desire to learn, the ability to change and an attitude of excellence.  If you choose to remain on the sideline and just do the minimum I can guarantee you that very soon you will be spotted by the corporate monster and forced to make alternate lunch plans!

Jeffrey A. Mohr – Founder
Rdestiny, LLC – Business and Travel Consultants