Dearest Madame Bitters,
I've had my job for a little over 3 years and I haven't been promoted yet. I work hard on my projects and I do a good job, but nothing's come of it. In fact, I've trained two people below me and they've already been moved up. I'm getting very discouraged and I'm thinking about quitting. What do you think I should do?
Depressed in Duluth, MN
I've got to be honest with you: I've never held a "job" in the technical sense for longer than a month or two, so kudos to you for your determination. That being said, I think it's time for you to quit your job.
I know my advice goes against the don't-give-up, never-say-die attitude that's prevalent in society today, but I don't care. I'm right and society is wrong.
Me: 1 /Society: 0.
Let me expand on this: If something is hard to do, it's rarely worth doing. If you're staring in the face adversity, just throw up your hands, say, "Fuck that shit," and go get yourself a pitcher of frozen margaritas. I don't know about you, but my time is too valuable to waste on tedious tasks.
So cut your losses and quit. Just tell your idiot boss you're going for a coffee run and leave. Before you go, make sure you grab all the free office supply swag you can stuff in your pockets and orifices.
Of course, you'll need to find employement eventually. When you do land a new job, you need to reprogram yourself to work in a new way. Here are a few hints for workplace success:
*Kick butt during your first 3 to 6 months at your new job. This is how long most companies have for new employees probation.
If the company that hires you doesn't have a probation period for new employees, disregard this first step.
*Assuming you've lasted the first few months, we can proceed to step two which is to agree with and suck up to your superiors.
Ideally, you want to start this process during the interview by asking intelligent questions and the nodding thoughtfully. From that point you want to start kissing up slowly but steadily. The key is to pace yourself or you'll end up looking like Eddie Haskell, which is not the goal here.
The more you suck up to your superiors, the more you can slack off when they're not looking.
*Continue to slack off.
*Surround yourself with smart, innovative employees. You may not have a speck of talent or charisma but if you're part of a group who is, you'll be guilty by association.
After you ingratiate youself with the right people, watch them. Pretend you're Jane Goodall studying chimpanzes in the wilds of Africa. Notice how they interact with the higher-ups in the company. Scrutinize them for weaknesses. Start a file on each one if necessary.
*Keep slacking off, slacker.
*Keep your ear close to the office grapevine. If someone's getting fired you want to know so you can manuever yourself into their vacant spot. If you're the one getting fired you need to find out quickly so you can find someone to blame.
So get in good with the office busybodies. Knowledge is power that you can use against your enemies.
If this sounds a tad ruthless that's because it is. It's a deadly serious business. The armed forces has basic training for warfare. This is your primer, your 'basic training' on the intracacies of office warfare.
Follow them and you'll succeed and become CEO. Disregard them and you'll fail and end up as a POW in the mailroom. The choice is yours. Just don't say you weren't warned.