For many young people joining the corporate world, it is a daunting place to be. Growing up you were probably a big fish in a small pond, and in many ways, it was a pond that saw you rise to the top based on age more than anything else. A senior at high school or a post-grad at university are the top of the food chain, but when you enter the real world of corporates and career ladders, advancement is suddenly dependent on a whole lot more factors. And if you are coming in at the bottom of the pyramid do you really have the fight for the mail room to board room type rags-to-riches story. If you do, here are some tips to help you make the upwards move.
How to Work your way from the Bottom to the top of the Corporate Hierarchy:
Don’t think for a minute that you can leave school or university and stop learning. If that is your attitude, then you will never go anywhere. Whatever qualifications you have, you can always get more. If, for example, you have a basic engineering qualification then build on it. Enroll part-time to do your certificate 4 in engineering or look to complete a diploma that plays to your strength or fill a place where you have a knowledge gap. And when it comes to learning don’t think narrowly, think broadly. You might be an engineer but that doesn’t mean you cannot do a course or degree in law or finance or flower arranging for that matter.
Always aim to get to work before your boss and, wherever possible, try to leave once he or she has gone. And don’t just fill time at the office doing nothing, always be productive. Look for work. If all your assigned tasks are done find something else to do. Ask colleagues if you can help. Tidy your work space. Hustle for sales leads. Whatever it is, be productive and work hard. It will get noticed.
It is great to be driven by ambition and the desire to make it to the top but recognizes that it is a marathon and not a sprint. If you tackle it like a sprint you will cut corners and do things that you regret in later years. You want to make it to the top by being honorable and doing it the right way. With the marathon perspective, it is easier to adopt the hungry but steady philosophy. People will respect that.
Nobody likes a loner so work hard to be a team player and to get involved in all areas of the company. Be part of the pub quiz team, play on the netball team, attend events, participate in group discussions. If you are interested and engaged, you will be noticed and appreciated. It is a far cry from sucking up to management, you don’t need to do that, it is simply an opportunity to build relationships at all levels and to showcase your skills, talents, and personality.