For many (if not every) young black professionals there comes a point in your career where a comment or action is made that makes you wonder what (if anything) has really changed. You encounter a moment of ignorance only triumphed by HR’s lackluster response. As we climb the corporate atmosphere we quickly learn that what used to be out-of-the-blue flash floods are actually a predictable part of the fiscal forecast. Simply put, some corporations house ugly realities that aren’t going away very fast. Albeit the realities aren’t new, but the strategies to use must be upgraded because trying the same thing and expecting a different result…well we know how that goes. So here are the new rules.
Never stop Negotiating! The old rules of office politics say to do your best to negotiate your starting salary and hope for the best. The new rules say everything is negotiable. So you didn’t get the starting salary you wanted, what about vacation, telecommuting, pay increases, executive level mentorships, company sponsored learning/certifications, cross-training or management training, the workstation that allows for more visibility, an extended contract, renegotiations after 90 days or some other set period of time or milestone met, referral bonus, etc.? Your negotiations don’t stop upon getting the job – that’s where they begin!
Stay Engaged! The old rules of office politics say to only worry about your department and specifically, your direct chain of command. The new rules say stay engaged in multiple aspects of your organization the same way you would with the organism that is your body. Of course the parts you use daily are more conscionable, but remembering to take interest in the lesser-known departments produces a swank synergy that allows for more calculated decision-making. The kind that creates win-wins for everyone and makes you someone everyone enjoys working with and eventually taking direction from.
Remember this is Warfare! You must understand that Corporate America is a war zone, complete with land mines, air raids, and double agents! The old rules of office politics say to play nice and seek allies. The new rules say to play smart and seek victory! You must be an active participant in your advancement to subdue new territory. But your greatest adversary is not in any office; the true victory is to overcome the perils of economic want and the stifles to financial peace. You must defeat the thoughts that say ‘you’re not worthy’ and the ideas that whisper ‘this is not for you’. As you silence the critics within, the ones outside simultaneously subside.
The old rules of office politics deals with archetypes. You learn the different types of coworkers and what strategies to use to counter them. The NEW rules we have provided above deal with architects. You learn the different constructs of this game war and begin to unearth new strategies to survive and thrive. Take it or leave it. These are the NEW rules of office politics.
Click here to hear more from a radio show we did on this subject.