In your early 20s, you don’t have a lot of capital. Your investment returns are limited consequently. Therefore, the most efficient way to make money is by being good at your job and side-hustling. Investing in your skillset and focusing on your career would provide more ROI at the start.
The rules of work mentions about the unspoken truth about getting ahead in the corporate world.
Successful navigation of the uncharted waters in the corporate world will enable you to thrive. As a start, you need to understand the unwritten rules of the office. Here’s the summary of The Rules of Work by Richard Templar.
Part 1: Work Ethnic
This is the underlying rule that governs all the others – know your job well, do it well and be better than anyone else at doing it
- Get your work noticed
The best way to attract notice is to transcend the routine. Do something extra. Show tremendous initiative by giving your boss an unsolicited report on how things could be done more efficiently. Be sure your idea works beforehand and don’t overdo it.
- Never stand still
Spend any extra time preparing for your next job. Keep moving and learning.
- Volunteer carefully
- Carve out a niche for yourself
Find an unmet need in your office and fill it. You might create personal profiles of top customers, master a new computer program or learn arcane accounting procedures. Whatever it is, creating your own niche will make you stand out among the rest.
- Under promise and over deliver
- Learn to ask why to understand the big picture
- Be 100% committed
- Learn from others’ mistakes
- Enjoy what you are doing
- Develop the right attitude
The right attitude is about developing standards and sticking to them. It also means giving it your best shot, consistently every day.The right attitude is going that extra mile, giving it that extra effort even when you’re tired.
- Be passionate but don’t kill yourself
Cultivate a positive enthusiasm about your work. If you don’t feel passionate about it, look for a new way to view it that makes you care, or work out what would generate that kind of passion in you, and then create it in your work.
- Manage your energy
Managing your energy is as important as managing your time. You need to ensure that the energy is there when it is needed.
- Never let anyone know how hard you work
Make the difficult look easy. The important thing is to look calm and efficient, on top of everything and totally in control. You glide through your daily work with ease and confidence.
- Keep your personal life private.
Part 2: Know that you are being judged all the time
The way you dress, how you speak and the clothes you wear etc are noticed. The critical thing is to make sure you’re in control, so their judgments will be positive. Here’s how:
- Cultivate a smile
- Develop a firm handshake
- Exude confidence and energy
- Pay attention to personal grooming
Make each day as conscientious as an interview day
- Be cool and attractive
Remain civilized and sophisticated at all times.
- Speak well and write well
It means getting information across clearly and effectively.
Part 3: Have a plan
You have to know where you are going and plot your path —in six months, in a year, in five years. Remain flexible and convert your plan according to circumstances
- Know what you want in the long term
Select the position you want and study your industry to determine how to get there.
Work out what you want from each step—gaining experience, relocation, learning new skills, acquiring people management understanding. Then, set short term and intermediate goals.
- Know what you want in the short term
All plans should include practical steps to put into action and make them happen.
Your one-month short-term plan should obviously list current work projects—deadlines, prioritized tasks, basic routines. This is for work actually being carried out. Your one-year plan should have projects that are being formulated, planned, presented, whatever. This is for work being planned rather than executed. Your five-year plan should be for ideas, dreams, goals, wishes, wants; it is for work you intend executing one day. Your long-term plan will have a career path built into it. Your five-year plan will take into it any steps you need to carry out that long-term plan.
This means acting and thinking one step ahead. Prepare for the step after next
- Study the promotion system
While making the promotion chart, list all the skills/experience, etc. that you would need for each step to be made successfully. Next to this, you can add what you have to do to acquire these—where you must go, what you have to learn, what you need to study. You can add these back into your long-term plan and your five-year plan.
- Know your strengths and weaknesses
Your goal is to become more aware of your shortcomings and use that knowledge to your advantage. It is not necessarily to eliminate your weakness
- Identify key times and events
Save your energy and your top performances for key times when doing your best really matters, such as a presentation to the CEO or a tremendous sales opportunity. Refine your timing and strike at the right moment.
Identify these times and events and shine at them. Be a cobra and strike when it is appropriate. There is no point in using your energy all the time.
- Anticipate threats
Threats come at us every here and now — redundancy, downsizing, takeovers, new technology and systems etc. If we can think on our feet, be flexible and move fast, each threat can be an opportunity to grow and reinvent yourself.
- Look for opportunities
Learn to see opportunities as balls—if they get thrown your way, you have but a split second to catch them. On a side note, be prepared for opportunities in advance.
- Make learning a lifelong mission
Part 4: If you have nothing nice to say, keep your lips sealed
Your words can cause your undoing in the workplace. It happens all the time. Practice saying only positive things.
- Don’t gossip, swear and complain
Life and work present many unfair situations. However, complaining about them never makes them better.
- Compliment people sincerely
- Stand up for others
- Be cheerful and positive
- Ask questions
Asking questions shows that you have paid attention, care, are interested, are thoughtful, are considerate and intelligent and creative.
- Use “please” and “thank you”
- Be a good listener
Good listening is a skill which comes with practice!
- Only speak sense
Part 5: look after yourself
- Set personal standards
We must strive to be the best we can at all times.
- Keep records
If it is in writing, it makes your job much easier.
- Cultivate your support/ contacts/ friends
- Understand others’ motives
- Put things in perspective
You have to learn to switch off, relax and not take things so seriously all the time. Put things into perspective.
Part 6: Blend in
- Know the corporate culture
You don’t have to buy into or believe in the corporate culture. All you have to do is fit in.
- Speak the language
- Dress up or down accordingly
We all need to be part of the herd to a certain extent.
- Be adaptable in your dealings with different people
Know their frequency and adjust to it.
Everyone is different. If you treat them all the same, you run the risk of offending them all or at least failing to satisfy any of them. You have to be adaptable and ready to change quickly, depending on what is required of you.
- Make your boss look good
- Never disapprove of others
Smart strategists concentrate on their own path and ignore the route others choose to take. Keep focused on where you are going. Ignore anything others are up to so it is easier to stop making judgments. If you make judgments, the categorization makes it much more difficult to be flexible and to move easily from situation to situation.
Part 7: Cultivate diplomacy
Be focused and dynamic. Keep your personal details to yourself.
- Don’t take sides
- Know when to keep your opinions to yourself
- Be conciliatory
- Never lose your temper
- Never get personal
- Know how to handle other people’s anger
- Stand your ground
- Be objective about the situation
- Identify the people who count
- Know the favourites and cultivate them
You have to earn being a favorite, instead of worming your way in.