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Corporate America Hustle

I would say about 25% of the people I know love their jobs.  They may not like little logistical things, but for the most part they are happy in their career.  They’ve gotten advanced degrees in their field, they own the company, or they are pretty much content to retire doing “this”, whatever “this” may be.  I also think about 25% of the people I know hate their jobs.  They are working in their current position only until something better comes along.  They pass their resume on to every friend or foe that may be able to get them the hook up someplace else.  They attend job fairs the way some of us attend happy hour, and they have resorted to enclosing a copy of their resume with Christmas Cards and Birthday greetings.  Yes, 25% of my friends hate their jobs!

I guess we’ve all been there at some point.  I once had a temp job that I hated.  By the second day I knew I did not want to waste weeks in that place, so I walked around like I owned the joint and barely did a lick of work.  They did not extend my contract for another week….Thank God!

I’ve also had some bosses that I didn’t like.  There is nothing like working for someone that YOU KNOW is incompetent?  Throughout your workday you are wondering who they are blackmailing to stay on the payroll because no way are they qualified to hold the position they have. There is so much foolishness involved in day to day Corporate America.  You’ll never win, so sometimes the best way to make it through is to realize it’s a Hustle, and work it as such!   

There are about 50% of us that realize Corporate America is the ultimate Hustle!  We know that by it’s mere design (CEO, CFO, Middle Management, useless HR Reps), it’s set up to keep you down. We work because we have to, and we do a good job for the man, all while getting our hustle on. (Sidebar: no disrespect to the people working in HR that actually get the job done!)

Ask yourself three questions.  If you can answer “yes” to at least two of these, you are successfully working the Corporate America Hustle, and I would say you are among the 50% majority.  We may not love our jobs, but we aren’t two overtime shifts away from going postal either!


1. Do you have a crew?

Even the worst job is more bearable when you have a friend or two to commiserate with.  I once worked on a team with a lunatic manager.  Collectively, 80% of the people on our team thought she was a nut.  We had a common bond, and together we were able to get through the misery.  Our shared disgust for our manager served as an exercise in team building.  We would make fun of her behind her back. (We called her Prancer, although in retrospect we should have called her Tiny Tears because she would cry at the drop of a hat).  As a matter of fact, we made fun of a lot of people.  There was Prancer, Vixen, Big Shoe, Pound Cake, Queenie, and The Three Little Pigs.  I could go on and on, but the point is, find someone in your office that thinks like you!  Having someone to gossip with will make the workday go a lot faster.


2. Do you make the system work for you?

Do you ever feel like there are not enough hours in the day?  There is laundry to be done.  Kids to feed.  A Boo to take care of and all of that…but from 9-6 while you are “working” try to get some work done.  Stay on top of your online banking.  Schedule your hair/nail appointments.  Call your mother.  Catch up with old friends via your personal email address.  Caution: do not give everyone your work email address.  Some people have no sense and will send mess to your company address.  If the firewall doesn’t catch it, the snitches in IT will certainly have you doing the walk of shame right out the front door.  When making the system work for you, take advantage of the free internet and free long distance, but don’t go overboard.  Stay away from porn, don’t over do it on the free office supplies, and don’t spend your entire day calling your family in Jamaica! Believe me when I tell you; the over zealous brown noser in the cube across from yours will drop a dime in the next staff meeting.


 3. Have you mastered the “get back”?

 In what should be an eight hour day, most of us probably do about four hours of real work.  Talking to your crew in the break room, and “making the system work for you” does not count as real productivity.  In spite of all the time we spend slacking most of us will still get HEATED if we are asked to stay one minute past our normal departure time.  How dare they ask me to work an extra twenty minutes and miss my traffic window?  That’s okay.  I will give them twenty minutes today, but tomorrow I’m coming in late and taking a two hour lunch!  Being salaried has it’s benefits.  Your check looks the same regardless of how much overtime you do, so why bother?  Please don’t fall for the Comp Time hem up!  They ask you to come in for half a day on Saturday and in exchange they will let you take an extra vacation day down the road.  An extra vacation day is the ULTIMATE SET UP…..when you come back all your work will be waiting for you, so in actuality you didn’t get a vacation from anything.  Your manager just got a vacation from the dirty looks you normally give her when she asks you to do something.  With you gone on that extra day she was able to pile the mess into your inbox without you noticing.  If someone offers you comp time, say “no thank you, it’s not necessary”.  You’ll look like a team player and in the mean time you can get them back by sneaking out early and piling on a few two hour lunches when no one’s looking!

As you can tell by my tone, I am so over Corporate America.  I have watched people climb the corporate ladder clawing and scratching for “titles”.  What does it all mean?  So what you are the VP of this or Special liaison to that….they will fire you just as fast as they will fire the peons you stepped on to get where you are.  Do not let Corporate America get your pressure up. Unless you own the company, they have no love for you.  The children you raise, the family that supports you, and the friends that have your back should always mean more to you than the title on your email footer.  It’s a job, and should not define who you are. Have you mastered any of the components of the Corporate America Hustle?  Are you working in Corporate America, or is Corporate America working on you? 


August 2, 2007 Posted by | Career, Society | 5 Comments