5 sly habits to survive in a corporate environment

“How the hell did she got away with it?!”

“How on earth did she acquired such a position?!”

“How by good god is such conceit and arrogance justified?!”

Well, wonder no more, for here comes the definite edition of the 5 SLY HABITS FOR SURVIVAL in a corporate environment.

Mind you, they’re for survival, not success.

For success in life and in business is not guaranteed, not guaranteed at all.

Actually, most of the success stories we hear and admire, from-zero-to-hero kind of legends, are mostly a posteriori justifications and a typical case of circular reasoning.

“I succeeded, hence what I did must have been a successful strategy.”

It’s like saying “I open my umbrella, hence it rains.”

This brings to mind a funny anecdote from Ancient Greece.

When one god-fearing believer exclaimed to a sophist that:

“Here, my good man, in that very temple of Poseidon, there are numerous offering of people who have been saved at sea by him.”

On which the witty philosopher pointed out:

“Yeah, for sure, but there are none by those who were not saved and have been drowned.”

The point is that dead men tell no stories, and no motivational quote has ever been written by those who have failed ‒ no matter their hard effort.

Anyway, we digress. Back to our lovely caterpillars and their exotic corporate environment.

Customer- or product-centric strategies is for losers; ego-centric is all you need.

There is no product, no customer, other than you.

Put yourself first and above everyone else, and you will do fine.

If your ill-based grand idea you have for your value is larger than the earnings of the company, then, yeap, you are an important asset and everyone should worship you.

Remember: You are one of a kind, with many unappreciated merits and no vices at all. People envy you, for you stand so much higher above their meagre lives.

After all, if you don’t think great about yourself, who else is going to do it? That’s right: no one.

If you wait for people to appreciate you on the basis of your character, your attitude, your quality as an employee and a human person, sorry, but you’ll wait for a very long time.

And not because you don’t have any quality as an employee or human person ‒ god forbid.

Instead, you must impress those good qualities of yours on them.

You must literally hammer those qualities into their understanding.

Only then will you be able to…

Smile, kiss, hug, and bite them on the back.

Democritus poetically said that:

“World is a stage; life is an act.”

And he went on to describe the human condition as such: “You came, you saw, you departed” , but this is of no concern to us here.

So, act like it.

Meet your clients, your colleagues even your… good friends with an act of pretentious amiability the world has to witness since Scar congratulated the proud Mufasa for his newborn son and heir.

Weave your web throughout the company, so you have trusted informants in every post.

If you object that no one is to be trusted in those turbulent times, dismiss the idea as useless.

All have their usage if only you can leverage them appropriately.

Remeber: The bigger the smile, the more susceptible the victim. The more jubilant the greeting, the more accessible the target. The warmer the embrace, the more deep can the dagger reach.

Schopenhauer put it better when writing about good manners, although in a slightly different context.

I do not remember his exact quote, so I’ll paraphrase:

Good manners are like warmth to a candle. Only through them can you bent people to do your bidding with no or little resistance.

But, in our case, make no mistake, good manners will be considered a weakness.


Behave like a cardinal, even if you are a verger

You must put up an attitude if you want to be taken seriously, don’t you?

Act with a pinch ‒ a rather big pinch of grandeur, a pinch of snobbery and a pinch of affectation.

That’s the recipe for success.

Be patronizing and try to manipulate everyone. Pretend you are ‘big name’ and people will treat you as a ‘big name’.

Remember: Most people won’t even bother standing up to a bully, ’cause they do not really care for the company.

They run the rat race not because they are rats, but because they want some cheese for themselves or their families.

Therefore, they’ll let the management deal with that kind of shit.

And if management doesn’t, then, well, that’s the way they want it and that’s exactly the way they will have it.

So, go for it: try the nerves of your colleagues and find out how much are they willing to retreat and succumb to your advances.

Being a bully is always a quick way to have your way. Leave dignity for those who think they can fill their plates with it.

But you know better: dignity is a fool’s prize.

And speaking of dignity, or rather the usefulness for the lack of it…

You can’t argue with a cry-baby; just give her the damned candy already

This one is easy and come as a second (or a first) nature to most.

Complain about everything!

“It’s not my fault; humidity in this part of the office is excruciatingly high and I cannot concentrate.”

“Why did Helen took that desk beside the window? I deserve it and I should have it, along with a personal printer and a free donut coupon.”

“You know what, boss? I’m a bit disappointed, ’cause, you know, with all due respect, but I feel that my efforts are not getting the acknowledgement they deserve.”

“Since Martha took a leave, I am the only one replacing her everyday tasks, and that puts a lot of stress on my schedule and my work.”

Remember: Make yourself insufferable by opening your little chatterbox and start prattling about how difficult is your situation and how ungrateful the company is towards you and your sacrifices and blah blah blah.

Then, in order for you to shut the fuck up and stop polluting the air with your annoying voice, your demand will be gratified and you will emerge victorious.

Also remember: There is no such thing as exaggerating your own importance. You are the best and you must never get tired of stressing that exact point over and over again, in every occasion.

And if there is no occasion, make one or just start praising your accomplishments without further notice.

That will get them!

Lastly, on that matter, deny every accusation; repeat and insist on any advantage and benefit.

After all, you did nothing wrong…

Red tape is your friend: if no one knows how it works, you can’t be blamed for not working.

Red tape is the tape that holds your position well together. Do not discredit it.

Especially in large companies, where the number of departments almost equals the number of employees, there is no way to accomplish a task without involving at least three departments.

Learn to manipulate the proceedings of the procedure itself and you will be both invisible and invincible.

Invisible, because in the complex impersonal procedures there are no persons; just checkpoints in a long chain of subroutines and cross-referring.

Invincible, because no one could ever blame you for anything, if you just filled in the appropriate form as you should have done according the well established procedures.

“It’s not my fault! I did open the purchase requisition in the system, but the Procurement Dpt didn’t match the description with the Accounting Dpt which failed to inform the analyst for the correct entry.”

“It’s not my fault! I did proceed with the budget allocation, but the Accounting Dpt has debited the sum in a wrong segment, and thus the Accounts Payable Dpt cannot proceed with the payment.”

A work of art, indeed, and of much convenience to an aspiring caterpillar as yourself.


Follow those 5 habits, and you will surely survive.

Survive long enough to see your state of affairs thrive and your position being established as an eminent member of the organization, with high value and no worth at all.

If, dear reader, have any other habit to contribute, please do so in the comments below.

The list is by no means exhaustive.


PS ‒ On retrospect, those 5 sly habits for survival in a corporate environment can come handy in every human environment.

After all, human nature remains the same in all fields of activities.

And what a charming nature it is!


Credits: Photo by Luke Brugger on Unsplash