What are the biggest lessons you have learned in the corporate world?

Your mileage may vary, but these are my Top 12 lessons I learnt in corporate world:

  1. Fly one inch below the radar:the less you are noticed, the better. Do your work & get results, but do not seek publicity or engage in politics. Do not join factions, spread rumors or hold grudges. Results will speak for you much louder and longer term than anything else.
  2. Always have a back-up plan: corporate world will sooner or later betray you. It’s not you: it’s them. Be ready and it will not be a big deal. If you think that you are different or irreplaceable and do not need a back-up plan, you should prepare not one but two of them (and check that they are working in case of need).
  3. Choose your boss carefully: if your boss is a loser, your life will be a misery in no time.
  4. Treat the cleaner like you treat the CEO: this is self-explanatory and, incidentally, the right thing to do.
  5. Never do gossip: you are wasting your time (that you should spend in finding ways to achieve results) and you will only attract the worst people around you.
  6. Do not date a colleague: after two weeks it will be a hell and it is totally not worth it (for both of you). Stay sane and don’t do this mistake.
  7. To make real progress,you must leave: those staying too long in a company will be eventually taken for granted, like furniture (this is very important for the point 8 below).
  8. Study Game Theory as soon as possible: you must come to terms that you and your employer have often irreconcilable objectives out of your career. For this reason, you will never get what you are worth or deserve unless you are able to force your employer into a “dominated game(google it).
  9. Do not work overtime unless it is absolutelynecessary: there is a life out there.
  10. Never be too good:in Venice we have an old saying very fit for the corporate world “I tropo boni i magna i cani”(literally: “those who are too good are eaten by the dogs”).
  11. Solve problems:most of the people around you will do barely enough at work, but only a very limited number of people in the company actually manage to solve problems. Problem solvers are golden nuggets in any corporate environment. If you learn how to solve problems you will quickly become essential (this very important for the Game Theory point n. 8).
  12. Be creative: if you are smart and find a way to solve problems in creative ways, do not be afraid to follow that route even if it is different from the past. Laziness and established procedures kill the corporate innovation spirit. Be different, solve problems and you will be rewarded.

Bonus Point:Smile a Lot. A good attitude is more than 50% of the work done. It is incredible how much it helps just to keep a smile on in order to positively impact the workspace and people around you, and still so many people forget to smile for weeks (if not months).