User Tag List

12 Last

Results 1 to 10 of 12

  1. #1
    Permabanned
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    MBTI
    IT
    Posts
    147

    Default Surviving in the working world..

    Alright,

    So this morning I woke up with a great fear, and so I've decided to make a post here. I've worked at two companies (internships) during college, and one thing I have noticed is a general worry in the hearts of many of the employees. That is, they are constantly on guard watching what they say, watching how they act, making sure their image is presentable, and making sure that they stay informed about their line of work. Now, I expected this to some degree-- I mean, you do have to know what you are doing, right? But the extreme to which these people were "on guard" disturbed me a little bit. I was afraid to ask/probe around to see why these people were so on guard, and so now that I've remembered about these dynamics, I figured I'd get some advice here.

    Now, my question: is the above level of _-- what is necessary to survive in the working world? Is getting along with fellow team members, without hiccups, THAT important in keeping your job and moving along? How do quiet folks (like myself) get ahead? How do quiet people avoid being overworked, or being given the blame when things fail? More generally, how do people ensure that they aren't the scapegoat when a project lags or fails? Assuming you are intelligent and well-informed as it relates to your profession, how do you prevent being seen as incompetent? How does one maintain a high level of productivity, without burning out (some people do it naturally, but other have to learn--for those others, how did you learn)? How do you prevent yourself from being walked over?

    I mean, does anyone have any advice for a (soon to be) new grad about surviving in the working world? What should I expect? Why? What should I do to improve myself? What are important things (other than programming ability, since I'm a programmer) that I should be sure to have developed well?

    I can ask a million questions, as I'm so very uncertain about what awaits me, but pretty much I'm just looking for advice. I've always, on my internships, set my primary focus on learning technical details, and striving for technical excellence, but now I'm realizing that there may be much more required in addition to technical ability, and that since I'm retarded in any area not related to programming, I might be screwed.

  2. #2

    Default

    The tech industry is generally replete with individuals with high levels of anxiety.

    Even when companies are doing well, they're looking to cut. Unless you work in an emerging market (and even there, they can be task masters since tech jobs pay so darn well).

    This will likely continue till workers in India, China, Mexico, the former Soviet Union, start getting comparable pay to U.S. and the West.
    ----------
    Anyway, don't be like me. The following is based on someone in the early (at least what I consider early) years.

    If something seems wrong with your work situation, it is better to take care of it sooner rather than later. If it means meeting with particular people to understand the issues (personal or otherwise), it is better to do that early.

    Never get lulled into thinking that your "quirks" will be tolerated because of proven skill. A simple org. change, or bosses that are not on site, may render your individual performance (unless you can brag well) as being totally inseparable from your work-group.

    Along these lines, keep your teammates motivated and successful while you succeed. Lay-offs tend to be results of sweeping group-level decisions and project cancellations rather than poor performance (unless you are a real poor performer).

    Keep abreast of what projects, initiatives, are crucial and growing for the company, and try to make sure you are on those projects. Again, project cancellations are more likely to lead to job-loss than individual poor performance.

    When it comes to ramping up on new technology, pick things that will be on the road-map in the future (don't speculate though, use company road-maps), instead of what is popular now. You may otherwise find yourself ill-equipped to handle cutting edge problems.

    Leave sinking ships early rather than late. It gets hard to show a good performance record with absent bosses, unclear/unimportant objectives, lack of feedback, and no known customers.

    If you think your job is to do something unimportant, it may be time to leave. Staying too long can make you bitter, and make it harder to leave.

    Try as often as possible to work at the central site where work is being done. For some reason, cultural barriers develop cross-site (even between sites in the same country). You will have faster access to information, better feedback, and more influence on direction at the main site.

    Look for jobs that have built-in training programs, tuition reimbursements, etc. This way, even if everything else is bad, at least you are still learning new skills.

    Keep a sense of humor. You are about to work in a Dilbert cartoon.

    Be proactive. This sounds cheesy, but I think it is good advice. My work situation collapsed on me when I decided to let things simply take their course, rather than actively becoming aware of the dynamics and trying to do something about it.

    It may not be that bad to take a management track when given th opportunity. I am not sure about this, since I rejected my first (and only) opportunity. But I've seen people who accepted the role and generally advance much more quickly (but they do seem to loose their technical abilities).

    Quote Originally Posted by mysavior View Post
    Now, my question: is the above level of _-- what is necessary to survive in the working world? Is getting along with fellow team members, without hiccups, THAT important in keeping your job and moving along? How do quiet folks (like myself) get ahead? How do quiet people avoid being overworked, or being given the blame when things fail? More generally, how do people ensure that they aren't the scapegoat when a project lags or fails? Assuming you are intelligent and well-informed as it relates to your profession, how do you prevent being seen as incompetent? How does one maintain a high level of productivity, without burning out (some people do it naturally, but other have to learn--for those others, how did you learn)? How do you prevent yourself from being walked over?
    I would like answers to these questions as well.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  3. #3
    Senior Member creativeRhino's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    MBTI
    INTJ
    Posts
    113

    Default

    ygolo,

    excellent advice! and never a truer word spoken in jest -

    Keep a sense of humor. You are about to work in a Dilbert cartoon.
    mysavoir,

    reading dilbert daily is a great sanity aid - in fact in a few of my jobs the same themes were making it look like life was imitating art....

    ygolo's bit about your quirks "being tolerated" is pretty much true - the tolerance has limits, no matter how brilliant/effective you are. All the other advice is good too, but I'd highlight what a lot of that stuff is about - it is about people, power and politics.

    I'm an oldie (late 40s) INTJ female who has spent over 20 years in IT. I've seen it all, mostly survived it (not always unscathed, but always wiser).

    INTJ/INTPs are really key "backroom" folks in IT over the years (my old employer, a big US software company used MBTI stuff quite seriously for many years). In a software presales role I did for about 5 years, I learnt a lot about surviving corporate life for my own career.

    All of ygolos points are about knowing the "terrain" of the employer and the surrounding environment. One of my biggest early mistakes in my career was thinking this was not important! "my work" would be the cause of my success/failure, so I thought.... HA!

    In presales we had to know this for all of our key customers so we could talk intelligently about say, "the price of labour in China" and how it would be impacting their decisions. But more importantly than that is the issue of the organisations real-politik structure.

    Every organisation has a cute organisation chart. Know it, but know that it is only an official construct. Know who knows who and why, who plays golf (or whatever together) who have worked together in early career stages, who belongs to the same clubs, who does lunch together and why. the Org chart may say D reports to C reports to B reports to A. etc. But maybe A doesn't like B or thinks C is incompetent BUT they brought D into the organisation and trusts them the most. D has unofficial power/influence.

    Know what bothers the key people you need to deal with. If timeframes are a nightmare for one then make sure you do stuff that ease their nightmares if at all possible, ditto if somebody is worried about costs. Know the psychology of the individuals and the politcs between them.

    When I worked out I should try this in my own career it was a bit of 'hard work' but it did pay off. I came across as more credible, constructive and effective. One of my colleagues and I had discussed it but he didn't want to try the experiement. He got the chop. I found out later that both of us were on the "wasting list" - but the change in my behaviour changed the perception of me. I wanted to be in charge of my own destiny as much as possible.

    Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" was required reading for sales folks, and I used some of the insights in my own career.

    In the process of this I also had to learn to overcome some of my very INTJ-ish "asocial" aspects. Hard work, but a very worthwhile process that I'm still benefiting from it in my life in general. I'm not so geeky - I use my clues, not just "have" them.

  4. #4
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    MBTI
    ENTJ
    Enneagram
    7w8
    Socionics
    ENTj
    Posts
    5,908

    Default

    Man you already know MBTI and socionics. So when interacting with a person of a given type act like their dual as much as possible. The exception being the ones you will have to work the closest with, in that case luck is what matters.

    Other than that, I have found that male ExTx bosses don't like it when you are particularly productive. Keep yourself at bay and do what they want you to do, avoid showing off, they will likely think that you're trying to overtake you.

    IxFx females are by far the easiest people to work with, even better when they are bosses. In that case being the most productive and competent employee will do the trick; usually that's a pretty easy task provided that you like the job.

  5. #5
    Senior Member developer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    MBTI
    INTJ
    Posts
    117

    Default

    Advice from a fiftiysh exec who over the years has hired a lot of people your age:

    Be friendly.

    Be competent.

    Be a teamplayer.

    And finally: understand that, in a large company, lots of decisions have a political aspect and may seem counterintuitive (or outright stupid) from the purely technical perspective. If you want to work in a corporation, you must be willing to accept this and do what you are asked to do, and not do what you think the corporation should be doing instead. Your turn to lead will come later.

    And most of all: Relax, you will do fine !! This is the most interesting part of your life - so enjoy it!

  6. #6
    Member ps646566's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    MBTI
    INTJ
    Posts
    32

    Default

    Large corporations and organisations are run not for the benefit of their shareholders/stakeholders, and certainly not for the benefit of their employees. They are run predominantly for the benefit of their managements. So there is a self-perpetuating hierarchy which jealously guards its position. It will have developed a specific culture -- fly in the face of which at your peril. This is fair enough in organisations which are successful (if it ain't broke, don't fix it). But in those which are not so successful it will be very frustrating for many employees to see mistakes continually made, key issues not addressed or dealt with, and their own efforts to change things for the better fall on stony ground if they are politically inconvenient to those who call the shots.

    Some personality types are no doubt more suited to this kind of environment than others. Those who tend to question authority, the status quo, or the conventional wisdom will have problems. There two possible answers. Firstly do not work in a medium/large bureaucracy, if you have the opportunity to earn a living in some other way. Otherwise, be philosophical. Accept that you will not change things substantially because there are too many vested interests involved. Do a decent job, and try to meet your own objectives, with an eye to the welfare of the organisation as whole to the extent that you are allowed to. Work to live, not live to work, accept that it's what it takes to earn a crust, and look forward to retirement !

    Employers are using psychological measures like MBTI in their selections procedures -- this is no doubt a major reason why many people, including on this forum, are so interested in it. The concern is that they will try to select only people who are potential 'corporate clones'. Managements preach concepts like 'diversity' but they don't really believe in them when it comes to diversity in thought and approach. Common sense tells us that people are indeed 'horses for courses' and that different types of work require different types of people. All personality types have a useful role to fill somewhere. Enlightened employers will recognise this and use personality testing in a positive way. But others may be using it to try to avoid hiring people who will not readily accept the prevailing culture and status quo, and favour people who will not knowingly rock any boats or put any noses out of joint -- typically to so-called 'stable extroverts'. . Big mistake -- but I'm sure that it happens.
    INTJ bordering on ISTJ

  7. #7
    Plumage and Moult proteanmix's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Enneagram
    1w2
    Posts
    5,514

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ps646566 View Post
    Some personality types are no doubt more suited to this kind of environment than others. Those who tend to question authority, the status quo, or the conventional wisdom will have problems...
    I think there's a way to look like you're going with the flow, question authority and still have some personal integrity. Types that are successful at navigating office politics are often denigrated as manipulative, petty, and two-faced when all they're trying to do is survive like everyone else. What can you do?

    After spending the weekend with my cousin who is a police officer and discussing this very subject with him (and my own experiences), I'm inclined to think this thing shouldn't be shocking at all. I thought that when it goes on in my office it's female cattiness but not so. It's a universal. You're right, nothing else to do but be philosophical about it, decide if you want to get involved. I'm beginning to think it's better to play. The only dubious benefit of being out of the loop is ignorance.

    In my little world, just in the past two weeks, I've known about one person retiring (and how their responsibilities will be dispersed), another quitting (another reassigning of duties), and since I have a friend in IT who schooled me on some changes going on there I've avoided some extra work because she helped me out. My boss got mad at me when she found out (through my big mouth ) that I didn't have to do the same thing she was doing. Another coworker in another department told me there are beginning to monitor our internet usage.

    This isn't info that's going to be emailed to all employees. It's stuff that you know because you know someone. How do you put yourself in a place to know these things? By being a likable person. Not by isolating yourself and thinking that you're going to magically rise above it. You've got to position yourself in a place that you don't seem like an obvious threat so people will trust you enough to tell you things. If you are a threat by all means cloak yourself. Upset as few people as possible and make as many friends as you can and if you can manage to be genuine while doing this, more power to you. People don't give out information to their enemies or someone they want to see destroyed, nor do they give info to someone who's never around to hear it.
    Relationships have normal ebbs and flows. They do not automatically get better and better when the participants learn more and more about each other. Instead, the participants have to work through the tensions of the relationship (the dialectic) while they learn and group themselves and a parties in a relationships. At times the relationships is very open and sharing. Other time, one or both parties to the relationship need their space, or have other concerns, and the relationship is less open. The theory posits that these cycles occur throughout the life of the relationship as the persons try to balance their needs for privacy and open relationship.
    Interpersonal Communication Theories and Concepts
    Social Penetration Theory 1
    Social Penetration Theory 2
    Social Penetration Theory 3

  8. #8
    Member ps646566's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    MBTI
    INTJ
    Posts
    32

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    Types that are successful at navigating office politics are often denigrated as manipulative, petty, and two-faced when all they're trying to do is survive like everyone else. What can you do?
    .
    Yes this is correct. We've all been there to some extent -- you have to play the game in order to survive and to avoid every day at work being hell.

    Nevertheless I would still condemn those who love to wallow in the politics when it is (a) offensive rather than defensive -- ie designed to get one over on others for advantage, rather than just to survive, or (b) involves acting in a way which is damaging to the organisation.
    INTJ bordering on ISTJ

  9. #9
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    MBTI
    ISTP
    Posts
    4,474

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ps646566 View Post
    Yes this is correct. We've all been there to some extent -- you have to play the game in order to survive and to avoid every day at work being hell.

    Nevertheless I would still condemn those who love to wallow in the politics when it is (a) offensive rather than defensive -- ie designed to get one over on others for advantage, rather than just to survive, or (b) involves acting in a way which is damaging to the organisation.
    Unfortunately, politics is life. Everything you do will be political.

    Every situation requires a different answer - there are no hard and fast rules.

    I can say that, in general, you will want to support your boss, never volunteer information that your boss could volunteer and always support your team mates. However, there are times when that will sink you like a rock.

    I can say that, in general, you will want to support your team mates/co workers in any project you are working on. But there are some that will abuse that, some that will stab you in the back and so forth... so that can be dangerous too.

    I can say that, in general, make sure you get your job done as well as you can - and if the environment allows it, do things that help others that are incidental. Reputation is very important here. However, if you are already working over 8 hours, this is just about impossible and will burn you out.

    There is only one thing that I can think of that is universal... People are first motivated by self interest - including you - and only secondly by the rest. ( Edge: A SHORT COURSE IN THINKING ABOUT THINKING — "A Master Class" By Danny Kahneman ) All decisions will be political. You must accept that and move beyond it. You are a political player the moment you step into work.

    It is the nature of organisations to be political. It doesn't matter if it is work, government, volunteer, friends, strata, conferences... it will always be like this and the more you fight it, the harder it will be for you. If you are low enough, you'll be only blamed at worst, and most of the time you'll just be handed work to solve (for the benefit of your boss). But it remains true, just diluted... and will grow in strength as you move up.

  10. #10
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Enneagram
    4 so/sp
    Posts
    6,931

    Default

    Hmm...I'll just write down what's worked for me, and what I've learned - because it's going to vary from one person to the next, due to their different career goals/values. For myself, my main goal is to stay challenged, because I don't like to be bored. And, I have gotten to the point where my work doesn't have to line up with my life goals/passions, because I now have a very pragmatic sense of work -- it's a fact of life, I have to make a living somehow, I thus have to deal with the work world, AS IT IS. (I went through about 3 yrs of being seriously disillusioned though, before I was able to approach it this way). But I am not motivated for status, or money, or working my way up the ladder simply for the sake of doing so.

    - Fulfill all of your job responsibilities, and do as good a job as you can. Ultimately, you are replaceable, and if you're not happy, or aren't doing a good job, they can find someone else who can do a better job, and who IS happier in the job. [so, this also means if you're not happy in your job...it's in your OWN best interest to find something better!!! I truly think there's a job out there for everyone. If you don't like what you're doing, then seek something else. More power to you!]
    - It is much harder to resist one or more of your job duties, than to just accept the reality of it, grin and bear it, or seek another job if you can't stomach the reality of it.
    - Don't let yourself get sucked down into a very negative, cynical work environment (there are certain departments that might be very depressed/unhappy as a whole). Try to steer clear of the people who complain about everything, and are completely embittered about their job, because it's easy to get sucked down into it; once you realize you don't HAVE to get sucked down, you can simply rise above it, so that the negative energy doesn't consume you.
    -Don't be afraid to speak your opinion and question authority (contrary to what others have said??). I have yet to experience any negative reactions to this, and in my experience you gain a lot of recognition, simply because most people are afraid (?) to question. So you stand out, and gain a certain amount of respect, if you speak up in meetings and don't take everything at face value.
    -BUT also learn about the different levels and personalities and politics in your organization, so you know WHO it is appropriate to question, WHO it isn't going to do any good to question, WHEN it is appropriate, and WHEN it isn't. You're not going to get a good feel for this until you've been in a department for a good 6-12 months. I definitely wouldn't start out doing this -- you have to observe for a while, and learn how things work, before you know what the possibilities might be, and how much room you might have to be able to do this. And most importantly, when it's appropriate, and when you're going to go overboard where it could be viewed negatively. I have a coworker who is constantly questioning/doubting everything, so it goes without saying that she'll have an opinion about nearly everything, but over time you grow to 'ignore' what she says, because she's always 'ranting' about the same sorts of things. Thus, she is not viewed in a very positive light, because she's seen as wholly negative, without having any constructive, positive things to say about anything. If you instead space out your questioning, or leave your questioning to the really important things, you'll stand out a lot more, will have more credibility, and will be taken more seriously.
    -Be yourself, but also be aware that in a corporate culture, you're there to get a job done, so you have to be professional
    -So yes, to 'succeed', getting along with coworkers, and having those interpersonal skills, will ultimately be more important -- visible -- than the work you might do. Although obviously it's the combo. But it's more of the interpersonal stuff that will give you the edge when it comes to reviews.
    - If you have the aptitude and are really efficient and get a lot done in a short amt of time, you can use that to your advantage, and you then have the ability to take on more stuff than your coworkers might, so you could be seen as more of an 'asset'.

Similar Threads

  1. Which is more useful in the real world?
    By yenom in forum Academics and Careers
    Replies: 62
    Last Post: 05-04-2013, 03:31 PM
  2. [E8] How do you deal with an aggressive 8 in the work place?
    By knight in forum Enneatypes
    Replies: 26
    Last Post: 07-24-2012, 09:20 PM
  3. [NF] NFs in the humanitarian world
    By Malkavia in forum The NF Idyllic (ENFP, INFP, ENFJ, INFJ)
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 02-19-2010, 11:56 PM
  4. [NT] How do Ps survive in the working world?
    By yenom in forum The NT Rationale (ENTP, INTP, ENTJ, INTJ)
    Replies: 157
    Last Post: 02-19-2009, 07:04 PM
  5. How to quickly type people in the real world.
    By Kleinheiko in forum Myers-Briggs and Jungian Cognitive Functions
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 08-18-2008, 04:11 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO