The No B.S. Guide to Succeeding at Your Corporate Job


by HarSimran Kaur


The fancy suits, luxurious offices, and high-ticket salaries associated with the corporate world make it alluring. And so, many college students make it a goal to work in the corporate space.

That enthusiasm is, however, only for a while. It wears out when those students get into the real world and experience why 39% of American workers suffer from mental health issues.

A year ago, I found myself in a similar situation. My dream corporate job turned out to be my worst nightmare, making me resign within six months. I blamed the system for this setback.

I took another job, thinking I'd finally be happy. Yet, I experienced the same problems I experienced in my first job. This recurrence was the epiphany that made me realize I was the architect of my problems. Realizing this, I decided to identify my weaknesses and strategize on how I could be better.

Thankfully, those strategies worked, and my career in the corporate world has been a smooth ride ever since.

Keep reading to discover these strategies and how to use them to flourish at your present corporate job too.

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Try not to judge by first impression

In my first job, I made the mistake of judging colleagues based on their first impression. I distanced myself from certain colleagues and chose to be friends with others based on how I perceived them in our first interaction.

As time passed, however, I learned that people are not necessarily what they seem at the first meeting. If they were cold when you first met them, they might have woken on the wrong side of the bed. If they were friendly when you met them, that's not a guarantee of friendship. They might be cunning but might have been in a great mood the day you met. A first impression isn't always the true impression of a person.

Once I accepted this fact, I made better alliances at my present job. And these new connections have helped me stay motivated and productive.

Become a team player

During my college years, seeing people post their 'employee of the month' awards excited me. I hoped to achieve such a feat when I started working too.

When I got my first job, I planned to become an employee of the month by investing so much in my personal growth. But within the first month of working, I realized no one cared about that. What matters is my positive contributions to the organization and how well I got along with my team members while trying to make those contributions.

Learning that made me maintain a positive track record and build better relationships with coworkers.

Learn not to antagonize your manager

All organizational departments have dedicated managers responsible for notifying authorities about in-house activities and giving reports about each employee's performance.

I had no idea about that.

So when my manager first mentioned to my boss that I wasn't good at Excel, I automatically assumed he was complaining about me. I was extremely blinded by my assumptions that I didn't notice the company had offered me Excel help. This wrong assumption also made me perceive my manager in the wrong light.

Upon introspection, this truth dawned on me and has since helped me navigate my job.

Companies hire managers to improve staff productivity. Thus, they must report the productivity level of each staff member. To succeed at your corporate job, recognize that your manager's report isn't a complaint but a notification. They are with you, not against you.

Get acquainted with your organization's method of communication

Every organization has a method of communicating. While some use Slack, others are good with Basecamp or email.

When you join a company, try to get familiar with their primary means of communication. This will increase your engagement, thereby making you perform and collaborate better.

Also, don't stay confined to only the general communication channels. Once you have completed any task, always reach out to your manager personally. Doing so will eventually increase your chances of getting promoted.

Be flexible

While many companies, especially startups, appear organized at surface level, their in-house activities are often much more complex than you can imagine. As a result, when you join their team, you get to work on challenging projects outside your job description. Initially, I hated this, and it reflected in my output quality.

When I began to work actively and demonstrated flexibility to handle non-niche responsibilities, I became more successful at my job.

Similarly, you need to be adaptable and willing to work outside your work scope if you want to succeed at your corporate job.

Acknowledge company culture and adjust accordingly

While you might possess a unique work approach, you must recognize that working in a team requires you to assimilate. A team already has methods that work for them. They might not accept your methods, no matter how innovative or groundbreaking they might seem. Forcing your methods, albeit backed by good intentions, might create enmity against you.

Instead, when you first join a company, try to learn their core practices. Study their history. Appreciate what has worked for them. Then adjust accordingly.

Strike a balance between conventionality and creativity

If you're a creative individual, you might be tempted to always bring new ideas to the table. But as a corporate worker, you must learn to be balanced with your creativity.

For instance, if your company is experiencing an issue for the first time, that's the perfect time to offer your unconventional ideas. This strategy works well because even if the idea doesn't work eventually, you'll be in your leaders' good books because you made an attempt.

On the other hand, if your department already has a solution for solving a recurring problem, attempting to create a new, creative solution might not be in your favor, especially when your solution fails and costs your company money.

Demonstrate balance by displaying novelty when the stakes aren't that high. This way, you get less blame and more praise from your team members and upper management.  

What steps have you taken to navigate your corporate job?

Share your go-to tips in the comment section.

About writer

Harsimran Kaur is a Conversion Copywriter and SEO content writer. She specializes in writing copy that converts and engaging SEO content. Harsimarn primarily works with start-ups, small businesses, and entrepreneurs.


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