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The Guide to Surviving Corporate America

Hi Business Athlete readers! We have some exciting content coming out and one is around corporate nuances. So we figured we would put together a guide to surviving corporate America. While this is partially satirical, it is also partially true. After speaking to friends and family members, and reflecting on my own time in corporate, here are our top three tips:

1. Learn the jargon

This is a must! You’ll be on a call and hear things like, “runway, synergy, mission-critical” and think, what does it all mean? My first year in corporate, I heard so many terms, sometimes I felt like I was in an episode of the office and I was waiting for the camera to pan in on me to catch my reaction. But in all seriousness, whether or not you actually use these terms, it’s important to know them, because the last thing you want is to be out of the loop and confused when speaking with someone. Arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can when it comes to corporate jargon and what everything means.

2. Learn to let things roll off your back

Depending on the type of company you work for, you may encounter some personalities that make it harder for you to get your job done. This can be in the form of gossip, cliqueness, etc. For example, a few years ago, I worked at a company where my coworkers all had their cliques, except me. I did my work and I did it well, but I didn’t partake in the office gossip and chitchat. Because of this, I was constantly out of the know and left out of certain things, like group lunches, and people getting together to get drinks, but I didn’t let that bother me. Instead, I let it slide, because I valued my peace, and in order to be in the know about these things, I would have to compromise this. So instead, I just let it slide!

3. Document, document, document

THIS is a big one. Keep your emails, messages, and every and anything. Some companies don’t require you to basically archive your entire professional career, but there are some places where this is necessary. For example, two years ago I worked at a B2B events company. We had canceled an event and attendees wanted refunds. I asked my supervisor if we could process refunds and he informed me we could. After I processed the 10th refund, he berated me on how he never authorized this and instead I should have given attendees a credit. He also emphasized how next time, I should ask for direction instead of taking it upon myself to make these decisions. Well, I had our email thread which I promptly sent back to him. Let’s just say, I didn’t get another tongue lashing.

We hope these tips help! Let us know your survival tips for corporate America!

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