Five Tips For Surviving and Thriving in The Real Work-A-Day World
From a gay guy who lived and succeeded in it for almost forty years:
Tip # 1: Don’t bad mouth a staffer whether they’re higher or lower than you on a pecking order. One day, he or she may be your boss.
When l first started out in hospital public relations, l handled the employee newsletter, and for my initial issue, l did a story about one of our young, kinda sexy, physical therapists. Both of us in our twenties and just beginning our respective careers, we hit it off instantly.
Fast forward twenty years. My physical therapist had gone for his master’s degree in hospital administration and became our new COO – and my new boss. By that time l had become PR director, and while all my colleagues wondered what made the new guy tick, it was “Hi Ray” to me.
Corollary #1 to this: Try to be positive with fellow staffers. It goes a long way to getting what you want. That doesn’t mean you have to be saccharine or agree with everything they say. You should also sound like you are knowledgeable and can support a position. But too much fighting gets you nowhere.
Corollary #2: Be nice but trust no one. Don’t give them any ammunition they may use against you (even gay guy to gay guy) just because you think they’re your pal. There’s always somebody who will smile to your face but who’s out to get you for whatever reason. Maybe they figured out you’re gay (could wearing your pumps on Thursdays to work have something to do with it?) and they are a conservative Evangelical. Who knows. Or when things get nasty, it’s every man and woman for themselves, which means someone trying to fuck you to save their own ass.
Tip #2: Listen, don’t talk. Don’t try to push how much you think you know on someone more experienced than you. Listen and you may learn something, and making that person feel important – even if they’re an asshole – doesn’t hurt when you need a favor. (See Tip #1, Corollary #1.)
Tip #3: Don’t flaunt or talk about being gay. Unless you’re in a few industries where that’s a plus, or forward thinking companies like Apple or Amazon, homosexuality is still a negative in, for the most part, the very conservative mainstream corporate world and worse can lead to bad things happening. (See Tip #1, Corollary #2.)
One guy, degreed up to the ass, was a Iittle loose about his sexual persuasions on the job, and when the COO position became open, a position he should have had hands down, he was rejected. According to the rumor mill, the Archbishop of New York was quoted as saying, “I don’t want a faggot running one of my hospitals. “
Tip # 3 Don’t think your looks or gift for gab will save you, or make up for hard work, knowledge, experience or tricky office politicking. They won’t.
Tip # 4: Always take on tasks and projects beyond your job description. That’s not only how you learn new skills on the job you might apply later, it also makes you more valuable to your organization. When things get bad and cuts need to be made, you’ll more likely to survive the slaughter.
Tip #5: Adapt to a changing corporate culture. Over my thirty years as a hospital executive, l had a dozen CEO’s and COO’s, each as different as their hairline, and each with his own managerial style of working. I had to adapt to them, they didn’t adapt to me. And l don’t care how valuable you think you are, if you don’t adapt, or fight the tide, they’ll find a way to unload you for someone who’s on their wavelength – even if that someone knows shit compared to you Ditto to being a team player. If your principles become that comprised, it’s time to move on.
If I remember any other pearls of wisdom to save your ass on the job – after all I got off the public relations merry-go-round in 2002 at 55 and have been semi-retired/retired for 16 years now, so I guess I did something right – I’ll pass them on you.