There's so much literature available on the market about how to find happiness in running (or working for) startups and small companies that you’d think the only way to be happy with your job is to start your own venture.
Books like the cult hit “The 4-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris aim to persuade you to “outsource your life” and do whatever you want for a year. Double your bank account while you’re at it. Turn off your emails. Persuade your boss that you don’t need to be there. Tim Ferris’ book was published in 2007 and sold millions of copies worldwide, kick-starting an entire industry with guides on living a nomadic lifestyle and getting rich quick.
However, for the vast majority of us, this is pure fantasy.
Increasingly, we value our routines, secure incomes, and time spent with our families.
We accept that we will go through our lives working for someone else – not everyone is going to become the next Elon Musk, and not everyone wants to be.
So, what about us? Can we be happy in the job we have?
Being happy in the workplace, as in any relationship, is the result of a transaction: you give your time, sweat and tears, and you get some money for it, or professional satisfaction, training, or rewards.
The problems arise when you think that you’re giving more than you’re getting, or when you think other people are getting more, despite them giving less.
This leads us to think that a different work environment, a different boss, or different colleagues will solve our problems.
In the past 13 years, I’ve made a lot of mistakes. My dissatisfaction with work affected my personal life, and drove me to keep changing jobs, looking for the one that was going to make me happy.
Eventually, I realised that I needed to learn more about myself and others. If I wanted to have a shot at success in life, I knew I needed to improve the way that I dealt with people and with challenging situations – whether in the corporate world or elsewhere.
These lessons inspired my new book, “Office of Cards” – a survival guide for the corporate world. I outline strategies and techniques that I believe would have prevented me from making some of my past mistakes, and will help to prevent me from repeating them in future.
Here are my three rules for winning in the corporate world.
Play The Long Game
Getting the things that you want or need from the corporate world will take thought, planning, time, and hard work. Forget about the here and now, or instant gratification.
Own Your Life
The very first thing that you need to do when you decide to look for a job is to think about who you are and what you want in life.
If you don’t know who you are, then you can’t know what you really want, and you’ll have even less of an idea about what will actually make you happy.
Make No Enemies
In a corporate environment, enemies kill ideas and careers. Even if you think a person is powerless, you don’t want them as an enemy.
Finally, if you don’t get enough satisfaction from the work you do, if you feel angry that the workplace is unfair to you, then it’s up to you to change things.
It’s not your manager’s – or your company’s – responsibility. It’s on you to act. Even when you are not the problem, you can be the solution.