Today, millions will get hired and a similar number will be summarily fired. Where you stand on that balance sheet of sorts has cosmic implications on your lifestyle, security, career trajectory and self-esteem.
You know that, of course, but what may appear to be a mystery at times are the real reasons some are slated for success and others targeted for the workplace guillotine.
The conventional and comfortable answers generally revolve around the survival of the fittest tenets of Darwinism. This focus on performance sounds right and is politically correct but — and here’s the ugly part — it’s often an abject lie.
Let’s take the wraps off the real facts:
*You get hired and promoted if you know how to act, as in to conjure up a certain persona. Look smart. Exude confidence. Massage the right egos. Volunteer for the high profile initiatives and make a show of it (whether you are good at it or not, well that hardly counts in the spotlight of the star turn).
*Conversely, you get the axe (or at best you get stuck in neutral) if you (hold on, this is really true) work hard, call no attention to yourself and quietly get the job done.
No one will tell you this, but to your management you are a good, fine, honest and honorable member of the Walking Dead.
Yes, that’s often a prescription for a pink slip gliding your way.
*If you are socially awkward, you may have the intellectual brain power to
develop and introduce an ingenious innovation, but you will likely be gone before you can do your magic. Shy, introverted and dull people are almost always disliked and deemed to be a disappointment regardless of their skill set.
Life is not an unfettered meritocracy. More often it is a high stakes version of the dating game.
*You get the fast track to the near top if you are cunning enough to make the person above you feel immensely smarter and wiser than they are.
How can that be? Because all too often, the losers are the ones who move the agenda forward. The winners have no idea of what the official agenda is: they know the real agenda is to make the agenda-setter feel like royalty.
Can you play the game? Will you?