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Son joining corporate world
Old 03-14-2019, 12:01 PM   #1
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Son joining corporate world

My son just accepted a job at a Fortune 500 company and will be moving to Chicago next month. As a physician I have no experience with the culture of that environment and he has only worked for smaller organizations in the past. He will be doing web and social media stuff with a marketing background. Any advice that I could give him? TIA
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Old 03-14-2019, 12:13 PM   #2
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To avoid layoffs due to corporate takeovers he wants to be his bosses most valuable employee. He will do that by turning in his work early with the best possible quality, get to work on time or early and stay late if needed, volunteer to take some undesirable work from the boss, and not talk smack about one or anything.
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Old 03-14-2019, 12:20 PM   #3
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When he is asked to do something that is really not anything he is interested in, do it enthusiastically. It may be a test, or it may be to give him exposure to others. I was up to my ears in cleaning up an organization that I had inherited when I started a new job. Then I got a new boss. Next thing I know is he wants me to be the secretary for an internal organization. I think "I don't have time to waste with this nonsense, I have real work to do". But, since the boss wasn't really asking, I did it anyway. Turns out I met and built relationships with the folks 2 levels up, which helped me immeasurably. Best time I ever "wasted".
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Old 03-14-2019, 01:35 PM   #4
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He needs to learn to suck up to the bosses and back stab his peers. Laugh at the boss' jokes and feint keen interest in his /her every word. Find a mentor who will lead you around the landmines and point out the glass ceilings and roadblocks to advancement. Work like a dog and volunteer to work late and weekends, don't take vacations or attend kids' plays / sporting activities. Save and invest like crazy and check out early, but never mention your intentions to anyone at work.
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Old 03-14-2019, 01:54 PM   #5
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He needs to learn to suck up to the bosses and back stab his peers. ...
I'm sorry that your work life was like this.

As a manager at various levels in a Fortune 500 corporation, I did not see life like that at all. Yes, occasionally we had employees that behaved like that but they were pretty easy to detect and sideline.

One of my Management 101 tenets-learned is that "A good guy can do anything." So attack new assignments with confidence. He will probably not have gotten the assignment of his boss didn't already have confidence.

@Blueskies123 and @HarveyS offer good suggestions.

Two aphorisms I have found to be useful in any size organization:

Do not kick today that which you may have to kiss tomorrow. IOW, never burn any bridges. Do not ever behave badly, no matter how much you want to do it.

The customer may not always be right, but he is always the customer. This is good to remember when dealing with difficult customers. Cheaper than antacids and far better than getting one's ego into the situation.
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Old 03-14-2019, 01:57 PM   #6
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Always add value, otherwise you are just overhead.
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Old 03-14-2019, 02:01 PM   #7
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Find a mentor or two, work hard, be pleasant, develop relationships across organizations, deliver excellent work product always, be clear about what you want, be willing to do grunt work too, stay away from toxic people
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Old 03-14-2019, 02:12 PM   #8
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Since this forum is about early retirement, my advice is to start investing in his future by joining MegaCorp's 401K as soon as he's eligible, and to contribute the maximum they will match him. Then put additional savings into a Roth IRA.

Time is his ally. Next advice is to invest the 401K savings aggressively at his age.

Chicago's a high COL place, but it's very important to live within one's means or even below one's means.
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Old 03-14-2019, 02:15 PM   #9
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I'm sorry that your work life was like this.

As a manager at various levels in a Fortune 500 corporation, I did not see life like that at all. Yes, occasionally we had employees that behaved like that but they were pretty easy to detect and sideline.........
Thanks for your heartfelt condolences. Where I worked, people that behaved like that were not side lined, they were promoted. If you really never experienced this, I'm envious.
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Old 03-14-2019, 02:26 PM   #10
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Get your bowels on a schedule so you can have a morning constitutional before leaving the house. Corporate bathrooms = fail, all of them.
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Old 03-14-2019, 02:33 PM   #11
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He needs to learn to suck up to the bosses and back stab his peers. Laugh at the boss' jokes and feint keen interest in his /her every word. Find a mentor who will lead you around the landmines and point out the glass ceilings and roadblocks to advancement. Work like a dog and volunteer to work late and weekends, don't take vacations or attend kids' plays / sporting activities. Save and invest like crazy and check out early, but never mention your intentions to anyone at work.
Yeah. That's pretty much how it was where I worked too. But it was much more who you were pals with in the C suite than what work you actually did.
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Old 03-14-2019, 02:42 PM   #12
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He needs to learn to suck up to the bosses and back stab his peers. Laugh at the boss' jokes and feint keen interest in his /her every word. Find a mentor who will lead you around the landmines and point out the glass ceilings and roadblocks to advancement. Work like a dog and volunteer to work late and weekends, don't take vacations or attend kids' plays / sporting activities. Save and invest like crazy and check out early, but never mention your intentions to anyone at work.
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Thanks for your heartfelt condolences. Where I worked, people that behaved like that were not side lined, they were promoted. If you really never experienced this, I'm envious.
+100

I can attest to this.

Travelover and I are both early-retired alumni of the same once-Fortune 5 company. Although I only ran into him at Harbor Freight post-retirement.

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Old 03-14-2019, 03:17 PM   #13
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I'd have some advice for him. First is to in addition to just getting the tasks that you have been assigned done timely and with excellence, also try to understand why it is done the way it is done..... understanding the underlying why is a key when you get a situation that is not typical and some form of improvisation is needed. Second, if he just gives a care about his work he'll be ahead of 80% of his peers who are just going through the motions like travelover's colleagues.

Third, but perhaps most important, for the first 10 years of his career try to get the best experience that you can... as long as you're paid fairly experience is more important than $$$ at that point... then later on you can cash in that experience. I saw too many peers change jobs to a job that was not as good experience for them for a 5% increase in pay... and it didn't serve them well in the long run.

Fourth, think like an owner.... when a dilemma occurs and a decision needs to be made... what would an owner of the business want? what is in the long-term best interests of the owners? and lean toward those alternatives.
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Old 03-14-2019, 03:49 PM   #14
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I'd have some advice for him. First is to in addition to just getting the tasks that you have been assigned done timely and with excellence, also try to understand why it is done the way it is done..... understanding the underlying why is a key when you get a situation that is not typical and some form of improvisation is needed. Second, if he just gives a care about his work he'll be ahead of 80% of his peers who are just going through the motions like travelover's colleagues.

Third, but perhaps most important, for the first 10 years of his career try to get the best experience that you can... as long as you're paid fairly experience is more important than $$$ at that point... then later on you can cash in that experience. I say too many peers change jobs to a job that was not as good experience for then for a 5% increase in pay... and it didn't serve them well in the long run.

Fourth, think like an owner.... when a dilemma occurs and a decision needs to be made... what would an owner of the business want? what is in the long-term best interests of the owners? and lean toward those alternatives.
+1000

It's good to be seen. Coming in early and staying late are very good. It's amazing the people you can meet. Get to know people and what they do at the place. Many opportunities are never published and it's good to have "ears".
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Old 03-14-2019, 04:42 PM   #15
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+1000

It's good to be seen. Coming in early and staying late are very good. It's amazing the people you can meet. Get to know people and what they do at the place. Many opportunities are never published and it's good to have "ears".


+100 on this, too. It was well known I’d be the first manager in the office Monday AM and the last out the door late Friday. Always gave the impression I can’t wait to get at it and hate to leave. In between, take whatever time you need for spouse and kids. Thursday’s were my go in late and leave early day but no one noticed or cared. It wasn’t unusual to get a call in the office by a C Suite member late in the day Friday to handle problems because it was well known I was the leader who would still be at work. Experiences and appreciation for dependability proved to be invaluable for next job assignments and promotions.
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Old 03-14-2019, 04:49 PM   #16
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If you are a leader of direct reports whether you like it or not, whatever you say you will be proud of or live to regret it. Talk the talk and walk the walk. Your direct reports will talk about you and judge you so be positive at all times.
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Old 03-14-2019, 05:03 PM   #17
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Thanks so much for the great advice. He's coming home tomorrow and I'll have him read this more than once.
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Old 03-14-2019, 05:40 PM   #18
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Work hard and work efficiently.
Use the concept, "if I took this situation/problem and turned it around and put myself in my bosses' or colleagues' shoes, what would they do logically"? Then the answer will more easily come to you.
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Old 03-14-2019, 06:08 PM   #19
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Many good comments, so I won't repeat them.

From my experience, ATTITUDE is everything (well, most everything, you gotta know what you are doing, too). Be nice, be informed, be on time, be available, and look for opportunities. Early in my tenure with my last employer (about 1 year), I asked if they wanted me to go to the construction site to make sure the equipment was installed properly (at the time we did design/construct projects). They were surprised, but said "sure, go for a few days". In the end, I spent 1-2 weeks a month at the site for about 8 months. I helped a lot, but I learned a whole lot more.

More importantly, career-wise, I was visible to the higher-ups. I got to work with many project mangers and several VP's. After my experience, it then became the norm for the design engineers to spend more time in the field.
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Old 03-14-2019, 06:28 PM   #20
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Make sure to treat people with respect, especially the administrative staff and security staff. They run the place and are great people to know.
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