Wednesday, 26 February 2014

51. 5 Reasons why Corporate Life is Good for You

I am often subjected to people's arguments as to why working in a corporate environment is undesirable, or even "soul destroying". What I rarely encounter, however, are positive accounts of such environments. I hope to demonstrate that working in a corporate setting during the early stages of one's career can prove to be incredibly helpful - personally as well as professionally.

1. Attention to detail is everything

If there's one thing that I've taken away from my (limited) time in the corporate world, it's that attention to detail is absolutely everything. Plotting a property a few millimetres out can completely distort a 100-page due diligence report. Forgetting to proofread a draft contract can lead to dire consequences for a client. Even sending a poorly-worded email to an opposing party can place your entire firm in bad light. Developing a keen eye for detail at an early age can be useful in any working environment, and while early observations of small errors may not be rewarded, they avoid potentially serious disciplinary (or, at the very least, embarrassment).

2. Know what you mean and mean what you say

In an environment that requires the ability to argue your point at a moment's notice, you're going to need to start using your brain more actively and deliberately. Why did you phrase clause 5 in that way? What are the commercial implications of that decision? What questions are you going to have to ask your client, and why? Never before have I had to explain myself so often and completely understand myself at all times. Working in such a "deliberate" environment gives rise to conviction in every move. And if that conviction didn't already exist in you, you can bet that it'll be born.

3. Playing with purpose is as important as working hard

One of the greatest misconceptions of freshly-graduated young people looking for work in the corporate arena is that one must take an all-serious approach to their career: i.e. strict prohibition on 'banter' with senior employers, a reluctance to network (in the loosest meaning of the word) with potential future clients and a feigned stiff upper-lip. You will note that I have entitled this point "play with purpose" and not "play hard". Corporate life has demonstrated the importance of knowing how to "woo" a client (because without clients, there is no demand for our services and so our skills are made redundant) and, in turn, knowing how to "woo" your colleagues and superiors. 

4. Excellence is expected

Particularly in the corporate world, there is no special recognition for great work, because greatness is expected. Whilst this may seem harsh in the first instance, it's the perfect way for individuals to permanently raise the bar on their own standards.

5. It is soul-protecting, not soul-destroying.

There's an age-old cliché which suggests that the typical corporate lifestyle (early mornings and late nights, demanding deadlines, pushy clients and lots of money on the line) can break a (wo)man. Well, there's also an age-old cliché which says that something either makes you breaks you. Working in an environment where there are constant pressures not only enhances all of the soft skills referred to above (attention to detail, strong communication skills, interpersonal skills, significantly high expectations/standards) but also creates resilience. One's soul is in turn shielded from what may previously have broken its carrier's now sharper surface. Where's the negativity in that?

*Is it obvious that I'm a Suits fan?

1 comment:

  1. Love this! So helpful and insightful for my future!