Thursday, March 15, 2007

Don't be Number 1. Be Number 2.

Gentle reader,

espite what they may say ("our employees are our greatest asset!"), companies don't have your best interests at heart. Trust me on that.

They are there to make money and that's about it.

Not-for-profit companies may be the exception (I have never worked full-time at one) but somehow, I doubt it.

Given that it's a dog-eat-dog world, what can you do to improve your chances at thriving and surviving as an employee commando in the corporate jungle?

Here's a tip that may seem counter-intuitive but bear with me, all shall be revealed...

Don't be Number 1 at work...(even though you definitely have what it takes)
Don't be number 3 at work...
Number 2 at work (no, not in the scatological sense).

If you are number 1, you might be paid more than the others but that comes with some serious drawbacks. You are too smart to fall into that trap. It means...

* You are the person they all turn to in a crisis. This means: LOTS OF PRESSURE
You must be driven and competitive. In other words, STRESSED OUT
You will be expected to lead the critical projects. Or, YOU WILL LIVE AT THE OFFICE

If you are number 3 (i.e. significantly below number 1) you will have the following fun little issues to deal with:

* You will be passed over for promotions and will therefore MAKE MUCH LESS MONEY
* You will be viewed as a bit of a LOSER and will therefore be the FIRST TO GET THE BOOT when the layoffs start.
* You will probably not enjoy your job and so you will be MISERABLE at work

However, if you are #2, or just ever-so-slightly behind number 1, you will enjoy the following benefits:

* You will get to work on some of the most INTERESTING PROJECTS.
* You will be PAID REASONABLY WELL (though, of course, not as well as #1)
You will enjoy a moderate amount of prestige
* You will not have a lot of pressure, since the #1 guy or gal will be taking most of it (haha!)

It's a bit like trailing directly behind Lance Armstrong in the Tour-de-France.

It's similar to following in the slipstream of an 18-wheeler.

Or driving right behind the speeding emergency vehicle when traffic is stuck.

It's almost (but not quite) immoral (you are purposefully holding back your best work)
It's a little bit risky (you might just get promoted to the #1 spot. Aaargh!) but...

Come on, you know it makes sense. You're a savvy slacker.

And on to the quote for the day...

"If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing."
-Anatole France

Until the next time, gentle reader, I remain as always,

Your friend,

Buford Twain

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