I never really considered myself anti-establishment, but talking about corporate office politics gets me fired up. I’ve been out of college and working in the corporate world for four years now, and I have to ask, what is with all the corporate mantras and office politics malarkey? Despite my age I’ve worked at a number of offices (eight to be exact) and at each one the organization tries to force a different set of values upon me. I often dream of the day I’ll be able to work from home and set my own schedule, but for now I do enjoy going into the office.
….Until someone asks me to donate to the baby shower of someone I hardly know or talk to, or when I have to go to the office happy hour, “because everyone else is doing it.” Nowhere else but in corporate America would the excuse “everyone else is doing it” be an acceptable phrase. Haven’t we been taught since grade school to be ourselves and not follow everyone else and set our own path? Odd, especially considering corporate life is all about politics and presenting the best possible version of yourself, even if that’s not who you truly are. For me and who I am, I find corporate office culture makes me less productive, because I spend a lot of time being irritated at the way things “have” to be.
I don’t want to get into all that though. I just want to know if corporate office culture really makes you more productive and more successful in your careers and business life. After all, productivity = dollars, right?
Employees love being at Google because they get a wide variety of ballin’ benefits, like free lunch every day and nap pods to take breaks from their work. Most days Google is the exception to the corporate office mantra, not the ideal, because what they are really saying is, “If you want to recruit and retain the most talented employees, you need to treat them better than anyone else”. Even if you are a small start-up, benefits and employee happiness doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, many employers have seen a rising increase in employee retention by merely allowing their employees a flexible work schedule.
I know I’m young and still have a lot to learn, but from what I see living the company’s mission isn’t going to make me a better employee or work any harder. In my limited experience, people who work hard do so because of their own personal set of values and work ethic, not because they like drinking the office koolaid. Perhaps it is time we as a culture start to rethink the traditional office culture that is created in corporate America and learn to think outside of the box.