Can ladder climbers get ahead without working long hours?

by on
in Your Office Coach

Marie's Question: “Is it possible to get ahead without working 60-plus hours every week and constantly sucking up to executives? This seems to be the norm at my company, and it’s very frustrating.”  —Unhappy Gen-X'er

Is it possible?  Sure. In your company?  Maybe not. Let’s consider what it really takes to move up the corporate ladder:

•    Here’s a little secret that no one ever tells you: Decisions about promotions and other opportunities are not based solely on the quality of your work. Management is actually assessing the value of your contribution, which includes various other factors.
 
•    The definition of a high-value contributor varies from company to company. One organization may highlight teamwork, while another values quick decision-making. Success depends as much on your “fit” with the culture as on the results you produce.

•    Based on your description, to get ahead, your company expects ladder climbers to work long hours and pay special attention to executives. To advance, therefore, you will probably have to extend that 40-hour week and spend more time schmoozing with the higher-ups.

If these informal requirements are too distasteful, your best bet may be to find a more compatible workplace, because you cannot single-handedly change the company culture. You will find more Office Coach suggestions for “managing up” at How to Impress Executives.


See Comments Below

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mohan M Prasad September 23, 2009 at 1:49 am

Trust this piece is not too late in the day

It’s very interesting and I can well empathize with your frustrations.

I have worked in an industry where typically, the quality of your work used to get measured in quantitative terms of time you spend at the work station. More time you spend more you are visible to your seniors and get noticed etc.

Please remember career is not a 100 meter dash ;rather a tireless marathon and you need to be sure of what is going to be your brand( personal Values) as you make career progress.

Do not get carried away by short term tactical tricks. Ultimately you will be recognized for what value you bring to table and people who have no substance and operate through the poor substitute of sucking up will find the career boulders sooner than expected.

If we want to get ahead, we must get this off our head that long hours (where it’s just not required) or sucking up will get us places.

The sustaining model for growth is to “work hard, work smart and to be passionately sucked up in our professional pursuits and goals “Results will logically follow.

Reply

Leave a Comment