Paper Pushing

I have a new literary hero. Though given that my last one was Jeremy Clarkson I'm not sure how much weight this one will carry with you.

Guy Browning is a columnist for the Guardian (a newspaper in the UK ((which is a little country to the west of Norway)). I took his book out of the library - a completely random choice - a book chosen by its cover.

I hope I have paraphrased his column enough to qualify for 'fair use'.

Guy Browning offers 20 top tips for surviving life in the workplace

1 Never offer to make coffee

2 Ignore all emails

3 Get yourself noticed

Getting ahead in business means getting noticed, but working hard makes you almost invisible. Therefore it's a lot better to work hard at getting yourself noticed. What senior management likes more than anything else is junior managers who show signs of initiative and volunteer to do things. Most of the reason for this is that the more junior managers volunteer to do, the less senior managers will have to do themselves. Of course, volunteering for things and doing things are two different matters. Once you have got the credit for volunteering for a project, it's best to get as far away as possible from the project before the work kicks in. The best way to do that is to volunteer for another project.

4 Remember that less is more

You would think that lazy people would form an inert mass at the bottom of an organisation. On the contrary they are found at all levels in business, right up to chair person. The reason for this is simple: when something goes wrong in business it's generally because someone somewhere has tried to do something. Obviously, if you don't do anything, you can't be blamed when it goes wrong. People who sit all day like a lemon, busily straightening paperclips, are therefore the only people with a 100% record of success, and with that sort of record, promotion is inevitable.

5 Treat appraisals as auditions for panto

....The secret is to mix criticism with recognition. For example: "You've made a number of mistakes Martin, but we recognise you made them because you are a total idiot."

6 Get up to speed with the jargon

What differentiates a business thought from a normal thought is that business thoughts have a "going forward" at the end of them going forward. It's also vital that you know that for the envelope to be pushed out of the box and through the window of opportunity, customers should first become stakeholders and then delighted beyond their expectations. In order to do this, top executives will go forward the extra mile while wearing the shoes of the customer. And remember, the customer is king (unless she is a woman).

7 Be nice to PAs

...Remember that for every senior executive on the golf course, there is a PA running the business back in the office.

8 Try not to upset anyone

9 Manage without bosses

The difference between a boss and a high street bank is that a bank sometimes gives you credit for things. ... There are also good bosses who lock themselves in their rooms, have five-hour lunches and leave you completely alone.

10 Steer clear of paper

11 Don't drink under the influence of work

Alcohol and business don't mix, which is why you really shouldn't bother with work if you like a drink. Excessive drinking at work makes you feel sociable, light-headed and confident. In other words, it makes you feel like you work in sales....

12 Dress up not down

Since the collapse of communism, dress-down Fridays have done more than anything else to impair the smooth running of capitalism...

13 Never answer a phone

14 Cycle to work

....Remember, it's no good sitting there in the world's smallest gap feeling all pleased with yourself if you can't open the door.

15 Refuse to go to conferences

Conferences are the business equivalent of going for a curry, in that everyone thinks having one is a fantastic idea, but you always end up drinking too much, talking rubbish and feeling sick for days afterwards...

16 Ignore consultants

A consultant is someone in business with an ego so large it takes more than one company to support it...

17 Find the right person

18 Leave networking to trawlermen

... in business they still say it's not what you know, it's who you know, which is a bit depressing when you have just completed 15 years of formal education. Networkers give you their card within the first 30 seconds of conversation. After about 20 minutes telling you how brilliant they are, ask whether they would like your card. Then return their own to them and watch them slip it straight back into their pocket.

19 Learn to recycle reports

20 Steer well clear of all meetings

...a tightly run meeting is one of the most frightening things in office life. These are meetings for which you have to prepare, in which you have to work and after which you have to take action. Fortunately, these meetings are as rare as a sense of gay abandon in the finance department.



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