It is a special moment when we look back at the past 12 months and introspect. Have we done well for ourselves? Did we make more money, earn greater responsibility, win greater acclaim, make more money, enrich our employer and, most importantly, make more money?
But this is also a time when we look at the year ahead. 2011. Will this be the year when you finally become vice-president? Or find that your true calling in life is not in sales and marketing, but in running a cafe, or becoming a relationship manager, in a bank, for high net worth individuals in Gurgaon?
The body and mind tingles with anticipation and massive Christmas party hangover, respectively.
So this week, Cubiclenama has decided to be even more helpful than usual. We know that all of you are in the process of drawing up your new year resolutions. For example:
This year I resolve to avoid any more ‘late-coming deductions’ from salary. I will arrive before 9:30 AM every day. Failing which I will leave my swipe card with the morning shift security guard who will do the needful.
But how do you know what resolutions to make?
Fret not. Here at Cubiclenama we have trawled through 12 months of cutting edge scientific studies on the workplace. From these we have picked up five important results. And then converted them into resolutions.
Resolution 1: I may be a sheep in the cubicle, but I will be a tiger in the negotiation room
A study published in the Journal of Organizational Behaviour said employees who demanded pay raises outright actually made more money—$5,000 a year on average—than the ones who were polite and nice. In addition, the Sunny Deol types seem to earn more perks like cars and phones.
Next year stop being Mr/Miss Nice Guy/Girl. Go into that annual review all guns blazing. Tip: Watch Rajni songs on Youtube for added confidence boost.
Resolution 2: I will leave my creativity at home when I go to work
Notice how people in HR always tell you to be creative in the workplace?
New research from Cornell University, to be published in 2011, indicates that creativity reduces your chances of being promoted. The Business News Daily quoted researchers who discovered that creative people were suspected of increasing uncertainty and upsetting status quo.
Illustration for reader benefit:
Pre-resolution with creativity: “Maybe we can restart the ERP server by hacking into the MBR files and then cloning the active directories from our back-up DMS repository in London.”
Post-resolution without: “Maybe we should lean the ERP server to one side for five minutes. Shake it. And then start it again.”
Resolution 3: I will make every attempt to harness the evil within me
In October, the UK’s Telegraph reported dark findings by the University of Nebraska. The study said that expressing certain dark traits in the workplace enhanced a leader’s ability to command. These include volatility, detachment, passivity, arrogance, manipulativeness, being overdramatic, eccentricity, perfectionism and dependency.
The story doesn’t say if subordinates should act this way as well. Personally, I would only recommend such behaviour with reportees. And if you are at the lowest rung in your organization, then you should do this to your customers.
Resolution 4: I will strive to be transferred to HR or marketing by next Christmas. At least for a few days
Are you one of those who dread office parties? Do you go there only to return home with platters of chicken tikka secretly deposited in your bag?
It appears the problem is with the department we work for. A recent survey of 2,500 office workers in the UK, conducted by a company called Business Environment, revealed that people in recruiting and marketing functions enjoyed office parties the most. Charity workers and retail staff hated them.
Now I know what you’re thinking: How are newspaper parties like?
I don’t remember.
Resolution 5: My cleavage is not safe for work
It is official. Sexing it up in office might make you many friends, but it won’t get you to the corner office.
A survey of 3000 office goers conducted in the UK earlier this month revealed that bosses looked down upon women wearing revealing clothes at work. One fifth said they’d fire someone for inappropriate clothing. Half said that they had denied a raise or promotion to someone because of it.
The survey, conducted by an office clothing company, did not clarify whether men revealing their cleavage had a similar effect. Personally, I would restrict it to Fridays.
I hope these resolutions will help you end 2010 and start 2011 with direction, focus and optimism.
See you again next year. Have a wonderful, prosperous new year.
Cubiclenama takes a weekly look at the pleasures and perils of corporate life. Your comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org
To read Sidin Vadukut’s previous columns, go to www.livemint.com/cubiclenama