Ten Ways to Get Ahead at Work: Without Stomping on Too Many People

Ten Ways to Get Ahead at Work: Without Stomping on Too Many People

CultureMay 11, 2013

1. “Get some good knee pads.”
—Judy, 206 Bus Route driver
Clearly, you can’t go sleeping with your boss these days; these things never work out. Unless you can get a quasi-sexual contract or blackmail your boss “Fight Club” style with a hearty severance package and loads of office supplies.

Note: If it’s there and you’re willing to eventually be discovered as the one sleeping his way to the top, go for it. Just make sure you’ll get “benefits” (money or perks, not just bragging rights) and not end up jobless and sued.

2. Talk to everyone at the office.
It doesn’t matter if you have to (yawn) discuss driving kids to soccer practice or someone’s special kid that finally made the honor roll, just getting your name and general friendliness out in the office can go a long way. Also, you both have something in common: work. So find out what exactly your bosses do and impress them with what you do (even if it’s just some bullshit tedious work that means nothing to you). Think about it like marketing yourself. Next time there’s a meeting of the higher ups, comments like, “That (insert your name here) is a real go-getter, I like him/her,” will circulate.

Tip: Beware of the office creep or weirdo. In those cases, keep it to “hello” and “How was your weekend?” Generally, if he has a shady ’stache and pictures of kids that aren’t his own (or related to him) on his desk, proceed with caution.

3. Don’t party too hard with your co-workers.
Sure it’s fine to enjoy some after-work drinks with your co-workers and attend the holiday parties to avoid being cast as a weird loner that never shows. Don’t take it too far; you don’t want to be the talk of the office because you took body shots off of a stranger or because you never back down from a dare even when it involves streaking around the office.

Note: It’s fine to take drugs (not unapproved alcohol) on many jobs if you can handle your shit and still do good work. Actually, it’s relatively quite common for co-workers to exchange pharmaceuticals and weed. Just remember if you need to get high to tolerate work, that’s called dependence.

4. Drink tons of coffee
(or take stimulants if available *see note on No. 3)
People perform better under the influence of stimulants. It’s a fact. Coffee has a whole history of facilitating new ideas and revolutions. Plus it’s proven that drinking three to four cups a day improves brain power. So drink up, and then drink some more. Just be weary of coffee shits and an upset stomach. You don’t want to be blasting the office with your own special blend all day.

5. Get interested in your boss(es)
This goes along with No. 2, but this is geared toward the person in charge. Even if your boss is a bore, asshole or psycho, it doesn’t hurt to act interested in his or her “regular life.” Who knows, you might snag an invite to a private social event in which you get to drink alcohol you can’t afford in a house like none you’ll ever own. If that doesn’t happen, compliment your bosses’ children daily (see photos on his desk) and ask them about their families, you’ll at least not be considered a self-absorbed asshole.

6. Watch “Workaholics,” and do everything the opposite.
Unless you really don’t give a shit, you can’t be having mushroom campouts in the office like Blake, Adam and Ders and still expect to get ahead. Life isn’t a Comedy Central show.

7. Also follow no one’s lead from “The Office.”
Your boss isn’t Michael Scott (or Ricky Gervais, or whoever the fuck runs Dunder Mifflin now) and definitely (most likely) not as dumb, lenient and desperate for your approval.

Note: It’s probably not a good idea to base your co-worker relations on any TV show, unless it’s the “West Wing.” That show was legit.

8. Get to work early, stay late.
Even if it doesn’t take you an extra hour to get going and the last hour is complete bullshit work, the boss will notice your “enthusiasm” and “willingness to go the extra mile to climb up the ladder.” Just try not to fall asleep at the office, unless your company, and boss, are all for late nights and shower-free mornings wearing the same clothes as the day before. 

9. Dress for success.
Buy some sick shirts and slacks (custom fit if you can afford it), iron them and get a fucking haircut that you maintain daily (this includes facial hair and any other weird hair). People like cleanliness. General attractiveness is tied to success. Simply put: Try to look your best. As shallow as the world is, it’s the cold, beautiful truth.

10. Be work appropriate.
Don’t be that guy who says whatever the hell he wants and has no filter. It’s cool and perfect if you have a lax job like, say, a writer for the Rooster, but most “normal” jobs don’t support workers who curse and run their mouths like Tony Montana in “Scarface.” Mostly keep it PG, unless you can afford to get away with PG-13 or you have an HBO-style boss.
—Phil Ziols