The first bit of advice I want to impart is simple. When it comes to qualifications, do something vocational. Have a career in mind, look at the things you need to move into that career and enjoy it once you get there. Now, I’m not saying that it’s all going to be rosy. Jobs never are, no matter what your chosen career path is. The other positive thing about vocational jobs is that they’re pretty good for job security. Granted, it’s not 100% secure but it’s generally going to be a service that’s needed.
When you look at the job market these days, it’s completely saturated with office jobs. That shouldn’t come as a surprise because I’d imagine the people studying vocational degrees is dwarfed by people studying things that won’t have a job at the end of it. That’s naturally going to lead to office work and when you consider the scale of the companies that we have presently, the variance of roles they can offer looks extremely appealing, not to mention the experience those roles can provide.
I work in an office myself and I’m the embodiment of everything I’ve mentioned above. I probably haven’t painted things in the best light so far but I can say that I’ve found my current role extremely rewarding. I’ve become more experienced in certain areas, adapted and honed my skill set and learned new skills that I didn’t have before.
I think for everyone and every job, you get to that point and that’s when you start to see how things really work.
Without sounding pretentious, I watch a lot of documentaries. I’ll pretty much watch anything, but my staple seems to be historical and in particular, medieval or middle-ages based stuff. What’s struck me over the last week is how much like the middle-ages working in an office environment is.
The King/Queen – Divine right and authority.
Every office has a centre manager or leader. You don’t see them often but when you do they’re always polite and friendly. Even so, you’re always extremely wary of messing up and having that error flagged into said manager. At the end of the day, they have a job to do but you know they’ll pull no punches if something isn’t right. If you see them walking towards you, you start to behave if you weren’t behaving already, you attempt to look busy if you were being idle and you always start to wonder what the reason could be if you’re summoned to meet them.
This power doesn’t sit with one person alone because everyone has a boss. Whoever the highest work level in the office is, this applies to them and the more authority they have, the more extreme your safeguards become.
These guys report directly to the King or Queen. They’re generally happy in their role, the salary is enough and they enjoy the level of responsibility they have. You have more interactions with these guys and they’re your direct link to the people in power.
If anything needs to be fed-back or changed, you go to these guys. They take it to the next level and either things change or they don’t.
The Generals report to the Lords. These are also the people that you report to. They’re always there to support you (or not, depending on the person), they deliver the difficult messages because they’re on the front line with you and they help to develop you into fine, upstanding soldiers.
Every office has at least one person like this if not more. With the level of delegation that goes on in most jobs, if something needs to be signed off before it goes any further, you run the risk of the credit being taken by someone else.
Sometimes, you’ll get 75% of the credit but the remaining 25% is something you might have given up without even realising you’ve done so.
The Thomas Cromwells
These guys are all about rising to the top. They start in modest surroundings, normally at the bottom of the office food chain. From the start, they show intelligence, drive and an understanding of the business or organisation. They learn who the right people to learn from are, how to challenge or push back on certain things and what needs to be said and when.
At the start, before they gain a little bit more power, they’re yes people. They need to show that they’re flexible and willing to adapt to change. That’s all part of the larger strategy though. Before long, they’ve progressed quickly to a position of authority and hold some strong sway in the councils of the powerful.
It’s business and business changes. Decisions need to be made for the benefit of all and these decisions will be made in the councils of the powerful. These decisions will be explained to us and before long, we’ll see the benefits. Hopefully.
For now though, we’ve broken away from the Catholic Church and we’re creating our own religion. Get used to it.
Offices always have clicks. Certain people are loyal to one person and others to another. Gossip will be shared and ‘FYIs’ will be emailed to make sure your faction has the upper hand. It’s office politics at its best. It’s the ongoing war that has no hope of an end.
Like I said, I like my job. I understand my role, what’s expected of me in that role and the impact it has. I’m not blind to the way offices work though and that understanding keeps me sane and offers me the chance to laugh at the environment I work in.
This happens in every office too, I’d wager. It’s not necessarily a bad thing either. It’s simply an extension of society into the work environment. If anything, it gives us a kind of survival instinct. An understanding of our environment and what we need to do to survive in it. That, my friends, is invaluable.
So if you’re not going to get some vocational qualifications and decide upon some other subject, you may well end up working in an office. If that’s the case, it’s off to the blacksmith with you!