When you think of office politics books, most will focus on the negative aspects of working in a corporation, and advise you on either spending as much time away from your office as possible, or too much time in your office. This is where ‘Office of Cards’ is revolutionary. Davide Cervellin understands that getting your first job comes with a number of challenges, the first one of which is learning how to navigate the corporate environment. However, Office of Cards doesn’t recommend you do a Leonardo DiCaprio from the Wolf of Wall Street, or tell you to make millions and stomp all over those who get in your way circa Meryl Streep in the Devil Wears Prada.
Davide’s approach is candid, down to earth, and very much set up in a way that not only guides graduates in understanding their new workplaces, but allows them to ask Davide for advice. His tips – phrased in the way of corporate truths are hashtags that encourage you to interact with him, send him your views and takes of the ideas, as well as coming up with some of your own!
Other than authoring this book, he is no stranger in navigating office politics, working at large corporate powerhouses like eBay, PayPal, and Vodafone.
There are four corporate truths Davide believes to be crucial:
You didn’t really see the Red Wedding episode coming – and for quite a number of your time working in a large corporation, things will be just as unpredictable. The larger an organisation, the more hectic, strange, and outright random your tasks can seem; this is normal, and expected.
You don’t have to do much more than read the news to see that in fact, most corporations will be unfair. Davide himself admits that he’d done quite a few jobs where things felt unfair. However, this truth pertains to most, if not all, large organisations. Moving from organisation to organisation and thinking that you will get all the credit and sensible hours you deserve will be strenuous and inefficient, and it’s more times than not actually worth it to try and make the most of the job you have now.
The way decision making is handled is down to what everyone agrees on in corporations – which can be frustrating. No matter what it seems like, no one single person makes independent decisions for the company – in the true spirit of democracy, collective decision making can be hard and often frustrating – but you’re all in it (quite literally) together.
The reality of your interaction with another colleague or a superior will not be shaped by what you think you made of it – it will be shaped by what they perceived of it. Once you understand this, you can navigate this, and make the most of your interactions with others at the office.
Learning these corporate truths is not meant to encourage cynicism or defeat to an oppressive world order – your time in any job will be what you make of it, what you put into it, and how much effort you dedicate to making it a positive learning experience.
These truths are designed to help you navigate your surroundings and be happy where you are, because there is a lot to be happy about when you play the game correctly: working the 9 to 5 has never felt so good.
Davide Cervellin is an analytics leader, former eBay, PayPal, Vodafone employee, and author. His book ‘Office of Cards’ is available on Amazon