Rule 81: Milk the system

Billionaire Businessman, Bolu Akin-Olugbade (R) with   Pension Expert, Chief Abiola Ogunshola 

If
you are going to move on up, you had better know the ropes.  Rule 80 teaches you how to
understand the system – and how to milk if for all you’re worth. This rule will
have you out managing the management because you’ll know the system better than
they do.

    ….And know all the unspoken rules of office life


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There
are a whole heap of unwritten rules in any work place.  These might be as simple as who is ‘allowed’ to use which
lift/canteen/lavatory/corridor/outside smoking area, or as complex as who holds
the keys to the petty cash/photocopier/stationery cupboard/holiday rotas.  
I have often known the strangest people doing duties which no one has
ever given them.  I once worked in an
office where a Swiss translator was in charge of the holiday rotas. Why, for heaven’s sake?

 “I went to work in an
office where the most junior had to take the most senior boss his coffee in the
mornings and the unwritten rule was that this junior would wait while he drank
the coffee”.

You
had to get your holiday approved by her, logged by her and permitted by
her.  But why her?  Whenever I asked I was told it was historical
that the translators did the holidays. 
It was bizarre, stupid, and really off the wall.  My supervisor should have done them, but I
guess he was quite pleased that the translators had taken this ‘burden’ off his
shoulders.  Weird.
If
you have been in your job for a while you should have learnt all these rules by
now.  If new, then these things are
waiting to be found out.  OK, so you know
these rules, what use are they to you? 
Easy.  It’s a bit like the unions
used to be – working to an obscure rule book the management never really
understood or knew.  You will be able to outmaneuver
anyone by knowing these unwritten rules.

“IF YOU
HAVE BEEN IN YOUR JOB FOR A WHILE YOU SHOULD HAVE LEARNT ALL THESE RULES BY
NOW.  IF NEW, THEN THESE THINGS ARE
WAITING TO BE FOUND OUT”.

I
went to work in an office where the most junior had to take the most senior
boss his coffee in the mornings and the unwritten rule was that this junior
would wait while he drank the coffee. 
The junior didn’t ‘have’ to; it was just expected of him.  I was that junior.  For about five minutes every day I had the
ultimate boss’s undivided attention.  I
had the ear of the highest.  I had access
to God.  I milked it, as you might have
guessed.  I got my department head moved
to another department. He was unpopular and I merely mentioned to the big boss
that the department head had certain skills that he hadn’t revealed, but which
would come in very useful in the new department.  He was moved.
(Excerpts from THE
RULES OF WORK by Richard Templer Read “The art of knowing the name for everyone” from The Rules tomorrow on Asabeafrika)









Rule-to-Work Series


















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