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The 10 Commandments of Corporate America

As a veteran of climbing the corporate ladder and surviving post-grad life, I have amassed considerable wisdom and credit card debt that I’m finally ready to share with the world.

Today we will be discussing how to survive and thrive in Corporate America. If you have a cool job that you like, go ahead and stop reading. Let’s begin.

One thing I have clearly not learned is Photoshop

10. Never Work Harder than You Have To

No one is impressed that you stayed until 7 pm.  In fact, no one is even in the office to notice. Do NOT kill yourself for a corporation that will lay you off the second they have a bad quarter. Go home at 5:30 and live your life.  Self > Company.

9. Always Get Receipts

Make sure you have everything in writing to cover your ass. Sure, someone may have said a project is delayed on a phone call or a meeting, but honestly, who pays attention during those? Sure, your boss may have told you you’ll be getting a raise, but everyone knows that all bosses are liars. Emails will save your life. 

8. Perception > Performance

I’m sorry to all nerds out there, but no one likes you. That was harsh. Let me start over. In Corporate America judging ‘performance’ is pretty hard and can be tough to quantify. Most places will promote someone who everyone likes and has a little bit of charisma over a person who is incredible at their job. And if you’re “incredible at your job” what are you doing here? Go to like NASA or something. 

7. Always Take a Full Lunch 

Again alway remember – Self > Company. Take that hour. Leave the office. Remember what fresh air feels like. Sit with your friends in the kitchen. Don’t bring your lunch because that’s for suckers – spending $14 on a sandwich is your treat to yourself for all the mediocre work you’ve been doing. 

Unless your lunch looks like this. Then you should spend your lunch hour re-examining your life and choices.

6. Be the 4th Drunkest at All Company Drinking Events

I’ve said this a million times but you people never listen. You definitely want to drink because drinking is very cool and fun (unless you are doing a dry January that started Sunday like me. In this case you are better than everyone else) But you do not want to be the story of the night when you’re in the office the next day. 

5. Take All Your Vacation Days

And don’t check your email or work on vacation. I hate when coworkers do this – if you don’t take all your days or work during vacation, then I feel like I have to do the same thing. Take all your days, and honestly, take more than you’re allotted. We’re all going to die. Go to Iceland like everyone else on Instagram.  SELF > COMPANY PEOPLE!

4. Speak Up

As discussed in the third commandment, being memorable and likable is more important than doing good work. As such, it is essential to speak at least once in every meeting, even if you are basically just rephrasing someone else’s point. I recommend piping up in the first 10 minutes so all the obvious points aren’t already taken. 

3. Shut Your Mouth

Woah the opposite of the 4th commandment! Holy shit the Content King is full of complexity and nuance!

This is a no snitching newsletter/blog/meme page/sometimes LinkedIn content. This means we don’t spread gossip (too much.) We don’t reply all and throw someone under the bus (unless they deserve it.) And never, ever, ever, ever, ever ask a question in a company wide meeting. Sit the fuck down and shut up you try hard. 

2. Always look busy

Establishing yourself as ‘the busy guy’ is on of the best ways to get people to respect you and leave you alone. It is essential to sigh as much as possible and mutter under your breath about ‘those bastards in marketing.’ If someone asks you to do something, look stressed and say ‘I guess I can try to fit it in.’ You should definitely do it, so you keep your rep as ‘guy who can do stuff,’ but make sure you let them know it was a big dal. People will be afraid to ask you to do stuff since you ‘have so much on your plate.’ 

Very important to give off the impression you are as busy as this guy, but don’t actually be.

1. Be a Normal Person

We are all just trying to get by in this crazy mixed up place we call “Earth.” Don’t be a dick. You’re not in Succession or Wolf of Wall Street and you are not that important. You’re not that smart either. You’re not particular good looking or driven or even well liked by anyone outside of your immediate family, who would not be close with you if you didn’t share the same blood (is this how genetics works?)

Be nice. Don’t be a robot. Give people a break. And always remember that you will not spend your career at one company, so don’t burn bridges. It is a small world of corporate hacks and chances are you’ll either work with someone again or ask them to connect you to someone or see them at some dumb conference about “The Power Of Digital in a Changing Media Landscape.”


You are not curing cancer or even running a meme page for almost 10k followers. Those jobs are important and impact lives. Your accounting job at a mid-size professional services firm could not matter any less. We can’t all be firefighters or astronauts or bloggers trying to make content for an increasingly uninterested audience. Over 70% of office worker don’t feel fulfilled in their jobs. And honestly, that is ok. Sometimes a job is just a job. Don’t take it with you.

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