Climbing the corporate ladder sounds like such a soul-sucking term, especially with all of the connotations that go along with it. Who wants to imagine themselves milling about a water cooler in business casual attire trying to make small talk and eavesdropping on office drama while fawning to management in the hopes of getting a $10k a year salary bump? Gross.
However according to a career coach named Kendall (@thatcareercoach_) not playing in these office games can ultimately harm your upward mobility plans in the corporate world. She even goes so far as to say that doing great work at your job is not enough in a viral clip she posted online.
The video begins with a question posed by a fellow career-centric social media Influencer, who asks: "What's something you were not prepared for in the corporate world?"
Kendall stitches her response in a video, explaining that being good at one's job isn't necessarily enough to help an individual get a promotion or a salary bump in their positions.
She states that folks who do secure themselves nice promotions or improved title changes are the folks who ensure that the work they do accomplish gets recognized.
Kendall also adds that these same folks are also effective "communicators" and ingratiate themselves with "leadership" while simultaneously playing the game of office chairs in a way that positions themselves in the best spot to receive a promotion.
According to her, being great at one's job can, in some cases, be a detriment, as folks who do this may be relegated to sticking in the same position for quite some time because they're seen as just being good in that one role, intimating that management may not want to lose them for that position.
She says in the video: "How little doing your job well actually matters. Most of the people who are able to move up and who are successful in corporate are people who know how to play the game, who know how to get along with leadership, who are good communicators, and who make sure that the work that they do gets recognized.
She goes on to state: "The people who are great at their jobs are just that: they're great at doing the jobs they are in and as a result, leadership will not promote them.
There have been social media posts that discuss some of the types of phenomena that Kendall addresses in her video, like this LinkedIn piece that questions how being too good at your position may be hindering your progressive career goals and leave you in a place of corporate stagnation.
CNBC also writes that "working hard is not enough to get a promotion," but also offers up strategies for folks who are effective at their job to leverage their on-the-job accomplishments as ground for how to jostle for higher pay and a better role.
The outlet writes: "Experts say having a strong mentor, self-advocating, and taking on roles outside your job’s direct responsibilities are all ways to stand out for future promotions," even including a photo of Meryl Streep from The Devil Wears Prada in order to drive that point home further.
Of course there are probably going to be people who listen to Kendall's words who throw their hands up in the air and think something along the lines of, "Yes and this is why I don't try hard at work, it's all a scam."
Sure, you could adopt that line of thinking and try to skirt by along at your job doing the least amount possible because at the end of the day management doesn't care about you.
But businesses are about making money, and, while it might sound crazy, perhaps doing a great job and then being arrogant enough to call attention to your own work and singing your own praises, if no one else will, could be a great way to call attention to your own value.
And if the company you work for still doesn't want to honor your contributions in a way that seems equitable for you, at least you'll have enough practice to go out and find a place that may appreciate the work that you do and will compensate you more for it. Plus, it's almost always easier to land a position with an employer if you already have one.
This means that if you're already killing it at your current place of employment and have tried getting a promotion and were shot down despite showing some real numbers to management that you're pulling in business, then it might be time to update your resume and start sending it out.