I liked Penelope Trunk’s interview so much that I asked her for more material. Here’s her list of the nine biggest workplace myths:
You’ll be happier if you have a job you like.
The correlation between your happiness and your job is overrated. The most important factors, by far, are your optimism levels and your personal relationships. If you are a pessimist, a great job can’t overcome that. (Think of the jerks at the top.) And if you have great friends and family, you can probably be happy even if you hate your job (imagine a garbage collector who’s in love).
Job-hopping will hurt you.
Job hopping is one of the best ways to maintain passion and personal growth in your careers. And here’s some good news for hoppers: Most people will have eight jobs between the time they are eighteen and thirty. This means most young workers are job hopping. So hiring managers have no choice but to hire job hoppers. Ride this wave and try a lot of jobs out yourself.
The glass ceiling still exists.
The glass ceiling is over, not because people crashed through, but because people are not looking up. Life above the glass ceiling is 100-hour weeks, working for someone else, and no time for friends and family. And it’s not only women who are saying no to the ladder up: Men are as well. People want to customize success for themselves, not climb someone else rungs. So if no one is climbing to the top, the glass ceiling isn’t keeping anyone down.
Office politics is about backstabbing.
The people who are most effective at office politics are people who are genuinely nice. Office politics is about helping people to get what they want. This means you have to take the time to figure out what someone cares about, and then think about how you can help him or her to get it. You need to always have your ears open for when you can help. If you do this, you don’t have to strong arm people or manipulate them. Your authentic caring will inspire people to help you when you need it.
Do good work, and you’ll do fine.
For one thing, no one knows what the heck you’re doing in your cube if you’re not telling them. So when you do good work, let people know. It is not crazy to toot your own horn–it’s crazy to think someone will do it for you. Also, if you do good work but you’re a jerk, people will judge your work to be sub par. So you could say that good work really only matters if your co-workers enjoy hearing about it from you.
You need a good resume.
Only ten percent of jobs come from sending a blind resume. Most people get jobs by leveraging their network. Once you have a connection, the person looks at your resume to make sure there are no red flags. So you need a competent resume and an excellent network. This means you should stop stressing about which verb to use on the second line of your third job. Go talk to someone instead.
People with good networks are good at networking.
Just be nice, take genuine interest in the people you meet, and keep in touch with people you like. This will create a group of people who are invested in helping you because they know you and appreciate you. Use LinkedIn to leverage those peoples’ networks, and you just got yourself a very strong network by simply hanging out with the people you like.
- Work hard and good things will come.
Everyone can put in a seventy-hour week. It doesn’t mean you’re doing good work. So here’s an idea: Make sure you’re not the hardest worker. Take a long lunch. Get all your work done early. Grand thinking requires space, flexibility and time. So let people see you staring at the wall. They’ll know you’re a person with big ideas and taking time to think makes you more valuable.
Create the shiny brand of you!
There is no magic formula to having a great career except to be you. Really you. Know who you are and have the humility to understand that self-knowledge is a never-ending journey. Figure out how to do what you love, and you’ll be great at it. Offer your true, good-natured self to other people and you’ll have a great network. Those who stand out as leaders have a notable authenticity that enables them to make genuinely meaningful connections with a wide range of people. Authenticity is a tool for changing the world by doing good.