Corporate America: The Totem Pole

I haven’t done an entry on Corporate America in about a month and today’s incident reminded me. If you need to read the first two, click here and here

So I work with this young dude, fresh out of college. Good dude but real antsy at times. He wanted to jump right into work his first week. Said he was ready and could handle it but he, like everyone else, had to go through a “process” before we turn him loose. It’s all preparatory because customers and other vendors could eat him alive. They smell newbies and start salivating. Now he’s at the point where he’s standing on his two own pretty good and is a contributing member to the team.

Yesterday I had to go out of town and because of this trip, the seminar I was supposed to teach had to be re-assigned. So instead of picking someone and having everyone tell me no, I went to my VP and let him pick. Naturally, he picks young dude. I come into the office after catching an early flight home today, young dude sees me and tries to hand the seminar back to me. I say No. For one, I’m not dressed appropriately. Two, he prepped for it the last 2 days so he should do it. Three, my arse should not even be in the office in the first place but I had to pick up something for tomorrow’s meeting. But more importantly, number Four, this will be good exposure to others about the level of his work. I explain this to him and he hits me with the “This is so unfair” and stomps away like a little b-i (as Ms. Roycee calls them – he’s an ofay…HA)

Young dude with the lawyer dad and doctor mom, let me introduce you something in Corporate America. It’s called the Totem Pole a.k.a The Corporate Ladder a.k.a Rank.

The Corporate Ladder is a weird thing cause when you first start out, you’re the low man on the totem pole and essentially you get “shitted” on. But as you climb up that ladder, well, you still get “shitted” on – it just comes in different ways. You know what they say “Shit flows downhill” and until you are truly running shit (i.e. own your own company), this will never change.

The Totem Pole is slippery too. It can be illusive. You may think you’re climbing up the ladder but really, you’re in the same place. Like when they give you more responsibility or manger type work but your title doesn’t say manager and you damn sure don’t get paid like one. That’s an illusion.

To climb up the ladder, you have to be strategic. You have to open your mouth at the right time and say the right words. I’m not saying you gotta be a “yesman” or “Uncle Tom”. I’m just saying you have to learn how to be tactical and a lot of “us” aren’t. We go about things the wrong way, like we’re in the street.

Personally I could give a damn about a title. It’s just a bunch of letters. Yeah it looks nice on the resume but my skills should stand out more than a title. Pay me what I’m worth and respect me and my work and recognize my value to your organization. That’s what I ask for. Companies will give you a title but no pay increase. WTH is that? When they tried to do that to me once, I told them, in these exact words “This is completely unacceptable and I would expect more from an organization and management of such high caliber” It was an educated diss. It fugged their head up but do you think I was ever in that situation again (at that job?)

Now some people let the titles go to their head. They walk around the office like their shit don’t stink and sometimes you gotta get in their ass. Some people take things too far an insult your being and that’s just unacceptable. Then it’s your choice to bring the street out. Otherwise, tactical.

But I wasn’t insulting young dude. I was trying to help him out. But since he wants to suck his thumb and cry in the corner, fugg’em. I don’t have time to babysit. Let him get shitted on.


~ by alwaysfunkyfresh on July 12, 2007.

13 Responses to “Corporate America: The Totem Pole”

  1. lmao @ cry in the corner. there is a dude at my job who always raises cain about a chair. i gave him attitude when he made this girl get up out of his favorite chair (we work around a bunch of desks put together w/no barriers so chairs get passed around all day). he said i’ve been here — years, i deserve to pick my chair. that does NOT give you license to treat other people like trash.

  2. Aww…poor boo-boo! lol. HE BE AIIGHT!!!

  3. I hate anything climbing…over than straddling *ya know*.

    In higher education, I don’t even aspire to be an Executive Vice President or Dean…I don’t want the headaches. I think I really should turn toward other currency than a title. My first supervisor in higher ed. said to me “Higher the level, deeper the Devil”. I have lived to see that to be true.

    At least at the end of the day, I can wash the shit off.

  4. *other than, straddling*

  5. Young bro better get him a poncho and galoshes. He’s gonna get shat on for a while to come…especially with that wack attitude.

  6. Yeah, he definitely sounds like a lil bia bia! I work around a few guys with titles who think their shit don’t stink. Once had one tell me, “I have a master’s degree…I didn’t go to school to do menial work”. If it’s your job to do something, stfu…it looks so much worse to whine about it!

    Shorty sounds like he probably wont be there long.

  7. LMAO @ dude.. hahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  8. I love the articulate way you tell a story or relay a scenrio. You are on point.

  9. I feel a shyt storm brewing…you know I’ve learned that lil’ mutthafuggas got hard heads and soft azzes. In other words they don’t want to listen to shyt and cry about the pain when they bust they azzes doing the very thing you warned them about. Pointless…ESPECIALLY IF THEY OFAY! No matter how much experience or years you got on them bastards they assume there is no way possible that you’re smarter then them. I don’t even try…besides a shyt wearing Ofay always manages to brighten my day!

  10. Folks crack me up with that kind of nonsense. Nope, it ain’t fair. Get over it. Folks jockeying for titles is so trifling – where I worked, EVERYBODY had a fabulous title…nobody was a ‘data entry operator”, or a ‘secretary”, or ‘customer service rep”. Even the managers weren’t called “managers”. Whateva. Can you do the work that warrants the pay? Pay me correctly, I don’t care about the title.

  11. YO!
    You tell a story for real, I’m jealous of the blog…come ghostwrite for me

    Dude will be skrate lol


    The Message board (Grown folk talk)

  12. I so adore your writing 🙂

    It’s the nature of the beast. Corporate America = The Plantation. Unless you are at the top, cracking the whip….you are expendable. Poor kid needs to learn and learn fast. He should be looking at this as his opportunity to shine.

  13. Aww, he’ll be alright. It’s amazing to me how many of my co-workers who are fresh out of college act that way.

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