It wasn’t that Dr. Seuss got it wrong. Oh, The Places You’ll Go (read the entire book,here) is still a timeless, fun read, but recent high school or college graduates need more advice than a children’s book that essentially says, “Work hard, and when things don’t go your way, brush your shoulders off.”
Knowing how to politic, and understanding that other people don’t exist for the simple reason of getting out of your way when you want them to, is essential for any first-time hire.
Without further ado, here’s Oh, The Asses You’ll Kiss, my poem about what you should hand a recent grad right after you give them Oh, The Places You’ll Go.
Oh, The Asses You’ll Kiss
Today is your day.
You’re off to your first job!
You’re off and away!
Get out of bed early.
And go rock those new shoes.
I know that you’re ready
but get ready to schmooze
You’re at your new job, and it can be bliss.
Just make no mistake, there are asses to kiss.
You’ll walk up and down cubes, greeted friendly and fair.
You’ll get hello’s and how do’s, just please be aware
With your head full of hope and your new bag of tricks,
That you’re now part of…office politics.
It’s not as grim and grimy
As you might first think.
It’s whose jokes to laugh at,
So you stay in sync.
It’s kind of odd
On the new office squad.
Where silent exchanges
And one subtle glance
Can tell a whole story
or end someone’s chance.
Work is not just about
what you want to do
It’s how you gel with the team
And the trust you accrue.
THE ASSES YOU’LL KISS!
You’ll want to have meaning!
You’ll want to go bloom!
But the most vital info
Is who’s screwing whom.
You’ll start to adapt, since you need to fit in.
You’ll tell tall tales, but they’re not really sins.
You’ll soon see the gains of knowing the games
That everyone plays but nobody claims.
It’s not all yack-yack
Or just watching your back.
You’ll have to work hard
And surely produce.
There is no excuse.
But don’t get hung up
In a drab to-do list.
When your team goes for drinks
You must go join, I insist.
If not, you will regret
Skipping whiskey and Cokes
‘Cause you’re now on the outside
Of all the insider’s jokes.
And when you’re on the outside
You’re not in for much fun
Is not easily done.
You will come to the terms that the path is not clear
“Just follow your dreams” does not always work here.
You have to be clever, you have to be seen.
You work with adults but the drama is teen.
Yes it’s absurd but it’s just the routine.
So what do you say? Should you be fake or be true?
Or true-only-sometimes? Or, maybe, on cue?
Or be a yes-man, let the blind lead the blind?
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
To tread through this quagmire so socially twined.
You can get all confused
At who to impress
It’s not just your boss who drives your success
IT and HR might need the verbal caress
Who calls the shots is anyone’s guess?
Just don’t think…
…it’s all about work
Thinking it’s just what you do
Or a review to get, or a role to do
Or the task to get, or the class to do
Or the email to ding, or the slew you knew
Or thinking it’s about more or a few
Or thinking it’s on how late you stay too.
Don’t be so naive.
It’s not solely of the hours compiled
But knowing who was culturally exiled
And who told the joke where everyone smiled
Or knowing, perhaps, the abundance of ways
To get what want, just like that big raise
It’s the pre-pologies and polite little lies
That will help you plan your imminent rise.
Don’t sit and start hoping.
That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll learn
That the height of your stock
Depends on your skill
At back channel talks.
With head on a swivel
Once more you’ll soon link
That people don’t say what they honestly think
When playing the game of office hoodwink.
Oh, the asses you’ll kiss! There is work to be done!
There are sides to be on. There are minds to be won.
It’s about talking to Peter so he can tell Paul.
The lay of the land is your port of call
Alliances! You’ll always need someone on your side,
For when you’re thrown to the wolves all bounded and tied.
It’s not what you did
Because heaven forbid.
I’m afraid that you learned
(And it does break my heart)
That there is such a thing
As the hidden org chart.
Whether you like it or not
Confused will be something
You’ll be quite lot.
Org charts might have tons of tiny straight lines
But under the surface are swirls of all kinds
Of secrets and favors, and old bones to pick
Of resentment and brothers, and some random chick.
But on you will go
when things zig and they zag.
On you will go
Bloodshot by jet lag.
On you will go
When your coworkers shag.
Onward through many
To position yourself
For self preservation.
It’s lots of asses to kiss
And some egos get stroked
But don’t be a brown noser,
Your fluff should be cloaked.
You’ll wish it were different,
As I already know.
You’ll wish it was
Work ethic and what you did know.
But it’s often of whispers,
Of relations and rumors
Of savvy word twisters
And emotional tumors
Just never forget that while working with class
To foster the ties that can save your ass.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)
BUT KID, YOU’LL KISS ASSES!
Be you from John’s Hopkins, John Carroll or John Jay
Or came from the hills or grew up in the Bay
You’re off to kiss asses!
Today is your day!
You might think I’m crazy.
But just trust me, ok?