6 years and a career spanning multiple companies across multiple countries has taught me a few things. Here are the pearls of wisdom, arranged in no particular order, for your benefit. Read carefully. I have made these mistakes (and more) so you don’t have to.
Botch Conference calls
Read through the instructions carefully before you dial in. There is a reason why the good people at Cisco took the pains to create a 30 page user’s manual filled with hieroglyphics at single space type and size 3 font. You do not want to be in a conference room filled with your peers and seniors, dial some random numbers and hear this on the line, “Hello dear, this is Mollykutty. How is the weather in Gulf? When are you coming next? ”
Mix up Relatives
Keep track of all your relatives, whether you are on talking terms with them or not. They come in really handy on those Mondays when the previous night’s Heineken hasn’t metabolized in time for you to make it to the office. Remember their names, use an excel sheet if you must, but never, ever, make the mistake of killing your third uncle once removed two times in a year.
Choose the wrong ringtone
This is the simplest advice of all, and one that could so easily be overlooked. Cell phones have an annoying habit of ringing every time someone tries to call you. You do not want to be engaged in a deep conversation with your boss on how to improve the monthly sales of paper towels in Gurgaon and have your phone shout out “Jimikki Kammal” midway through the discussion. The song is great to build rapport with Jimmy Kimmel or to launch the careers of young dancers in Mollywood, but it tends to ruin the atmosphere when it comes to office decorum.
Get caught stealing stationery
Really. Grow up. Everyone knows that the easiest thing to do in any office is steal stationery. It’s a no risk, high gain deal. I myself have been running a very lucrative black market in office supplies, specializing in wet markers, for years now. I have a tried and tested method that has never failed to produce results. Of course, you might have to wait a bit if you want heavy duty items like paper shredders or scanners. And you would have to pay extra too, because I would have to work from the office on weekends to fulfil an order for a paper shredder. The real trick, however, is not to brag about it near the water cooler or on social forums. It’s how amateurs get caught.
Get drunk with your boss
This is the biggest no-no of all. The sort of professional debauchery that characterizes office space interaction nowadays will ensure that sooner or later you will find yourself sharing drinks with your superiors. The trick is to get them drunk without crossing the threshold yourself. The negative consequences of failing to keep count of your Heinekens could be many. For instance, you might start reminiscing, and blurt out how the last time you had this many Heinekens, you were so wasted the next day you didn’t feel like going to office, and had to kill off uncle Damodaran from Ottappalam.