Your Corporate Contract: What you are really signing up to!


I love this photo! The late 1950s or early 60s and some of these lads are forging the contract we live with today. The young man in the front seat goes on to lead this national level ‘corporation’ into the computer age.

Peter O’Reilly 2013 ©

I wrote most of the following a long time ago. It applies more or less to most private corporations and many public ones. It would be interesting to know how it goes with NGOs and community organisations. I’ve since written another attachment to go with this one. I’ll share it another day. Enjoy and thanks for reading! Feel free to share this but please acknowledge me and where it came from.

Your Corporate Contract: The Small Print:

This attachment forms part of your employment contract but is never to be discussed or mentioned. Specific components of the contract may be referred to when explaining/complaining about how difficult your work life is  – however this attachment to the contract is to remain confidential. Actually you don’t need to be shown this at all – you just know it!

  1. You are to put your family’s interests ahead of your own – but not your employers.
  2. You are to give your employer and career precedence over your family on a day to day basis. You are allowed to deny this but not to do anything about it.
  3. Do not claim any overtime or even suggest that there is such a thing as ‘regular hours’. Act as if whatever you are doing is ‘normal’.
  4. You are to put your employer and career ahead of your health until such time as it fails you – then after a short period of support, you’re on your own – so have health and income cover. You will be erased from everybody’s memory the following week.
  5. Take pride in the fact that you go to work sick.  Spreading germs gives others the opportunity to test their commitment to the organisation.
  6. You are expected to:

  • Work excessive hours;
  • Sleep short hours;
  • Eat irregularly or at least snack on poor quality food;
  • Do no noticeable exercise;
  • Eat your lunch at your desk or take short lunch breaks; &
  • Over-commit so that under-delivering is expected or at least tolerated

7.  Compete regularly – ignore any feeling of loneliness and isolation, you are the corporate warrior.

8.  You are never to embarrass anybody more senior to you … ever e.g. by discussing this contract openly.

9.  Do not question or think about the real value of the work you do.

10.  Do not ask your superiors too many questions. It makes them look like they don’t know what they need and makes you look as if you don’t intuitively know exactly what they need. But agree when they say there is no such thing as a stupid question. We all know it is you that is stupid! When you don’t deliver what your boss wants you can tell your colleagues how stupid your boss is and your boss can tell his colleagues how hard it is to get good staff. You will all be happily unhappy.

11.  Accept that any midlife anxiety/crisis is your own inability to handle responsibility and has nothing to do with the acceptance of this contract. The same goes if you are sent to ‘Special Projects’.

12.  All management changes such as restructures are to be embraced, even when they are obviously bad. Scramble to get on any committee that is involved in the change. Even if you are wasting your time you will appear more committed and will feel less anxious. Failure to ’embrace the change’ is ‘resistance’ and evidence that you do not understand this contract.

Optional Extras:

You may:

  1. Mock those who work ‘regular’ hours. ‘Ah the late shift must be starting!’ This helps others to understand their contract.
  2. Play ‘Harassed’: Tell people how busy you are. This should only be done publicly in corridors and before meetings. Always say ‘yes’ to more work and act as if it’s top priority. Eat your lunch at your desk. It is not necessary to achieve very much as this puts others under pressure. You don’t have to be workaholic – just act like one. Having too much to do is an obvious excuse for underachievement.
  3. Promise yourself you will spend more time with the kids – later.
  4. Use alcohol and/or antidepressants to reduce stress and have a good time. Caffeine abuse is not good enough to count.
  5. Be surprised when your partner doesn’t want sex with you and asks for a separation or divorce.
  6. Leave your car in the car park from early morning till late evening as a sign of your commitment. You don’t have to be there. A coat over the back of the chair is also good.
  7. You can believe you are indispensable as this will protect your ego until such time as you find you aren’t.
  8. If you are a manager then deny that any of the above inhibits any of the following:
  • Your Innovation and learning – you’re getting better and smarter every day;
  • Productivity – you’re getting more done than ever before;
  • Decision making – you know what to do! People who think you are wrong are either your partner, your boss or a recalcitrant team member with resistance.
  • Your moods and leadership – you are consistent, people love you and follow the example you set.

9.  Train others how to meet the conditions of this contract.

10.  Be anxious that a failure to meet the conditions of this contract will:

  • Embarrass your boss and compromise your career indefinitely;
  • Make you redundant.
  • Embarrass you. You will look like you don’t understand what is really going on.

Sign Here: ___________________________

Just kidding, you don’t need to sign because you’re probably going to do it anyway!


Leave a comment

Filed under Corporate Culture & Strategy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.