Corporate Ladder and Satin Bedsheets

This post has been itching my mind for past few days and how much ever I try to make it humorous, the funny words just refuse to come.

I have been working for the past decade or so and had the chance to work in different companies with different work ethics and environment. Indian companies have evolved and so has the work culture. We now spend most of our waking hours at the workplace and it is like a second home to us. The workplace is like a big dysfunctional family with some members we want to completely avoid and others who bring comfort to us.

The work culture has changed drastically in recent times with people having long work hours and the pressure to perform. With the influx of more and more young blood each day at the workplace most of us have become expendable. There is fear of getting overshadowed in this race to climb the corporate ladder. In such situations anything and everything has become acceptable. There is an insane rush to get promoted and stand out from the crowd.

All throughout this work journey, I have come across specimens at my work place who never failed to amaze me. There have been some instances in my previous jobs wherein some of my female colleagues were ready to do anything to climb the rungs of the corporate ladder. A fat pay check and a designation were the motivation for their actions. Dressing provocatively, with necklines plunging lower and dropping subtle hints with their body language, a flicker of an eye and a promise of a little something to the Boss were a few of them.  These colleagues climbed higher on the rungs and were awarded promotions and pay raise without any significant contribution to the job at hand.

People like me who thought that their work and dedication will speak for itself were left behind. It always irked me when colleagues with pea sized brains but who were considered 'Hot' always got to cut the cake and eat it too. The male colleagues too flocked around them, helped them in anyway possible, even shared their workload.

I never knew how to interact with such people, I felt as if I stood out like a sore thumb in midst of such chaos, I could never fathom their reasoning or play the game. My definition of morals definitely took a beating.

A recent conversation with a friend in India is suddenly making me feel ignorant and naive on the subject of morality. It feels as if suddenly the definition of morality has been re- written. People are flaunting affairs with colleagues and a romp in the sheets with their bosses as something which is matter of fact and nothing to be shocked about. All under the name of 'Karna Padta hai' (It just needs to be done).

I am not taking a moral high ground here but one thought is stuck in my mind, What happens to people like me who don't go with the flow or bow down to popular notions? Who prefer doing their jobs to the best of their abilities and expect to get their due. Who are not ready to bend the rules just to jump a few steps up on the corporate ladder.

Will it be a hard fight for us to make it to the top? Will some of us get tired of fighting and  change sides and then 'Sab chalta hai' attitude will become the slogan?

I am angry and ranting cause I have been the 'Fall Guy' too many times since I refuse to play the game. I expect to get promoted on the basis of my merit and work and not by ample display of my lingerie, looks and charm.

Here is a short clip from the TV series 'Friends', where Rachel starts smoking for her career.

P.S: This is definitely a rant and readers you can rant your heart out in your comments. I know many of us face this situation and it feels really good to vent out our anger.


  1. You know it s the eternal battle between content and packaging.

    while you were working hard - the world has graduated from content packaging to packing content.

    now how you present matters, people want a leader with chutzpah and zip...rather than the quaint old bespectacled Mr.hard worker.

    you see more people identify with Mr.Ricky Singh than Rohit kumar Singh. [ no offence meant to either names]

    You see LazP, in the long run it will not be the survival of the is going to be the survival of the most adaptable.

    At the risk of sounding self promoting, you might want to read - Ja Saala Times - my take on corporate world.

  2. I think Jasaala made some very good points. This is nothing new. It's gone on since the beginning of time. Sadly, there really is no such thing as "fair."

  3. a very startling and very sad state of affairs, but people like us who have nothing but our skill and hard work to offer unfortunately are the ones standing at the lower levels of the leader board.

    I hope you are feeling bit better after letting out your feelings in words :)

    Take care girl :D

  4. the tale of the hare and tortoise applies here too... the tortoise will win the race when the hare is busy sleeping (around)...
    cheer up!
    the world is not such a bad place if you believe in yourself!

  5. Morality, per se, is subjective and a very loosely used word I would say. Hang on there, with your merit and capability, meanwhile also showing leadership wherever needed. To a great extent, I agree with what Jasaala says.
    Compromising on moral grounds need not necessarily be the solution. Things will hopefully change. You take care :)

  6. Its not about ethics. One does not have to compromise at all. One has to be a good team player - and for that one has to be likeable and adaptable. People will only give meaty assignments to a team player they like ..... That is the truth

  7. Jasaala: I was not talking about leadership at all over here...I was talking about situations you face when being a part of a team... Meatier roles being meted out to people who were ready to do anything...

    I know survival of the most adaptable is the name of the point was how adaptable are you willing to far would you go in the name of career growth?

  8. Jayne: Yes nothing is fair...I agree..and that is the reason for my rant :(

    Chatterbox: Thanks dear:) yes I am feeling better definitely...

    Magiceye: heehe did I sound to morose in post? Actually my current job is a happy happy one...I had this pent up anger from when I worked in India..just took this as an opportunity to have this verbal blast :)

    Anu: Yes, morality is very subjective. I was just bitching about the fact that good people feel demotivated when they face such situations. And about leadership...well I was not talking about leadership here..

    Ritu: Agreed....but what is a good team player? one who nods his head at the popular vote or the one who works hard to prove his capability. Team dynamics are different in different organisations...

    Imagine a situation in which one of your team mates is the popular girl with all her airs and fan following. She gets all the accolades and you, inspite of working hard are left on the would you feel? that is my point in the post...

  9. No matter what I will never do something for the sake of karna padta hai.. but then I have never been an achiever too..

  10. Yes, they are people who sleep around and in my experience they are in the minority...u dont change ur beliefs according to situations or problems..u stick to ur rules/ethics (it aint easy) and in the end, everything will work out...

  11. Honestly have not come across some of the 'Corporate' stuff that you referred to.

    But have seen enough example of de-shelled pea brains floating on top :(

  12. Farila: Being an acheiver is very subjective. I think you are one...

    Sonali: Ahh I believe in the same thing but sometimes frustration rises up and it becomes difficult not too rant..

    The Knife: You are lucky...yeah pea sized brains are there everywhere...

  13. Ohh I so much agree with you!!! Sometimes people do it for career and many a times just like that!!! I sincerely believe that there is nothing called "majboori" at the end of the day it is the choice we make! I rememebr watchign this pathetic movie Laaga Chunri Main Daag where the protagonist had to take up prostitution to survive! I couldn't digest it!!!

    Yes people liek us who feel that our work should speak might feel short changed but then at the end of the day when we go home & sleep and at least our conscience is clear!!

  14. Ohh...I could relate to the pain moreso because i have one wannabe- mermaid-dress-competition-winner in our office and do i need to say who gets appraised and praised!!

  15. Smita: Yeah I remember this movie...I had the same feelings...but the fact is that now a days many girls do step in this profession just to have extra cash...can't call it majboori at is all by choice.

    And yes about the conscience being clear part is so true...You can look at yourself in the mirror and not expect a second face popping out...

    Nish: heheh wannabe mermaid , you sure made me laugh...

    Ughh feel bad about your situation...different day..same shit.. sigh.

  16. LP,
    If you don't look cool enough no body forgives you and that includes God!
    To my utter consternation, the bold and beautiful of the either sex have had their way most of the times even if they were a big NADA. No, that does not mean the real worker will go unrewarded. You will be needed when the wind is high and the grudging acknowledgement will be there.

    Now, I'm not justifying anything. I won't even drop the cliche, 'part of the game'. Sooner or later, however, the past life comes back to haunt you. If you have had a cleaner journey, why bother?

    One Grain amongst the Storm

  17. The laws of morality have changed or chaning slowly and steadily: it is "show me the money,honey" and take the cake along. Soem facts are hard to digest but then in reality there are growing breed of people who are ready to go to any extend to get the rewards.

    What can i say about the rest? Well, one has to live by their conscience and not guilt. So, people like you might be pushed down but then your conscience is clear and guilt-free and can only be optimistic...

  18. "Hard work can be fruitful." - Nah. I didn't make that line. I stole it from somewhere... LOL

    That's really foolish for those employees to do stuff to get a promotion. Maybe, they bribe the Boss guy with a "Birthday Cake" everyday. And he forgets, everyday is not his Birthday... tee hee

    I am sure, you will get recognized for your hardwork...:)
    Have a great Sunday!

  19. umashankar: Welcome to my Blog :)
    I agree...when the journey is clean...but sometimes it feels to vent, right?

    Lakshmi: true...I do sleep without guilt.

    Mr. Stupid: Bah...I don't think it is fruitful...hence this rant. I hope so recognised for my work..

  20. This "Karna padta hai" stuff is a good excuse given by ppl to achieve their vested interest. It is now common in work culture and everyone know it... Either you do it or you suffer... Your post reminded me of a movie "Gulaal" an amazing movie, where for student election and politics such stuff is used.

  21. oh yes all that sucking up to the bosses for promotions n perks, and the pea sized brains gets the cake, their brains are not pea sized after all, we understand!!

    Corporate culture! I don't know who inverted the rules, I have a colleague, excellent at her work, the best in the team, but she gets no promotions becuase she does not suck up, butter and gossip to the boss or take them on outings!!

    But what is the use!! bending rules for temporary gains, haaa!! they'll be wiped out clean when people like u and me turn bosses...:))

    U ranted and made me rant too,... a load off my brain, thank u LP


  22. although i am not in the job market so dont have first hand information but this type of using your sex may be in a subtle manner has been there since ages. long time back when i was working in my college , girls used to be extra pally with the boss, a little hint here and there, fluttering of eye lashes( those days the concept of morality was definitely different from what it is.
    these days from what i read, boys and girls will do any thing, climb any mountain to be on the top.
    and i know things are going to worsen day by day

  23. Karan: Oh yes...that movie was wonderful...
    Excuses or you can say just means to get what they want... I blame both the people who do it and accept such favours 'Tali kabhi ek hath se nahi bajti hai'.

    PNA: Welcome to my Blog :)
    Their brains become pea sized only when it comes to the actual work these people are hired for...

    I am glad you could vent out, hope to see you more often.

    Anju: It is definitely getting worse. Not only sex but small favours and ass kissing the boss is also on the rise.

  24. hey, nice post. I am currently a degree student, and reading this sure is a demotivator. I mean, doesn't knowledge and skill count for anything?

    I know that how you say it is more important than what you say, but this is just absurd. I really pity your condition, but just to put it out there, I'd like said, Do not change yourself and be a sell-out. Stick to who you are and things will fall into place.

    I hope the scenario in workplaces changes soon.

  25. loved the title...
    and really u know what Sex is alive and well in the corporate workplace, and so is the double standard. And for many women eager to climb the corporate ladder, these realities can be career-threatening. Yes, there’s a cost to sex in the workplace, and yes, it’s almost always the woman who pays it.

  26. Hi,
    this is abhirup here. I came across your blog and loved your writing. I run a popular business blog . I would like to post articles from you which if approved will be posted with full credit. Let me know what you think about it. If you like the idea mail me back at


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