Hate to bug you so early in the new year, but how are you doing with those resolutions?
You know, the resolutions you make pretty much every year about how you are going to work harder and smarter and really push the envelope, career-wise all while exercising more, eating less, and, generally, being a much nicer person, as if that was even possible.
If you find it easier to make resolutions than to keep them, I may have the answer for you. Over the years, I’ve developed a very special group of new year’s resolutions — dogged determinations that will not only be easy to keep, but which should have you in much better shape by the end of the 2013.
Best of all, I’m willing to share.
Resolution No. 1: Work Less
Are you sick and tired of hearing about people who work hard to achieve business success and personal wealth? Me, too. Let’s face facts — anyone can achieve success if they work hard. The people we should respect — and emulate — are the people who never do a darn thing and still manage to get the big bucks.
Like your boss. Or your boss’ boss. Or any one the dimwit executives who you read about every day, wrecking their companies, if not the entire economy, and still ending up with million-dollar paydays. (I think you can pretty much include anyone in financial services in this group. Let’s stop shaking out fists at these executive goof-offs, and start emulating them.)
Resolution No. 2: Get Stupid
It’s a digital age, and there is so much data instantly available that it is our duty to improve our minds by gathering as much information as possible about as many subjects as available.
Filling your head with a bunch of facts is a major waste of time and energy. Facts just slow you down. If Columbus had studied “the facts,” he would have learned that the earth is flat, and he would never have set sail for America. He’d still be making salami in Genoa, and we’d all be celebrating Leif Ericson Day and wearing wooden shoes.
If even one of the Kardashians had mastered “the facts”, they would have immediately seen that their lack of any conceivable talent rendered them totally unsuitable for television. They would be wallowing in obscurity, and we would be stuck with nothing to watch but “Masterpiece Theater.”
Resolution No. 3: Avoid Responsibility
If you think the best way to get ahead at work is to take on as much responsibility as possible, think again. Sure, you can step up and become the team leader, but your chances for getting rewarded for what you accomplish are infinitesimal compared to your chances of getting blamed when your team screws up, which it inevitably will.
Think how many people working in obscurity at Apple are making the big bucks, with the big stock options, while the fellow who took responsibility for Apple Maps got the firing squad.
What you want is not responsibility; it’s plausible deniability. You need to position yourself so that no matter what goes wrong, it is clearly not your fault. On the other hand, it is good to be close enough to a project so that in the unlikely possibility that things go well, you can get a snippet of the credit.
Resolution No. 4: Gossip More
Every company needs a Gossip Girl, and you should resolve to take on the role. Not only will everyone be entertained by the mud you sling on your co-workers, but in the course of making up destructive, wild rumors, you may actually stumble on the truth. And the truth can set you free — if the truth concerns some senior manager who can shut you up with a big promotion and a massive raise.
Resolution No. 5: Wreck your health
All of us know people at work who make a religion of physical fitness. These are the yo-yos who run ultra marathons or wake up at dawn to go to the gym or can actually bend over and touch their toes. The person you want to resolve to be in 2013 hasn’t seen their toes in decades, but it hasn’t stopped them from being a happier person, and, importantly, a person who absolutely no one considers a threat.
It’s the beautiful bodies that get noticed, while those of us with high pudge-profiles can waddle along under the radar for years. It’s like I always say — if they can’t see you, they can’t fire you.
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at firstname.lastname@example.org.