A Career Built Purely on Bullshit
This is the first of a four-part article on how to bullshit your way to the top of your profession. The other three bullshit articles will be appearing shortly.
Hard Work for Nothing
A lot of people spend a lot of time getting a good university degree, and then spend their working life working very hard and diligently. Then they get nowhere.
Of course some of those with degrees will get somewhere. That’s especially if they work hard, but there isn’t room at the top for all of them.
No, the best way to carve out a successful career is to have a first class honours degree in Bullshitting.
First Step on Ladder to Career Success
So what is the first step on the ladder to success through bullshit?
There’s no point in spending three or four years in getting a degree when you can just write on your CV that you’ve got one anyway. I know someone who Had years with a First Class Honours degree in Mathematics with Economics on his CV and they never rumbled him.
Of course, it is far more dangerous to ‘try it on’ when you are going for your first job. But it is still possible. The bigger companies or the consultancies are likely to check up. However, the smaller to medium size companies are a lot less likely to check up.
As an Employer I must confess that I took on 22 graduates without ever asking for evidence of their degrees. I just took it on trust.
Therefore, you should apply only to smaller companies. Preferably choose ones without an over-officious Human Resources department. You could eliminate all of those companies with a Human Resources department by calling up the company beforehand and asking for the department.
Bullshit Tip – Get Fast Tracked
A ‘first class honours degree’ in a computer-related degree should get you onto the first step of the ladder in your career in IT.
Don’t just leave it at that though. A small company with a small IT department will be ‘lucky’ to get someone like you with a first class honours degree in a computer related subject. Ask at the interview if there is a ‘Fast Track’ process for graduates.
They’re pretty sure to suddenly have one if they want to get someone ‘as good as you’ to join their humble company.
So now you’ve joined the company and are earmarked for a swift rise through the ranks. You will need, of course, a lot of training to get you there, e.g. courses in project estimating and tracking as well as in the other skills of project management.
The Right Job
It’s important to get to do something that isn’t too taxing early on, but which will give you the skills to move on up the company.
Therefore, you don’t want to do too much programming. That can be difficult, and everyone else does it. So they can compare how good you are against them. You need to do some, just to find out what the job is about, as it will be useful for when you’re leading projects. However, don’t do too much of it or they’ll find you out.
No the perfect way to keep out of that and progress your career is to ‘shadow’ the project manager. Ask if he, or she, can take you under his, or her, wing.
Bullshit Tip – Do Tracking
You can help with the tracking on your first project. It’s too early to do estimating.
This is a piece of piss!
It just involves you collating the weekly timesheets, putting the latest situation onto PMW or MS Project and updating the Project Manager on progress.
You might also involve yourself in going round once a week to speak to the project team about where the slippage is and what actions they ca taken to fix it.
This ‘grunt work’ will be very useful to the Project Manager who can then get on with other things. It also gives a signal to the other people in the place that you are management.
After all, they’ve got to make their excuses to you weekly, and they see you sitting down with the Project Manager (or better still going into a private room) to discuss the current state of the project.
Access to Senior Management
If you think that you can get away with it, put your weekly report down on paper, and CC it to the IT Manager and Senior Project User, as well as your own Project Manager.
Senior Managers cry out for information about projects, and look well on those that give it to them.
Never, never, never make the mistake of telling the senior people that the project is going well. That’s even if it appears to be so on paper. Projects normally screw up. You don’t want to be implicated in the fall out.
Just tell them that they should ask the Project Manager about progress. Say it in such a way that you seem to be loyal to him or her, and that you don’t want to bypass him.
Don’t let them know that you really don’t have a clue about whether projects are good or bad, will come in on time or late, or will come in to budget or over it.
Bullshit Step – Using the Result
If the project goes well, that’s fine. It will reflect well on all those ‘leading the project’ like yourself. You will be ready for the next step up the ladder.
If it goes badly, you must take care not to be implicated. You should downplay your involvement in it.
An even better step is to ‘know what went wrong’.
There are plenty of people who have made a career out of knowing what went wrong on somebody else’s project. Just because someone knows what went wrong, doesn’t mean to say that they can put it right (they usually can’t). However, those at a senior level usually don’t realise it.
As you are fairly new, you won’t know most of what went wrong yourself. But there are other people who do – and they don’t have access to senior management like you do.
Find out, informally, from the others in the project what they think went wrong. Find out what they think it will take to make it better next time – the lessons learned.
Collate all this information, and give it to senior management. There’s no need to tell them that you got all this information from other people.
Bulshit Tip – The Man Who Can Help
The management will be in a terrible state on a failed project. Everyone will be ‘getting it’ all the way up the line.
And here’s a clever First Class Honours degree graduate, from one of the best universities, who knows exactly how the project went wrong.
Even better still, he knows how to put it right.
Now you’re really flying. You are sure to get a shot sometime soon at running your own project, instead of ‘the clown’ who has just screwed up their current project and got them all into trouble.
Bullshit Tip – Stick In
‘Stick in’ especially with the senior users. They couldn’t tell a good or a bad IT person. IT people seldom communicate much with them. So they are very happy when someone does communicate with them, and gives them sound info on the problems with a project and how to get it put right.
IT managers seldom rank very highly at companies, and the user managers usually outrank them, even if nominally they are at the same level of the company.
Most people will worry that they would not be able to cope with such a rapid promotion to Project Manager, and would screw up.
Not you though. You are the King of Bullshit.
The next episodes will appear shortly on how to get to the top via bullshit.
Here’s Part 2 – Take Credit for Other’s Work.