‘Don’t confuse having a career with having a life.’
Manners maketh the future millionaire. Gone are the days when a snarling, pushy, take-no-prisoners, ‘lunch is for wimps’ executive was the role model. Those who build CVs from the age of five and demonstrate their skill at passing exams and gaining qualifications are now seen as single- minded geeks, hampered by a lack of proficiency in handling social and professional situations. Today, both employers and employees are acknowledging the importance of what are termed ‘the softer skills’. Here the emphasis is on an easy grasp of manners, the confidence that comes from knowing the appropriate response in any given situation and, above all, the ability to give the impression that you are thinking how your behaviour affects others. Such skills are initially vital at the interview stage (hence all the ‘manners’ courses now run by universities) and then crucial in both client situations and for harmonious office relations.
Promotion favours the polite.
Ideally, those who have honed these skills and are successful in their careers should remember such manners outside the workplace, and realise that their own meteoric rise and current career importance might not be the most riveting thing for their friends and family. Successful careerists who’ve started to believe their own propaganda can easily turn into the most boring people in the room, especially to those who might not be in the conventional career mainstream: full-time parents, downsizers, or those who’ve just lost their own jobs. A successful career is gratifying news for your bank manager and boosts your self-esteem – but it is always rude to bang on about it.