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Labor Day Tips to Get Ahead in the Business World

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As I try to do anything but labor on this Labor Day, I reflect on my nearly 10 years working in office jobs to support my freelance habit. So while I spend my 9 to 5s at work-work, I've held myself to certain standards.

I believe I act with integrity. I've tried to treat people – regardless of my personal feelings for them – with dignity. And I've worked hard because (besides being a Type A personality) it's what my bosses paid me to do. And where's it gotten me?

Absolutely nowhere.

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So for those of you who are new to the working world and really want to move ahead, collect those big bonuses, earn those raises and eventually find yourself in the nice corner office, here are a few tips that I've learned over the past decade by watching the "best and brightest" at my companies move up in the world... after the jump.

10 Office Tips to Getting Ahead

1. Kiss ass. The greatest sycophants in my office have the best views. But save your best puckers for those with higher titles than yours.

2. Remember the "I" in Team. Think of teamwork like a high school science lab. Let your partners do all the work and you still get credit for the project at the end.

3. Pull rank. Have your underlings write your memos and reports. If they're good enough, then delete his/her name and put yours in the "From" line.

4. Be snoopy. When stopping by a co-worker's desk, especially if they're above you in office hierarchy or an assistant to some big honcho, take a glance at the computer screen or the papers on the desk. Being informed is being forearmed.

5. Surf. You can perform as little work as possible by doing tons of "research" on the Internet. It makes you look super busy.

6. Make alt-tab your bff. You can switch between ESPN and that Excel spreadsheet you had your minions work on (see rule #3) with a few computer clicks. Alt-tabbing is a subtle thumb-ring finger movement, so practice early and often.

7. Buy Girl Scout Cookies. Buy them from the CEO's kid. Also, buying magazines, candles and candy bars from the rest of the executive team can earn lots of points.

8. Perform the pause. In meetings, take long pauses before speaking and look contemplative, like staring at a ghost on the ceiling. It makes you look more erudite.

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9. Play the narc. Dropping discreet hints about a colleague's meltdown puts you at the front of the promotion line. A little faux gossip about your closest competitor never hurts either.

10. Perfect the 'tude. Backhanded compliments and a condescending attitude to your equals or subordinates show the boss that you know how to use power.

And finally,

Fall back on the old standby. Sleeping with the boss can still do wonders for your career.

photo by judgementalist via flickr