Sally: The corporate shark in all of us

Chadwick Harrell

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Just how far are you willing to go to make your dream a reality? Will you stab a friend in the back? Will you destroy a stranger’s chances before you even learn their last name? These questions will be easy to answer for a few but, for others, it will seem like a foreign concept.

The term “it’s a dog eat dog world” is a perfect description of the work environment many of us are headed into with closed eyes.

When in the workplace, Sally will eventually become public enemy number one after she presents the idea you shared with her as a friend at Sunday dinner as her own. Sally has been dreaming of the day she would enter the workforce in her chosen profession since she was 13, growing up in a small town she desperately wanted to claw her way out of. A place she has no intentions of returning to.

Sally isn’t one person. She’s all of us. She is the person we all have the option to be. She’s the lines we will cross, the boundaries we build and our moral code when it comes to how far we will go to not only get the job we have always dreamed of, but to become bigger and better than the places we grew up in.

What Sally did was against every code of ethics you were taught to follow. Sally is what my mother and many employers would call a smart girl. She saw an opportunity and didn’t hesitate to take advantage of it. She understands that, at the end of the day, she may have indeed lost a friend, but she gained some respect among her coworkers as a shark.

Sally is exactly who every employer is looking to hire. She’s ambitious and smart; a calculated office assassin who won’t hesitate to crush any opposition she sees coming her way. She may not be the popular person around the water cooler but, when the boss is looking for someone to take on a tough account, she is the one who’s going to get it.

When it is time for that coveted raise that everyone wants, she is the first name on the list; because she isn’t afraid to bend the rules and take what she wants. This woman is willing to do anything short of murder to have her way.

The perks of being a shark are overwhelming, but now Sally has a bit of a reputation as a back stabbing power hungry harpy. No one in the office really cares for her or ever wants to have drinks with her on Fridays after a hard workweek, even though they have all thought about doing the same things she has actually done on more than one occasion.

The question now is “was it worth it?” Was gaining her bosses’ respect worth losing her coworkers’? This question is for those of you out there to answer. I know the answer I would give. Do you?

Is it possible to be too ambitious when our entire lives we have been told to reach for the sky? While on our quest for the sky, we will surely step on the faces of those surrounding us. Is that acceptable or should we all play by the rules and hope for the best in people to shine through?