Great question. Seems obvious. If it’s such a horrid game, just don’t play. And yet this can be a difficult game to avoid. Some people play as part of Survival — they need to earn money to pay for basic necessities. The lowest level players grind away in factories in far parts of the map. For these players, the game is harsh and can even be fatal. Players at higher levels toil away in offices at the opposite side of the game map. They want to collect money and level up. These players believe the Corporate Game can be won. Even though they lose. Over and over. But they keep playing. Why? The small wins. The temptation of leveling up. Players call this “climbing the corporate ladder” when they actually do get promoted to the next level. And a “Rat Race” when they don’t. There is something strangely compelling about this game even though it makes people feel like they spend their lives grinding and never see gold. The absurdity is that no one really likes it. Well, most players don’t. There is an elite group of players who enjoy the Corporate Game. That’s because they control the game. They control most games. And make Life miserable for the rest of the players. We call them Icks.
The key thing to understand about Icks is that they play for power. It doesn’t matter which game they’re playing – School, Family, Relationship, Work – their goal is to dominate others. Icks are obsessed with power because it’s the only thing that makes sense to them. Everything else is nonsense. Friendships. Professions. Laws. Love. Happiness. These are silly distractions that make their opponents weak. And everyone else in Life is an opponent to these anti-social personalities. Icks play for power because they’re bored. They have no bliss. No calling. No desire to make a difference in the world. They can’t understand the elation of inspiration or the pleasure of collaboration. They can only control those who do. Icks are masters of the Corporate Game because they are ruthless and excel at deception. They appear to care about their organizations but they really view people as resources to be increased or eliminated. They pretend to care about products and helping others but they just want to be shown the money. Because it buys power.
Why is the Corporate Game so challenging for the rest of the players?
It’s an Ick game based on lies. There are written versions of the Rules, Goals, Roles, Levels, and Point System but the game is actually played by unwritten rules. Anyone who tries to play by the written rules won’t level up. So people try to become more like Icks so they can get promoted. This is called ‘learning to play the game’ or simply ‘politics.’ Politics is the grand game of manipulation on a mass scale. Corporate Politics is a power battle on a slightly smaller scale. But the goal is still to control as many people as possible.
Really, why would anyone play this bizarre game?
You don’t have to play. You can drop out. Join a smaller company committed to its mission. Start your own company. But if you’re really daring, you can stay and hack it.
How do you hack the Corporate Game?
Be the opposite of an Ick. Be honest. Be kind. Believe in what you do. Have a sense of humor. Help others find the funny. Truly care and treat people as fellow beings. Force the Icks to follow your lead because otherwise they’ll seem fake. Show them that doing the right thing is actually rewarding. Be empathetic. Icks are thoroughly confused by empathy. Connect with your co-workers. Icks don’t know now to build real relationships. Be happy. Icks are baffled by joy. Be passionate about your work. This amazes Icks because commitment is totally alien to them. Let your bosses believe you’re just a foole. Rulers think they control their jesters but they never do.