How to Succeed Without Selling Your Soul to the Devil

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During the course of our careers most of us find ourselves in situations where we are tempted to sell our souls to the devil for temporary gains. There are times when it seems easier to pretend to be someone we are not so that we please the right people. The desire to take short-cuts to success even if it means trampling on others can be very tempting, when the reward is something we have been eyeing for years.

The problem is while losing ourselves in order to achieve success may seem like the easier way out, in the long run, it always backfires, especially in HR. Credibility and integrity are the two most important traits that HR professionals must possess in order to survive and grow in their careers. While putting on an act or behaving like a people-pleaser may work for some time, eventually people tend to see through the charade and the end result is loss of face and a damaged reputation.

So, how do you stay real in the dog-eat-dog corporate world? How do you maintain your integrity despite the enticing pull of temptation?


I would recommend the following time tested strategies-

Set your limits. Make a list of things that you never want to do. The list should include the boundaries that you never want to cross. For instance, you could write stuff like, “I will never set up a colleague for termination” or “I will never spread malicious gossip about someone”, etc. Display this list in a place where you can see it everyday, so that you are reminded of your ethics daily.


Stay neutral. This may sound like a difficult thing to do in an office environment, but staying neutral is essential not only for the sake of your sanity, but also for your survival. You might have to implement several policy decisions that you may or may not agree with. Life will get extremely difficult for you if you start getting emotionally involved with these decisions and you may even find yourself questioning your true identity. The best way to deal with these situations therefore is to keep your emotions separate from your job.


Be yourself and let your real personality shine through. Being a people-pleaser or a yes-person may help you temporarily, but life will get difficult for you once people start seeing through your act. It therefore makes more sense to follow a policy of “straightforward diplomacy”. I agree the very term sounds like an oxymoron, but what it essentially means is that you should state your points tactfully. Share your opinions without sounding rude, stay up on industry trends and discuss those with your boss instead of using techniques like flattery.


Honesty and integrity may seem like bookish and idealistic terms in today’s corporate scenario, but the fact is that they do actually work in the long run. More than anything else you can’t hope to have any peace of mind unless you stay true to yourself.

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