“I learned to establish myself and create my own network of allies on the job,” says Cynthia Gibson, who today is president of CKG Communications.
Early in her career, Gibson says she thought she had hit the “jackpot.” She followed her boss to a large transportation agency where he was recruited to be second in command. “He gave me a $40,000 raise and a corner office. It turned out to be a ‘velvet coffin.’ From the moment I arrived, my credibility and my capabilities were questioned. I had no allies of my own, most co-workers and subordinates pretended to be friendly and helpful only because they thought it would help them ‘get in good’ with the boss,” says Gibson, who was fired when her boss fell out of favor with the head of the organization. While he did not get fired, Gibson says she was let go to embarrass her boss.
“What I learned from that painful and humiliating experience was that you have to establish yourself, network and form relationships and allies of your own. Being associated with a single person or regime, no matter how high in the food chain, is not enough in the long run…Strong relationships and a well-rounded network are key to survival in the working world.”