To the parents of people my age and the parents that went before them, getting a job in a big corporation is a dream come true. The formula of success for their generation is study hard + land a good corporate job. While that formula has seen revisions in our times, the corporate world is still a good breeding ground for young professionals.
It's been a year since I bid goodbye to the corporate world. I took it as a chance to review my experiences and distill the lessons that I've gotten from them. My intention here is to give newbies to the corporate world helpful advice that may make their corporate lives easier. I also hope that corporate veterans would also relate to what I'm about to share. If these resound with you, I'd greatly appreciate a comment, a reblog or if you're feeling generous, an upvote :)
#1 Thou shall not take everything personally
In the working world, the corporate world being no different, you meet a lot of people from different backgrounds with different upbringings and therefore, different attitudes. You meet those who are just pure pleasures to work with, and then there are some who bite you in the ass. You may hear some things about you and your performance here and there. Some may cause you to smile and some may cause you to go home to your ma and cry. Learn to take these comments with a level-head and don't let them get to your heart just yet.
Level-headedness is the name of the game. When you're level-headed, you can think of the best response to an evaluation or a bad comment and you'd look more composed in front of the people that you work with. Emotions are a part of us and sometimes they may seem too hard to control, but know that your response to a situation is 100% under your control. Take your emotions by the reins and remember to make those comments work for you. Examine the validity of the points given and adjust from there. If there's no point to the comment - ignore. If it was valid, then you could use it to better your performance.
When I first learned about this, it changed my life. It freed me from thinking that it's always my fault when things go wrong. I don't resort to placing the fault on other people as well, I don't like playing the blame game. Whenever a problem presents itself, I tend to focus on finding a way to solve it also so I won't have the energy to entertain a comment 😆
#2 Thou shall treat criticism as a staple side dish
Whatever choice you make, you will be criticized. Even if you haven't made up your mind yet, you will still be criticized. People will always have something to say. That is the price to pay for having independent-thinkers in your team. You should never let the criticism sidetrack you from doing your job and doing it well. As long as your decision is carefully thought-out with the best possible outcome in mind, take criticism as a staple side dish that you have no choice but to take with your main course.
#3 Thou shall be open to other people's ideas
Sometimes the best ideas don't come from you. They may come from the people who work for you, the people you report to, your customers or the people close to you. Don't delay in taking action just because you haven't thought of the perfect idea to wow your boss. Swallow a quick humility pill and act on the idea that will make most of the corporate people happy. You might just find yourself smiling in the end too.
#4 Thou shall not make it a mission to like everyone
Why? It's impossible. People have different tastes. You might not just be their cup of tea. The good news is, they may not be your cup of tea either. Even if you don't have to like all of them, you can treat them right. Liking people isn't a pre-requisite to treating them right. But it's worthy to note that if you become a friend to everyone in the office, your work becomes 100x easier. It saves you from drama too.
#5 Thou shall know the difference between a good performer and a good team player
When doing individual tasks, good performers always deliver. When it comes to group tasks, however, they may not necessarily be the right person for the job. A good team player is someone who works well with the team members. Team players have good emotional qualities that will enable the team to reach the objective easier and more enjoyable. Good team players are not afraid to take one for the team.
#6 Thou shall identify the rotten ones
Rotten apples are those employees who drag other employees down to their pit of despair and frustration. Be alert in identifying who these are. Rotten apples usually became that way because of an unmet expectation. If you are a good apple, stay away from them while you can. If you are a boss to a rotten apple, give them a chance to be heard. Once you've done everything and they show no signs of changing, let them go. If they aren't doing anything good for the company, why keep them?
#7 Thou shall use the power of good lubrication
Corporate conversations aren't always pleasant. If you really have to get a bad news across, you have two weapons at your disposal - humor and good food. The awkwardness and sometimes, hurt, are cushioned with these two. Use them at the best time.
#8 Thou shall keep and maintain your sanity
Thank God for co-workers who turned to be our closest friends for life, right? They are our soundboard of complaints and rants and they give us comfort when our work days suck. Make it a point to invest in your relationship with your support group. Have a drink, eat out and give them a shoulder to cry on when it's their turn to need you. Corporate work life can be tough but you'll get by with a little help from your friends!
At the end of the day, you are working to have a quality life. If you've thought about it, your work is your little contribution to the world. Do not let small things get in the way of you doing your job well. Tell the distractions to mind their own business! Have them worry about their own problems.
Those were my distilled lessons from the corporate world, corporate Hivers. I hope you enjoyed reading all the way through. Let me know which among those you relate to the most. See you in the next one!
She is on a mission to become better than who she was yesterday. A chemical engineer and a financial advisor, she hopes to give value to this space as a motivated individual. She found the perfect marriage of what she wants to do in life and her mission in financial advising. She balances her work and life at the comforts of her home. She loves to meet like-minded people and watch The Bold Type in her free time. Watch this space for tales of self-improvement and self-acceptance, per Mark Manson, "the philosophical tightrope."
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