A Few Things I Have Learnt In My Career
I was recently invited by a dear friend to give a talk on career development to the new hires at his company as part of their induction. My initial thought was to decline, I silently wondered, “what do I have to say, after-all, I am still figuring out my own journey?”. On the other hand, I thought, maybe my experiences might help them a little, so I said “Yes” with a caveat.
As I thought about what to say, I decided to keep it simple, avoid presentation slides and just share with them a few lessons I have learned in my career journey. The event was postponed for a couple of days and even at that, I had hardly put my thoughts together. On the day I was to give the talk, I quickly wrote down a few lessons that came to mind as I hurriedly looked back on my career. At the end of the talk a few hours later, I realised I should have recorded the session. Why? Well, the new hires found it valuable.
The talk was mostly me telling them stories and then highlighting the particular lesson I learnt from the experience. I guess stories are powerful in that way. It shows our humanity and enables the audience to relate. Anyway, I have decided to also share the lessons with a wider audience and will do them over a series of posts.
So, what are the lessons? Well this list is not exhaustive, but I will start with the following and add to them as I recollect them or finally learn the lesson contained therein.
You are better than you think
I still struggle with the impostor syndrome, but I have come to admit that I am good at what I do and in the areas where I still struggle, it’s just a lack of knowledge or experience and that can easily be rectified by learning. Speaking of learning, I highly recommend going through the Learning to Learn course or reading the book “A mind for numbers”.
Follow your passion is bad advice
This phrase is borrowed from Cal Newport (wish I read his books as an undergrad). You are passionate about what you are good at. Through deliberate practice, you can become good at a skill and before you know it, you’ve got a new passion.
You are not your work
Don’t take it personal when your work is criticised. This was a hard lesson to learn as a creative. Especially when you pour yourself into building something and then it is torn apart with “piercing words”. Being able to separate myself from my work has allowed me become more receptive to feedback and improve my craft.
Whatever your hand finds to do, do with all your might
I have found the words of Zig Ziglar “Do more than you are being paid to do, and you’ll eventually be paid more for what you do” to be spot on. I also learnt that it’s a cycle, more on this in a future post.
Treat people well, relationships matter
I don’t consider myself a people person and sometimes come across as aloof. What I however do is try to be equitable and treat people the way I want to be treated. I think this is still a lesson in progress, but I have seen the benefits in unexpected places.
Success takes time and everyone’s journey is different
It can often seem like all your hardwork is for nothing, especially when it looks like your peers are advancing faster than you are. I have learnt that the most important thing is not to compare myself with others but rather my past self. By asking myself often, “Am I better today, than I was yesterday?” I am able to celebrate other people’s success and I have seen my own successes to come in due course.
In the coming weeks, I will share the story or stories around each lesson and welcome you to share with me your thoughts and experience. I have also learnt that, the golden nuggets of a post can sometimes be found in the comments section.