What I have learned after 12 years of slaying in the Corporate world.
Today I celebrate my 12th Year climbing the corporate ladder. I started in 2008, a fresh BSIT (Bachelor of Science in Information Technology) graduate, naive, idealistic, ready to face the new challenges ahead of me. I was fresh meat!
To give everyone a background on what I'm actually doing, I work in a multinational professional service company. I in particular work on Technology and Consulting. I help my clients with implementing technologies to help their businesses grow.
I started as a Junior Consultant and after 12 years, I'm now in a Leadership position. Was it a bumpy ride? of course! but it was worth it.
For those who are actually just starting and curious about how I "slayed" my 12 years...
Let me share with you 5 Learnings (read 'til the end for a surprise 😄) I have gathered from personal experience, mentors, and observations - so grab a popcorn this is going to be interesting!
It's not personal. It's just work.
In my 12 yrs. of service, I have encountered tons of characters! Some are enjoyable, some I want to (for the lack of better terms) literally slay. I had my fair share of arguments, there are some that I gracefully won over, there are some I gracefully gave way (yes, I don't see it as a defeat). During the days that I was a junior consultant, I would take it personally, I don't talk to the person who I had an argument with, or make snarky remarks - I was an immature throwing a fit! I felt the argument was straight pointing at my flaws. I felt attacked!
But as the days past and I became a seasoned resource, arguments have just been part of my everyday work. I learned that I don't need to take things personally, I accept the fact that it's just the way that person is s/he also has it's own belief and understanding on the work, the argument was not questioning my ability to design a solution, it's just that we don't agree on some things, we can always agree to disagree. ALWAYS, ALWAYS keep your arguments at the professional level, NEVER ATTACK!
And at the end of the day, I would still give them my sweetest smile and wish them a good night when I see them walking to their car at the office parking lot. If they don't smile back, then it's their lose.
When in doubt... ASK!
Luckily, I'm not directly saving lives in my everyday task, as what one of my clients said one time - we are not curing cancer. However, one mistake may cause millions to my client, so I would still be cautious! I have not encountered this first hand when I was junior, I haven't actually mistakenly purged a whole database in production, because there is one thing that I'm actually famous for --- I ASK!
There is no such thing as "stupid question', and I believe and respect people who actually question stuff around. I would question the process, or when I have a doubt in mind, especially if my gut tells me there is something not right.
Unless you actually work in a cartel and asking might cause your life, then it would always be safe to ask and confirm. If the person questioned you back, then bluntly explain what made you curious. AGAIN, this is is just work, don't take it personally!
Keep on improving yourself.
For the past 12 years, I have always been (consciously and with effort) I continuously improve myself. This is also something I share with my mentees.
I watch instructional videos, I read, I improve both my technical and soft skills. Your company may have free training, GO GRAB IT, it's part of your benefit as an employee, if not, then always be resourceful, google things and read.
I would focus on improving my soft skill (communication, and establishing relationships) because that's basically what I use every day. My company does not offer this as much as I would love them to have this in their library, but I would seldom read articles and watch videos on Youtube. Yes, I use it during my spare time, sometimes before going to bed!
Keep in mind that in this fast phase world, things change in a snap, so be up to date on your knowledge, regardless of what field you are in.
Take every moment as if it's your first.
This is my secret sauce for being in my company for 12 yrs! I take every day as a new day, and treat it differently as to how I treated the day before. It gives me a good chance to actually correct any mistake, and for some reason, I tend to be more productive.
I treat every client scoping sessions as my first scoping session, I prepare for every meeting, I psych myself every start of a presentation, I create cue cards, I do breathing exercises, and even ask God to help me and give me the confidence and knowledge. Keep in mind that I have been doing presentations and scoping sessions for the past decade, but I still treat it as if this is my first. This mentality actually helps me become conscious and not be complacent in my role.
Take breaks and relax.
DONT LET YOURSELF BURNOUT! There is a reason why we have paid vacation leaves! 👏🏼 USSSEEE 👏🏼 ITTTT!!!!
We all need a mental break from time to time. Here's a secret - when there are days that I actually don't feel like working, and I know that it's going to be a light day (no meetings and no urgent deliverables) I take the day off. I just chill and binge-watch the whole day! That's how I recharge!
I CAN'T EMPHASIZE THIS ANYMORE!
Since I'm feeling generous, here's a bonus....
Yes, you work they pay you - but as a moral obligation in this world, please be grateful! Don't forget to thank the people you work with. Thank your company for giving you an opportunity to prove yourself to the world. Yes, you have worked your way to the top, but always remember there are still people involved in the process, there are actual human beings that helped you along the way - thank them!
There you have it, friends! that's my 5 Learnings from my 12 years of experience climbing the corporate ladder.
Here are some last few words of advice -
If you're new to the corporate world, YOU GOT THIS! Slay it one day at a time. Buckle up because it's going to be a bumpy ride!
If you're burned out and feel like you've hit a dead-end, RECHARGE, then re-assess your situation. Don't decide when you're high on emotions.
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Got more tips you want to share? Comment below! let's build a community!