Reflections on working in corporate for a year
When I was leaving school post my undergraduate degree my biggest fear was being jobless. Each day I spammed employers with my CVs, talked to those I knew. Anything to ensure that I did not stay at home. Seeing that I had not come up with an entrepreneurial venture that I could keep myself occupied with,, employment was my only option. My prayers were answered. I started working at my dream employer. It has been 14 months now and there are experiences I have had that I would love to share in my reflections:
- Work is going to occupy most of your productive years: the standard work week is 40 hours. however, on some days you will work longer hours and if you are lucky on these days you will have shorter working hours. Immerse yourself in each activity.
- Do not be a passive attendant at meeting. No, I am not saying talk all the time and repeat the points that your colleagues have stated to attain a certain level of relevance that you might imagine comes from being heard. Be keen to listen to details that are presented to you and think through solutions. Share your thoughts and perspectives. It is how you add value to the organization you work in.
- Love the work you do even when you think you are not doing the work you love. It makes a difference, a difference in your energy levels which translates to a difference in your output. I quickly learnt that even when you are working at your dream job, the view that we have of work is overly romanticized. It is not we see in movies, where you walk into the office strutting it and sit at your laptop punching away and getting things done, then packing your bags in the evening to attend to your plans. On some days you will have to sacrifice time and work late.
- Work is a gift. I always asked myself what I would do with my life if I did not have work. Each day that I sit down to start on a certain task I am happy that I contribute
- Handle people with care. Accord everyone respect. This sounds like a simple, obvious thing to do. But it is not. It is easy very easy to dishonor others when you think that you do not need them or when you start to imagine that you are under more pressure than them. There are also some days when you will be pushed to wall, when things are not going your way and plans are not materializing according to your hopes.
- You will inevitably fail. My line manager constantly tells me that you learn more from failure than from success. As with any sensible employment you will be assigned targets that are pegged to your performance. Assuming that you are diligent and you are sticking your neck out, getting your hands dirty, frying your brain and you ought to get amazing results of success. However, as is with life sometimes this is not what happens. Things go unprecedently wrong. The key here is to pick yourself up and ensure that you do not repeat your mistakes.
- Find out what your boss wants and do it: There are no rewards for making excuses. An organization is delighted when they have someone who does what they said they will do. It is also important that you get the work done right the first time. Box ticking ways of working are often much frowned upon where someone seems to be doing work for the sake of it. Constantly let your boss be in the know of when you will deliver on the work.
- Do not make promises that you cannot keep. People pick up very fast the kind of person who says that they will get things done but always does them late or does not do them at all. Something as simple as accepting a meeting invite and not showing up is a very bad show. I have quickly learnt to always buy time to respond to a request when I am not sure that I can commit to the time lines being demanded. However, this is with other colleagues. I feel strongly that if your boss gives you work, you best find the time to do it and deliver on time if not earlier.
- Develop yourself outside work. Engage in activities or hobbies that are not related to work. Create time to read books, take courses in your areas of interest and spend time with loved ones.
- Health is more important than anything else. If you are sick mentally or physically you will not be able to dispense your duties with the veracity that is required of you. Take time to use up your leave days unwinding and resting. Go for your annual medical check-up without fail because you have nothing to lose.