12+ Lessons From Another Year Of Work

In the past year, I started relea:se, pulled 12-hour days at a bank, worked in the pressure cooker of a 24-hour news channel, got involved in projects I don’t want to remember, met a bunch of lovely people, marked a couple of offer letters as spam and deleted WhatsApp permanently. These are some things I learned along the way.

1. Positive criticism, both ways, is a privilege. Don’t take it for granted or abuse it.

A defensive posture gets in the way of learning. So when people care enough to help us grow by showing us what we can do better, it’s something to appreciate. And when we have the opportunity to do the same for people, we must not turn criticism into a whip.

2. Great customer service can make a winner out of an average product.

Most highly recommended businesses put people first, and a straightforward way to pull that off is providing excellent support at almost any cost. Even ordinary things can seem exceptional when the world loves them.

3. Take your valuable work relationships beyond work. The benefits multiply.

It’s the invitation to a private event, a free cinema ticket, the walk to get lunch away from the office or the conversations about anything but work. We solidify the good bonds we form in a professional setting when we open up other parts of our lives. Benefits nonetheless, be careful when it’s a romantic interest.

4. Sleep is your superpower. (I promise.)

I’ve tried several things and found that nothing prepares me for a full day of work like a good night’s sleep. That and breakfast.

5. Rhetoric: No one will care how many sleepless nights it took for you to fail. So sleep.

The people we work for hardly ask us if we rested well or not because our methods are ours alone. The outcome is all they see. We might as well get as much rest as we can along the way.

6. Helping indiscriminately is a simple way to be outstanding. Do it without being asked.

People who give their time, money, whatever because they care are reminders that the world isn’t always a terrible place. And we like to be reminded of that often because it gives us hope, so we pay attention to those who light up the dark even a little bit. Be one of them.

7. When you fall in love with work, it stops being just work, it becomes a devotion.

And everything else can suffer when you worship work, so watch yourself.

8. Ask questions anywhere, any time. There’s no such thing as too much clarity.

There is no shame in asking, no weakness either. Human endeavour is rooted in curiosity as much as the need to prove something, and there can be no understanding without the search for answers.

9. You know more than you think you know, but not enough to justify being a pompous ass.

It’s a fact that we take in more information than we can process immediately, and we may never realise how much we know. But no matter how large our body of knowledge is, someone somewhere probably knows more. Be humble.

Serenity, The Wings Complex, Victoria Island

10. Take love to work. Take empathy, take decency and patience.

Our humanity matters more than the cutthroat competition to be the best, to be seen or to meet targets. When we lose ourselves in the office grind, we lose.

11. Rigidity is the weakness. Stay limber.

Flexible people (the ones who aren’t set in their ways or resistant to change) adapt faster and are quick to turn mistakes into learning points and move on. That’s enough reason to be rubber, not glass.

12. Meetings can be useless. Show up anyway and put your phone away.

You’re not better than the people who do.

13. Don’t try to fix the rest of your life with work. It doesn’t work.

When we bury ourselves in work to hide from our issues, we basically turn it into a drug. It may seem to help for a while, but those issues will deteriorate (because we’re not really addressing them) until they spill over and take the happiness out of work.

14. (If you have to choose,) lunch is good, breakfast is better.

Good days begin with good food. Cheesy, I know, but I’d rather eat a filling breakfast than eat a heavy lunch and fight sleep for the rest of the day.

15. Walking away is always an option.

Sometimes, leaving may seem like a wild move, but in your heart, you’ll know that staying is the actual madness. I knew, so I stepped out of the pressure cooker and never looked back. And yes, I deleted WhatsApp. The world did not end.

Photos are mine. Use without caution.