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7 Important Lessons In Life My Work Taught Me. No. 5 Is The Best.

Lady at work with laptop

7 Excellent Lessons in Life You Can Learn At Work

Life is a great teacher. This process starts right from childhood and continues until we are willing to learn. Every age, every role we play adds to our repository of learnings knowingly or unknowingly. In many cases, we realise what life was telling us in retrospect while these lessons of life would have already influenced our mindsets & attitudes.

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The Learning Journey

Our first learning environment is our home. This is the most secure and insulated environment protecting us from so-called mad, bad world. Then cautiously we take baby steps to school where we socialise and start interacting with more “like us”. We start forming opinions, gathering experiences and learn to behave in a certain way.

Leaders in Heels Stationery to nurture, inspire and empower

We take these learnings into college, and our journey into adulthood gets a fresh new perspective which may completely change us as an individual and shape our future.

Across all these milestones, there is one common thread. Our brain is picking up signals and learning constantly. The next time a familiar situation happens, the brain goes back to this repository and picks up our reaction. And all this is without us consciously making an effort.

So let’s move on in our life journey. Now probably we are at the threshold of starting work. This is another big milestone in our lives for two reasons:

  • We are going to start this new adventure with a set of lessons we learnt from life until now.
  • This will be a testing ground for some of these lessons. Some may stay, some get tested and some actually take a U-turn.

Trust me I am saying this after more than two decades of work experience. I did go in with a certain set of values. At the core, those values are still intact. What has changed is my outlook towards people who may have a different set of values than mine and how to still work successfully together.

Do you want to know what helped me accomplish that?

Well, these 7 valuable lessons learned in the workplace are my success Mantra.

What Have I Learned At Work

Before we deep dive into these, a quick background on my job role, I am a project management specialist. I have been managing large scale process/project migrations across international markets for the last two decades.

Project Management involves working across multiple stakeholders who become your team members for a particular project. You may or may not have worked together earlier. We worked together as a team towards a common cause with a deadline set and agreed with a client.

Lady at work with Laptop

What are the most important lessons I have learned in my career ?

1. Its All About People

colleagues sitting in office in a meeting

No matter how tech-savvy a company is, ultimately you are dealing with people and their mindsets.

It is people who run the fanciest of machines & are responsible for the inputs which determine the output.

In my role as a project manager, this is one of the most important professional lessons learned.

Project management works on 2 basic principles:

Believe In People & Their Capabilities – I touched upon this in my blog on 5 Essential Life Lessons & why I feel this is the first step to building relationships at work. You need to trust people if you have to work with them.

Networking & Managing Relationships – Again a trait that I picked up from my seniors which proved that networking works like magic in business relationships.

Whenever we got stuck in a project, it was someone from the project team who had the Eureka moment, and we found our solution. Many a time when I needed help, I reached out to my network of people, and the help was around the corner. “ It will be done” is the most assuring answer you need as a project lead.

But the important thing to remember is that relationships & networking works on give & take. So you must be willing to go that extra mile to help someone to build credibility & for them to return the favour.

2. Life At Work Is Not Always Fair

2 ladies in office. One not happy

You may have toiled day and night & given your best to the job, but you may still not get that coveted promotion or an increment. Worst still, you will see less-deserving colleagues getting promoted. Too bad but that’s the reality.

There can be 2 scenarios here:

  • Maybe my perception of the capability of my colleague is wrong
  • There is a genuine miss.

You may want to raise this with relevant folks within the organisation and sometimes you do get a perspective that you may be oblivious of.  But even if you don’t get a satisfactory answer, it is better to move on. There is no point in ruminating about the issue lest it makes you bitter.  Either move on from the issue or the job.

And my work lesson as for project manager is, life is certainly not fair most of the times. Suddenly computers will not work, or people will not turn up, or there will be a transport strike. Then what do you do? Read the next point for the answer.

3. Always Have a Plan B

Lady sharing what she learned at work on a board

Especially when you are in a field where everyday matters and there is a strong interdependence between various tasks.

When I work on projects, I insist that we brainstorm for all the alternatives available and incorporate them into our planning process. In case of an eventuality, Plan B is available and can be triggered. The next point reinforces this thought. Read on.

4. There is always a solution

Person with bulb in hand

There is no problem that does not have a solution. The solution may not be the desired one, but there is a solution.  

Needless to say, we need to ensure that the solution does not compromise on the fundamentals like quality/durability/core values etc.

 E.g., In some projects, there was a requirement of overhauling the production floor, which would delay production. The solution was to start production from training rooms as a stop-gap arrangement. But we ensured that the training rooms were certified by the clients first before moving into production.

5. Have a Dependable Team

Team Photo

If you are fortunate enough to lead a team, this will be your biggest work lesson and the most valuable asset. A leader is only as strong as the weakest link in this chain. And this is true at all levels – from a Team leader to a CEO.

It's important to have a team that trusts you and whom you can trust because you cannot be everywhere. You don't have to have “Mini-Yous”. Encourage diversity in your team so that you get different perspectives and opinions; & they make the entire experience of working together richer and worthwhile. However, they need to share the same passion, same vision and the same ideology that you stand for. Their implementation approach may be different.

I have been fortunate enough to have a wonderful team who have played an important part in my successful stint as a Project management head and me in theirs.

6. Do Not Burn Bridges

Handshake in front of files

Very easy to do but impossible to mend. The corporate world is small, and you never know when you will bump into someone again. Even if you have to part ways, do it amicably.

Remember your reputation precedes you and many a times, such incidents add on to the grapevine.

Again in my role, it’s the same set of people that I may have to reach out to time and again. Therefore there is no point in holding a grudge or spoiling a relation.

On the other hand, it always helps me to understand the reason behind someone’s behaviour and most of the times its got nothing to do with me or my job. This helps me to be non-judgemental and open to a mature conversation.

Once we know that our entire approach towards that person may change.

7. Stay Away from Toxicity

Lady indicating stop with hand

Please note , I mentioned Toxicity and not Toxic people. We need to learn to separate the two.

Some people are always negative and have an opinion about everything. They may be a part of your extended team and you have no choice but to work with them.

In such cases, my approach is two folds:

First - as I mentioned earlier was to understand why the person is so toxic. If I get to know that, maybe I can help the person if possible.

Second – if there is no way I can find out the reason, I at least will not fan this toxicity. Whenever that person starts his/her speel, I try to divert the topic or steer him/her towards something positive.

This is important for my peace of mind otherwise I will also get into a toxic spiral which is extremely harmful.

Again in my role, this was quite common as project management can be a hotbed for blame game and finger pointing.

My approach has always been, what is done is done; let's move on from here towards the solution.

To summarise:

I personally feel that my work life has helped me become a more compassionate, organised, focussed & people person.

Lady at work

What about you? What are the most important lessons you've learned in your career? Do share your thoughts in the comment below.

And if you like this blog, share with your friends & colleagues at work.

If you would like to be a part of my tribe, please do subscribe to my Newsletter.

I have had the most valuable learning experiences at work & will always cherish them.

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Rippy Gauba
Rippy Gauba

I am a working professional and a mom of 2 teen daughters. I realised my passion for writing during the pandemic and thus My Ripple Effect was born. Though my corporate commitments take a major part of my day, I am very particular about spending quality time with my family, my pet CoCo, painting and blogging.

I write on Mindset, Motivation & Management. These are everyday, practical tips I picked up from my personal & professional life. These learnings have impacted my life as an individual, as a parent and as a working professional. I am sure these will be useful for you too and help create Ripples of change in your lives & that's my intention.

Welcome Aboard!!

2 thoughts on “7 Important Lessons In Life My Work Taught Me. No. 5 Is The Best.”

  1. Dr Minni Chadha?

    In professional arena… it’s mostly about people… if you know how to deal with different set of personalities… half the work is done…
    And positivity & empathetic attitude goes a long way creating a work friendly environment.
    You create bonds at work place which last a lifetime.

  2. Pingback: 9 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self -My Ripple Effect

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