Past year has been hectic professionally. Exactly a year ago I was planning on how I would take my milestone forward. Yes, this was going to be my promotion year. Everyone welcomes it in their own style. What was my style going to be?
I was a year old in my organization, had a good bunch of friends and was a few years experienced in my field. I had always been one of the best amongst my colleagues but this time I was in a pool of highly skilled and competitive brains. I felt tiny. Everyone around was knowledgeable, they discussed technology, and I felt unequipped as I was balancing home along with work; no time to read, learn more and contribute to their intelligent conversations. My routine was – complete task at job, finish off chores at home, eat and sleep. I was aware of my shortcomings and very well knew that my learning curve was zero. I wanted to do thousands of things but could never tick them off my list. So, I planned to not plan!
I had a notion that being the best at what you do suffices. It wasn’t true, a lot of extra things came along in the package. I faced the ocean of challenges, struggled but learnt to sail my ship and here I am today, happy and contented, a mile away from my goal but the destination doesn’t matter anymore. Whaaattt? Hell yeah, and I have a few takeaways from my journey to share.
#1 Communicate and be receptive
I had a pre-conceived notion about few of my colleagues from the hearsay. A few unpleasant experiences with them and it piled up. I decided to confront at the peak of my frustration and discuss the grievances. Contrary to my expectation, they were amenable and dayum! my problem didn’t look like a problem anymore. Things became simpler and relationship with them improved. Today I can proudly say that they are one of the few people at work whom I confide in. Sometimes it’s all in the head, so talk, clarify, suggest, receive and ameliorate.
#2 Be patient
I was assigned tasks which would disparage me but I decided not to give in. Every time I was belittled I remembered my mom’s words “no job is big or small. We should respect everyone and every job because God knows no discrimination.” This inspiration kept me on my toes, I accepted and completed every task with patience and a smile on my face. Over the course of time, I was entrusted with bigger and better tasks. It was either for my will-power or for my reliability. Whatever it was, I was shining… slowly, but brighter every day.
#3 Ignore what people say
People would tease me for the work I was given but I chose to ignore the noise. I had realized it sooner that I was laughing at the same things few months back. It is only when you step in, you understand. I knew in my mind that this is a relay race, next year one of them would be the butt of the joke and they will participate with no scorn. So, disregard and keep going.
#4 Stay calm and smile
I am a frank person who is never able to tolerate biases, wannabes and liars and always have a comeback. I used to fight back right in their faces. This wasn’t helping me. The audience would enjoy the show and I would be left with a tarnished reputation. I decided to control my anger and the urge to get others right. I repeated in my head ‘not here for social service’. I made deliberate attempts to stay calm, think and understand the ‘why’ behind the person’s words and actions. I refrained from speaking when irritated. People provoked me to speak, but I politely refused and stayed away. This brought peace to my mind and also fostered my mood. I wasn’t perfect yet, there were leaks sometimes and I got the punches back. Stay calm and smile was the remedy every time.
#5 Adhere to your principles
At one point I was leading a team and I had to rate people relative to each other where everyone was a friend. My mind and heart were at conflict. I decided to stick to my principles after a thorough contemplation. No biases! I took some hard calls and shared an honest feedback. A few friends were unhappy but I was devoid of any guilt. It is rightly said –
“You can’t let people ping pong you around, put your foot down, stick to your principles and empower your spirit”
#6 Don’t judge and keep your opinion to yourself
I worked with multiple teams throughout the year and led some of them. I had good experiences with people who had tainted personas and vice versa. This is when I realized that everyone is better in their own capacity. I stopped judging and mocking them for their lack of knowledge on a particular subject, understanding that they might be an expert in something else. I refrained from spreading my opinion unless it was constructive, instead I tried to give them their time to pursue and identified their strengths to learn from. Everyone is a teacher and everyone is a pupil. It is only through mutual-understanding and mutual-learning that an individual and hence, a team grows.
#7 Never stop learning
I sincerely worked towards my learning curve, reflected on my shortcomings and vices throughout the year, identified my flaws, worked on correcting them and repeated this exercise. I feel that I have become a better person. More peace and power! I kept my technical caps on too, always flexible to take up new assignments, excited to explore new technologies, find time to read and implement the solution. This has helped me build my own brand value at work. I can now delightfully boast that this eventful year has groomed me into a complete package, still have some scope to refine though! I am not sure if I will be promoted or not, but I have already gained enough, thinking about which gives me an immense satisfaction. I have resolved to never stop learning. Life is a forever teacher, be a student forever!