HippieInspiration / Stories

Pajama@Work: 7 Things About Life I’m Learning at My First Job

Alright. Before I jump into this article, let me take a few lines to explain why I’ve been AWOL for so long: I got a job (in case you missed the heading)! It took a couple of failed attempts but I finally ended up with a job I love. Me, with all my fear of corporates and routines, finally found some place I’m happy to show up at everyday, and looking back at the past eight(!!) months, I still can’t believe it sometimes.

There have been lots of other big changes and I’ll talk about them in my own time, but today I primarily want to talk about what the workplace has taught me so far. Here are 7 lessons I have learnt at work that extend beyond the cubicle: 

1.Silence is Golden

This is not situation-specific: it doesn’t apply only to colleagues. This applies to every single relationship in your life. I’ve found that mincing words, or better yet, staying quiet, especially in a circumstance where you are in the right usually proves to be very rewarding. Resisting the urge to retaliate right in the heat of the moment is good for two reasons: one, it saves you from saying something too harsh that you might end up regretting later, and two, it gives you a chance to reflect on the situation, find out the problem and make sure it doesn’t happen again. And dare I point out the sweet, sweet sleep that comes out of knowing you’re in control of your emotions? Hello, inner peace!

2.People Cannot Be Stereotyped. Period.

I used to think travelling is the only way of meeting all sorts of people. It sounds ridiculous now. You meet all sorts of people at work too, and every single one of them teaches you something. Just when you’ll think you have a person figured out and neatly labelled under a stereotype, based on their work, or their interests, or even their language, they will show you a side you never thought they had. And also, people are not black or white. Most of them are grey: sometimes, the people you don’t like very much will come through for you and you will end up questioning why you didn’t like them in the first place. But remember, the reverse is equally true.

3.Listening is a Rare Skill

This is probably my most amusing finding. Listening, really listening, is a highly underrated and rare skill. What has that taught me about life? Well, that most people end up in therapy because they have no one that’ll listen to them. While you can’t listen to them all, and certainly not at the cost of your own well-being, lending a sympathetic ear, or really, just offering the occasional “are you okay?” to anyone looking like they could use it, goes a long way. Most people do not talk about their problems to get a solution in return, they just want to feel understood and a little less alone in their heads. Needless to say, empathy and listening enforce each other. Anyone who has them is bound to have a lot of friends.

4.How you Respond to a Screw Up Matters More Than the Actual Screw Up

Trust me when I say what you think is a big screw up will be forgotten eventually, but how you chose to handle the situation won’t be. Committing mistakes is part of learning and growing not just as a professional, but as an individual. However, when you do screw up, apologize, own up, fix the situation if you can, and if you can’t, gently communicate that you’ll take care it doesn’t repeat itself again. But hey, remember to set boundaries and expect the same kind of standards from people around you. Self love is real!

5.Some Days Routines Save Your Life

Okay, this one was definitely an epiphany. You know, pop culture only shows us the bad side of routines. No one EVER talks about how on days when life is an unfathomable mess and you’re caught up in something ugly, your routine will save your sanity. Listen, I am not saying redundant routines are always good. Please bash them when they deserve it and if you’ve been unhappy for a long time. All I’m saying is there is another side to them, the side that gives you comfort and something to hold on to, the side that sometimes becomes the only surety in your life when everything else is a giant ball of uncertainty. You have to experience it to believe it.

6.Unexpected Tasks Will Reveal Skills You Never Thought You Had

No one likes those days. You know the ones I’m talking about. The headache-inducing ones where you thought it’s going to be a relatively easy one but then a random task comes out of nowhere and now you’re stuck for God-knows-how-long. But think about it: without those days, you would never realize your true potential, your ability to multitask, to get shit done, to collaborate across teams, to make something you’ve never made before all the while under a strict time frame. And while keeping your calm.

7.Being Kind Will Help You Out in Unexpected Ways

Being kind. What is it really? Is it offering that “are you okay?” and reconfirming even though the person said yes? Is it sharing your food? Is it remembering little things about other people? Is it complimenting someone on a job well done? Is it offering to share the workload when you’ve got plenty of your own? Is it lending a sympathetic ear with no expectations in return? Is it sharing jokes? Is it introducing yourself, offering the first handshake with no ulterior motive in mind? It’s all of these things, and since you never really know what a person is going through, you will be surprised how much impact a little gesture makes.

Work teaches you new things about life everyday. More importantly, it teaches you new things about yourself everyday. Like how I thought I could never survive a 9to5, let alone enjoy it.

But only if you care enough to seek the lessons out.


May 3, 2020 at 9:37 pm


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