Sunday, March 30, 2008
Nuggets of Wisdom from the Work Place
(Thanks Dr. Russell for the photo.)
Twelve years is a long time to be out of the academic arena. Coming back in, after working in two separate, and very diverse career fields, has been difficult. However, after listening and engaging in several discussions about graduation jitters and future uncertainties with several bright, educated, enthusiastic Seniors, I began to realize that perhaps my transition was not as difficult as I thought.
While my own undergraduate graduation seems murky and long-gone, the thought of things I wish I'd known still lingers. So, with that sentiment, I do have some words of advice I would like to share. Here they are, for whatever they are worth:
1. Hand-holding stopped in kindergarten. It's up to YOU to be assertive. Don't be afraid to ask questions or admit you don't know something. BUT, be willing to take initiative to find the answers you are seeking.
2. No one expects you to come into a job knowing everything. What is expected is enthusiasm. You need to take the lead (even if you are relatively clueless) and, at the same time, exude a humbleness in acknowledging that you still have a lot to learn.
3. Remember that all of your bosses, leaders and members of the upper echelon started somewhere. Most likely, they were just as nervous jumping, feet first, into the professional realm. Just realize, they continue to put their pants on one leg at a time - just like everyone else. Don't idolize them. Learn from them and respect how far they've come.
4. Everything is as you choose to make it. That means your ATTITUDE is key. Do you choose to be positive and welcome challenges as growth opportunities or negative and view them as another painful process you have to go through? What you put out is what you will get back.
5. No one, no thing and the World in general owes you nothing. Conversely, I have come to believe that we owe of ourselves and can do best by giving the World our gifts. Take some time to hone in on your passions, your gifts and your strengths. Then use these to the betterment of humanity and the world at large.
6. DON'T BE AFRAID to listen to your intuition and follow your dreams. While it sounds cliche, we are given intuition for a reason - to fulfill your life's purpose. If you follow your gut, you will follow your passion and, in doing so, will create happiness.
7. Don't get wrapped up in the rumor mill and office politics. It's not worth your time or energy. The negativity that is inevitably associated with these things is an energy sap and you could spend your talents and time in much more creative, worthwhile endeavors.
8. Hard work pays off. Truthfulness pays off. Being true to yourself and who you inherently are pays off. Don't try to be someone or something you are not. You are a unique INDIVIDUAL for a reason. Capitalize on your own uniqueness and quit trying to be like everyone else. How boring would this world be if we were all alike?
9. In the long run, material gain is NOT important. Your compassion, light and willingness to take the time to help others (yes, even your neophyte coworkers) is what counts. Leadership is often a lesson learned by example. BE that example. Don't be afraid...your intuition will guide you.
10. Probably the toughest lesson yet - BALANCE. Work is important (it pays the bills) but family and self is important too. Don't forget about yourself - as this is the easiest element to let go of. When EVERYTHING else takes priority in your life, remember, YOU are just as important as the job, the career, the kids' soccer game, the grocery shopping. Don't be selfish but don't let your DREAMS and SELF disappear as you move forward.
So, that's it - my nuggets of wisdom. I realize there are a lot of DON'Ts in this post. (Ironically, negatives words are often ones I tend to shy away from.) However, after a 12 year learning process, it seems easier to point out the negatives (which I struggled through) in this post because I think these are the things which will benefit those the most.
To the graduating Seniors...good luck and stay positive. Be aware and positive in your actions and the rest will take care of itself.