Young Professionals and Fresh Graduates often write and ask for advice on surviving the corporate jungle. My view is simple – Continue the journey with the same passion and energy as college life. Do not stress too much – things will fall in place, as young blood is smart, talented and resourceful – forget surviving, you will rule the corporate world.
The following are the things that I have often repeated and worth listing today:
Life is about learning and moving ahead. Young professionals need to focus on acquiring key skills that will differentiate from the rest of the crowd. Even senior executives need to learn, unlearn and learn – constant renewal is a key requirement. If you have nothing to add to your resume every year, think hard! Today is the world of multiple skills.
Money is important but learning is more important. Seek opportunities to learn. Volunteer to assist on organizational initiatives. Ask for responsibilities and more work. The pace of learning will decide the rate of financial returns!
Be a lifetime student!
2. Focus On Fundamentals
Focus on the business fundamentals. Help the organization to achieve its goals and needs. Learn the flow of money in the organization. Study the executive leadership speeches and industry expert analysis to determine the strategic priorities. And then focus on excelling in these areas. You will rise faster in the organization. And will be more visible as well! No matter what the challenge, never loose sight of the business fundamentals and things should be fine.
Not every work that comes your way will help man to land on the moon. Sometimes watering the plant and ensuring lights on is important. The point is that be flexible to work outside your comfort zone. Be flexible to adapt to changes and new assignments. Leaders emerge and thrive on changes where normal executive fear change. Risk taking is very important.
Finally, no work is strategic or stupid. It is our approach that makes the work stupid or strategic.
Be the best gardener in the world. Be the best designer in the world. Be the best chef in the world. Pursuit of excellence wins! Always!
It requires lot of hard work, dedication and persistence. But the results are always sweet.
Keep attending industry events. Ready magazines and blogs. Discuss ideas with people. Lead small experiments at work!
5. Accept Failures
Failure and success are the two sides of the same coin. Sometimes despite the best-planned efforts, there is a failure. Learn from failure. Failure is an important part of the journey to success. Do not get disappointed or stressed due to failure. Analyze failure and find opportunities to learn from it. Just do not make the same mistake twice!
As they, if you are not failing enough, you are doing something wrong. Jeff Bezos said recently: Failure comes part and parcel with inventions – it is not optional.
6. Team Work & Interpersonal Skills
The modern workplace demands huge amount of teamwork and interaction. Learn to be a good team player. Understand that everyone has an important role and organizational goals can be achieved only through pooled efforts. Learn to work in teams and support team members. If people do not collaborate or do not know how to work together, it is going to affect their individual as well as group performance. Lack of interpersonal skills is a recipe for extinction.
Ordinary or extraordinary times – nothing works like teamwork.
7. Shun Politics
When people do not have anything to show, politics comes into picture. Corporate politics is a reality but it is something that will hit you back – mostly at the time when you don’t want it to be. In large organization with walls of silos and layers of bureaucracy, people may have lot of time at disposal. But it is best invested in learning and self-growth rather than politics. Corridor chats or little gossip does not harm but when people spend most of the time on others and not self, it is a problem. The world and organization usually gets the wind of performers as well as non-performers – so it is better to focus on job at hand. And for people at the start of the career or planning to rise the corporate ladder, politics could be career-killer.
8. Seek Feedback
People do not give unsolicited advice. So seek feedback in formal and informal ways to enable further improvement in work. Seeking feedback is a good sign of confidence and self-improvement. Of course, do not get defensive or judgmental about feedback. Take it with a pinch of salt but analyze it and act on it if appropriate.
9. Health & True Wealth
In the pursuit of corporate journey, never neglect the two important aspects of life – Health and Family! Life is beyond designations, material success and killer resume.
Family and Friends are critical bases in our journey of life. Not only they give celebrate our success and ease our burdens but they are our mirrors. The glories and happiness of life will be less exciting when you are alone!
Similarly, Health is your best friend. Neglect health only at your risk. Today’s jobs are demanding with lot of travel and long hours – if you cannot cope up and keep good health, it could slow you down. Basic fitness is required for a sharp mind and top gun.
Finally, the most important is to have fun and continue to enjoy the journey of life. All work and no play create dull managers and leaders. So keep the passion and energy level high. Not only you will have less stress in life but also it will act as a great bond in the team. A good sense of humor and the curiosity of child will always be your good friends.
Finally, just believe in self. Be natural. Continue to have innocence of child and zeal for excellence. Love what you do and success will follow. Enjoy!