10 lessons I’ve learned after 3 years in a corporate job

10 lessons I’ve learned after 3 years in a corporate job

Whether we’ve chosen to go corporate, entrepreneurial or to join a smaller company, we all have our fair share of lessons learned. I decided to write today’s post as a quick list of recommendations I’ve gathered while working in a corporate environment. What better way to celebrate my soon upcoming 3-years work anniversary? Hurray! :) I’ve always enjoyed reading tips from professionals that work in different industries/sizes of organizations than the one I work for. I sometimes realized I was able to apply them in my own environment in all sorts of ways. As an entrepreneur you might want to look at corporations and develop some new processes… as a huge multinational, you might want to bring some entrepreneurial spirit between your troops in order to grow and get your revenues straight. Whatever works for you.

From the perspective of a still rather young professional, here are the aspects I discovered and thought you might want to look at:

1. Talk to your peers

I find it refreshing to find out what my colleagues are busy with, what their challenges are and where they could use a piece of advice. It gives me a sense of pride when I hear they have delivered a successful project and brings a positive vibe to my working day.  A quick catch-up will not only keep you up to speed with your organization’s pulse but also trigger new ideas that could help you with your own challenges.  Appreciate everyone’s qualities and see what is valuable in people. At the end of the day, you are part of one big (or gigantic) team :)

2. Track your actions to completion

Your approach on how to get things done can be very important, especially when you depend on a lot of other stakeholders to deliver on time. “Who needs to do what and by when?” – that is the golden question. Organize your daily actions according to it and the chances that you’ll miss some things will decrease. You’ll be more efficient this way and gain full control.

3. Be proactive

Things will not fall out of the sky for you if you don’t put an effort and have initiative. How can you improve your daily work? What could your team as a whole use to be more effective? Have you already checked the latest business insights that will keep you informed well in advance? Don’t wait for your annual review to think of those things, be fast and ahead of the crowd.

4. Don’t loose track of your career goals, make things happen for yourself

We all get involved in projects and contexts that might cause us to loose track of the bigger picture. Have your goals clear and in sight at all times. At the end of the day, we are the ones responsible for our own career and roadmap for the years to come. Keep asking yourself where you want to go and what you need to learn to get there.

5. Leave your comfort zone ASAP

Scared of giving presentations? Too bad, what you need to do is throw yourself out there. It’s nice and comfy to work like we are used to but that will not help us grow at a good enough pace. Even more, we might be caught off guard by some situation and not have the instinct to adapt to the new context we are in.

6. Plan & Prioritize

Plan daily/weekly/monthly and don’t forget to prioritize. Actually, as preached by Manu some while ago, you can choose to develop specific routines for your different types of activities. You know better if you’re a morning person or have most energy after lunchtime. Rotate tasks according to your needs and don’t loose track of always changing short-term priorities.

7. Keep short communication lines

Build working relationships, get to know one another, function as a team with your stakeholders. Don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and say ‘hi!’ if you don’t get an answer to that email. There might be a million reasons why that happened and with one call everything can be clarified.

8. Be assertive & stick to the point

Be clear on your feedback, positive or negative. Many of us might avoid giving negative feedback out of fear not to hurt a colleague or burn down bridges. If you want things to turn out well in the long run, that’s actually exactly what you need to do and be assertive while at it. Don’t allow any external factor to make you loose focus from your goals. In your communication, watch out not to overcomplicate things – clarity and to the point communication are extremely valuable in a performance-driven environment.

9. Be transparent and clear on your actions

Keep your team informed about the good and the bad. It’s important to be able to appreciate what your progress is and make it known to your peers. Only when challenges are clear to everyone, can the team jointly work to solve them and cover the risks.

10. Be curious

You might need to solve a particular type of problem but not have the prerequisites to start working.  Talk to people, ask around, examine the knowledge base, browse some books. Find the pleasure in solving the puzzle and taking up a good challenge instead of looking at your limitations.

We’re living times when, frankly, company size does not matter as much on your way to success. Small companies can compensate the lack of their own infrastructure with the cloud, the small marketing/PR budget with free social media and so on. Smart thing to do? Try to learn from each other more while pursuing our goals. Learn how to be competitive and also appreciate the value of your competitors :) Basically, let’s capitalize on each other :P I’m rounding up hoping I gave you some food for thought when heading to the office. Whether you are on-board of a large corporation or work in a fresh and ambitious startup, please do share your tips and feedback. It’s time to better ourselves professionally :)