Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Do what you dig


Today I had lunch with a manager in my department and I found myself learning about really important skills that I can take with me wherever I go professionally. I got the sense that he was trying to teach me lessons through his mistakes, something that I do frequently to younger girls on my squash team and in nursing, there’s no better way to learn. Working within a corporate organization is like learning a new language, there is a science to it, it takes experience and time to master, and each person learns it differently and progresses at their own pace.

  • Public Speaking

I think I am just beginning to grasp how important this skill is to have in life. Being able to confidently persuade your audience on what you are speaking about is a talent and something that can provide increased job opportunities. It is important to use any opportunity you have to practice such skills such at a small meeting where your boss is there—maybe you do such a great job presenting material internally that when it is time for the presentation to the VP, boss lady remembers your presentation at the small meeting earlier in the month, and you get the job. Or just putting pictures on the slides so the audience is forced to look at the presenter rather than squinting at the tables and graphs. Or standing to the left of the screen so the audience looks at you then follows the natural path of their eye left to right on the screen. I’m making it a goal to practice my public speaking whenever I can. Volunteering to give presentations at school and finding courses offered at school are where I will start.

  • “Do what you dig”

It’s simple. Do what you like in life. Don’t work your life away. He told me stories about people he used to work within the banking world where he thought they  were in the late 50’s based upon the wrinkles and grey hair, only to learn that they were in their early 30’s. Find the balance between wanting a family and also furthering your career aspirations. Take your maternity time and don’t feel guilty about it, you’ll be paying for childcare while you work so you might as well spend that time with your baby. Try and get paternity leave too, more people at home to help. Don’t solely focus on your career because then you will be 45, sick of work and wanting to start a family and realizing it’s too late.

  • Keep your private life private

I need to start thinking of myself as a product, something I have to market. When I’m at work, I am trying to do my best to market myself as the competent worker that I am. Therefore, what I do after I leave the door at 5pm stays with me, and me only. I think this is a very interesting idea that I hadn’t thought much about. Say hypothetically, that I tell my cubicle friend when she asked me about my weekend that I went to a concert, found some new drugs a dude was giving out, tried them, went gambling, then hitchhiked all the way to California, but hey, made it back for work on Monday! Now when I’m giving a presentation on work that we are doing, I am suddenly the crazy drug hitchhiker concert lady instead of the competent worker. And maybe that information that I told in secret to a coworker friend suddenly comes out months later out of context, suddenly my career is in jeopardy. He told me that he has gotten lots of facebook requests from novo employees, but he ignores them all as his private life is separate from work. It’s a good lesson for everyone to remember especially the way social media is driving the world.  He also discussed that you don’t have to be buddy buddy with everyone that you work with, but “you get paid to get along with everyone”.

I didn’t ask for any of the stories that helped to create these lessons, but I was thankful for him sharing. I spend so much of my time at school trying to just learn the ropes of the university and hospital setting, that I haven’t even thought of the ropes in the corporate, job seeking world and after this lunch I am more aware of all the lessons that are out there, and I am sure that I will learn my fair share the hard way as well.


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