What I Learned After A Year On The Job
Aug. 8 2017, Published 3:00 a.m. ET
I recently celebrated my one-year jobiversary and have been reflecting on all the months of hard work and growth that have gotten me to where I am today. My current job wasn’t a job I was looking for or dreaming up, it was a job that found me. A recruiter approached me at the right place and the right time with the right offer, so I took a blind leap of faith into a career where the lines were anything but clear. In hindsight, it was the best career decision I’ve ever made. I have grown both professionally and personally in ways I didn’t even know were possible.
The most valuable lessons that I’ve learned have less to do with skill and education and more to do with gaining a deeper understanding of myself, my career, and my philosophy of work.
Diverse opinions and viewpoints are valued.
There are times in a corporate setting where it’s easy to feel like there is only one right way to complete a task. 8-5 jobs can be regimented and processes can be rigid, which leaves little room for creativity and expressing your take on things. This year I learned that not all jobs have to be like that. I work on a small team of three, including myself, where we’re encouraged to state our opinions and viewpoints. That’s not to say that they are always welcomed with open arms, but they are welcomed into the conversation. It’s a great feeling to not be afraid to say what you truly think and feel regarding a work project or a situation. Everyone should always feel like that voice matters and is openly accepted, especially in the workplace.
Open communication is the best communication.
Communication is key in any relationship, and work is no exception. From day one at my job, they outlined what was expected of me. We were encouraged to have conversations regarding work and our schedules and even our personal lives. In the workplace, we’re shifting towards a culture where our jobs and our personal lives are no longer two separate entities. The best way to nurture this environment is to have honest conversations. This means that you can talk about when you want to leave early for a yoga class, just as easily as what your responsibilities are in your current role and what skills you’d like to learn. Feeling a sense of comfort to speak openly with your team makes your work more enjoyable and helps you to do better work.
You can work from home and actually get work done.
I used to think working from home meant that I hardly had to work if I just checked in on my emails every once and awhile. My view on remote work was completely wrong. My job and my team provide me with the opportunity to work from home a couple days a week, as a way to help better manage work, life, and my sanity. I learned very quickly that flexible work arrangements do not mean working less. There are often days where I work more hours than I would in an office setting because I’m focused and I’m not spending time commuting. Working from home is an art that takes time to master and once you do the results can be amazing for both your to-do list and your mental health.
You naturally gravitate towards your strengths (even if you don’t know what they are yet).
When I started my current job, I had recently left what I thought was going to be my forever career. I quickly realized that what I received my degree in was a path I no longer wanted to pursue. It was hard to come to terms with leaving behind my old vision of the future for the unknown. I was eager to figure out what my next career steps would be and I gladly accepted the opportunity to work in my current role.
I’m thankful to work with a team of individuals who are nurturing of strengths and forgiving of weaknesses. It became apparent very quickly that I was the communications guru of the team. It didn’t matter that I was new to the role and the company, they let me run with my strengths; strengths which had not been unearthed or utilized in my previous roles. It goes to show that sometimes we are unaware of our best qualities until someone or something brings them to light. The confidence I gained in my new role led me to start writing outside of work and has blossomed tenfold as the months went by. It goes to show we are all good at something, we just may not know what that something is yet.
It’s so important for our professional and personal growth to take a moment from time to time to look back at how far we’ve come. It may seem like baby steps in the day to day, but it’s amazing how much we can learn and how much we can achieve in such a short period of time.