Career: 62 Tips To Make Your Job Terrific (Lessons Learned)

August 1st marked another milestone in my career. I can proudly state that I have five years of experience in the software field! To a “seasoned” professional, it might not be a big deal. But it is to me!

In school, I was a shy kid with average grades. I don’t think, any of the straight A students thought I would be where I am today. I am still in touch with some of them, and I know my career stands out. (Yes, I am tooting my own horn! Do cut some slack. On a day like this, I think I am entitled to it!).
So what got me to where I am today? (Obviously, it’s not my Einstein brilliance!) Below are 62 of the most powerful “on the job” lessons in my life. Just because I wrote it here doesn’t mean that I excel in all these areas. But I try……. I encourage you to share yours by leaving a comment below.

Team work
1. Style differences can create barriers between people, if you let them.
2. Be willing to give and take.
3. Step up and do the part for the team.
4. Recognize and accept weaknesses and strengths of others.
5. Set the right expectation to your team members, clients, superiors.
6. Re-frame your focus from who is right to what is right.
7. Understand that others may see you differently from the way you see yourself.
8. Let cranky people be cranky; don’t take it personally.
9. Participate in other activities; get to know your team members
10. Be fun to be with!

Getting things done
11. Commitment starts in the heart; Commitment is tested by action.
12. Put a stop to putting it off (procrastination!); challenge your excuses.
13. The best way to learn something is to dive right in to it.
14. Remember, the first step is always the hardest!
15. If things don't shape up the way you expect, it doesn’t mean everything else is doomed as well.
16. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
17. You will not have interesting work to do 100% of the time.
18. Be open to try out new things, if your present work becomes too boring.
19. Be responsible and answerable to the work assigned.
20. Take time to celebrate small victories.

Leadership
21. Give people hope; inspire them and gain respect.
22. Work to understand the style and motivation of others.
23. Be decisive; your career depends on it!
24. Position and title doesn’t come with automatic rights.
25. Be aware of the connection between your fears and your judgments.
26. Focus first on the what, then on the how, and only then on the when.
27. Delegate wisely.
28. Always focus on the real issues, not on blame.
29. Practice ethical leadership and followership.
30. The higher you fly, the more you will be shot at!

Communication
31. Express yourself clearly.
32. Listen in order to be understood!
33. Don't dodge the spotlight! Get over the fear of public speaking.
34. Speak up at meetings.
35. Write meaningful, unsolicited reports when required.
36. Develop allies in other departments.
37. Harness the power of humor.
38. Confronting an issue does not have to be hostile or aggressive.

Productivity
39. Before you can deliver stellar results, you have to define meaningful goals.
40. Write a clear action plan.
41. Set your priorities
42. Learn how to say “no” gracefully.
43. Stop trying to be a perfectionist.

Work/Life balance
44. Work is not life; life is not work!
45. Know the priorities EARLY;
46. During times of personal turbulence, sit tight and see it through.
47. When required wear a poker face.

Personal/Career growth
48. Identify your weak areas and try to improve them.
49. Distinct yourself from others; find out what make you uncommon.
50. You are as good as you decide to be.
50. Capitalize on your strengths.
51. Learn to choose your reactions, instead of reacting automatically.
52. No matter what you hear, or see, always believe in yourself.
53. Give and ask feedback.
54. Handle criticism gracefully.
55. Fight only your own battles, and choose them wisely.
56. Do your best, and make sure that your best is exactly what is needed.

General
57. Be punctual, it makes you appear smart (even if you are not!).
58. Learn from mistakes (Yours and others!)
59. Do what you say and say what you do.
60. Done means done!
61. Find a mentor.
62. Make it easy for your boss to promote you!

If I go on, I’ll be writing too many :-) I will leave you with one more sentence. Perhaps, it summarizes the entire post!

Be reliable, honest, respectful, optimistic, professional, and resourceful.

If you have any lessons to add, I encourage you to share them with us in the comments below.

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12 comments:

Marelisa said...

Congratulations! Of course you get to toot your own horn. I think #6 (reframe your focus from who is right to what is right) is so important. When something goes wrong in an organization you usually see the ugly blame game being played, and that's just not constructive. Learning to choose your actions instead of just blindly reacting is also important #51. Very nice post.

Shamelle said...

Thanks Marelisa.

Jonathan Frye from Leadership Jot said...

Hi Shamelle,

The very fact that you have written such a lessons learned list is a testament to your accomplishment in experience. I would dare to say you may have gained more from your experiences than many "seasoned professionals."

Writer Dad said...

For me, it's about communication. My wife and I do everything together; run a pre-school, and now on to my writing. I couldn't do it without her. Our communication is rock solid. We both know how to give and accept constructive criticism. It makes all the difference in the world.

By the way, what you said in my comments was the nicest thing said, specifically about my writing, by anyone since I started two weeks ago. Thank you, very much. I really appreciate it.

Lindsay said...

Well, I'm not employed by anyone except myself, but this certainly looks like a wise list.

I'm actually listening to "The Magic of Thinking Big" audiobook right now, and it also has a lot of good ideas for getting what you want out of life and enjoying what you get. :)

Shamelle said...

@Jonathan :Believe it or not it took me about 5 hours to write this post!I enjoyed every minute of it! With each and every point I was able recall a certain incident that took place.
Thank you for your kind words.

@Writer Dad: Yes, good communication is vital, whether its a career or your relationships.
I meant every word of what I said in the comments.

@Lindsay :Well, I am sure being self employed has its benefits. ;-0)
Yes, I read "The Magic of Thinking Big" a few months ago, and it is very motivating!

Monika Mundell said...

Hi Shamelle: A huge congratulations to you. You certainly deserve to tout your own brilliance here. Loved your list, so many powerful words.

BTW, you have a great and interesting blog here too.

Shamelle said...

@Monika: Thank you so much. It means a lot to me.

gypsy-heart said...

Congratulations..you have a right to be proud, and your list is an excellent one!

You know I had some rough experiences in childhood. For a long time a lot of my "journey" was about proving people wrong about what I could and couldn't do. Somewhere along the way "they" were no longer the reason. In fact, I honor them now for they inspired me to do try to do better. Life lessons are funny sometimes..eh? :)

Good and creative energies to you!!

rummuser said...

You have been very thorough and it is difficult to add to the list. I would however simply say one thing and that is a dash of humility. Grace plays a great role in all our lives. To act, we need knowledge, experience, skill and the physical strength. When using all these, you act, the outcome can be any of four possible ones: Exactly as you expected, better than you expected, lower than what you expected and completely different from what you had expected. Whatever is the result, is Natures gift to us. To treat is as such, without getting into any kind of reaction is the way to live a successful life.

My congratulations for all that you have achieved.

Martin Wildam said...

Thanks for this compact and good structured post!

HumourForAll said...

Team work
1. Style differences can create barriers between people -> put on 6 thinking hats always !
2. Be willing to give and take. Be proactive!
3. Step up and do the part for the team. Go extra miles !
4. Recognize and accept weaknesses and strengths of others. Encourage everyone’s growth by finding and being the best of themselves !
5. Set the right expectation to your team members, clients, superiors -> one minute-page goal setting always!
6. Re-frame your focus from who is right to what is right. Put the team spirit on top of other thing ie TEAM for Together Everyone Achieve More !!
7. Understand that others may see you differently from the way you see yourself -> ensure good communication flow at all time.
8. Let cranky people be cranky; don’t take it personally.
9. Participate in other activities; get to know your team members
10. Be fun to be with!

Getting things done
11. Commitment starts in the heart; Commitment is tested by action.
12. Put a stop to putting it off (procrastination!); challenge your excuses. Use TNT for ground-breaking always ie Today, Not Tomorrow
13. The best way to learn something is to dive right in to it after getting adequate knowledge; preferably from an experienced mentor. After all, LUCK is Labour Under Correct Knowledge.
14. Remember, the first step is always the hardest! However, a good start is half a success at hand!
15. If things don't shape up the way you expect, it doesn’t mean everything else is doomed as well -> learn to stay calm, relax and sane at setbacks, resistance and stress.
16. Don’t be afraid to ask for help -> it causes NOTHING.
17. You will not have interesting work to do 100% of the time -> but, remember, ‘Do whatever you enjoy, and enjoy whatever you do!!’
18. Be open to try out new things, if your present work becomes too boring -> afterall, no venture, no gain
19. Be responsible and answerable to the work assigned.
20. Take time to celebrate small victories -> will keep you motivated

Leadership
21. Give people hope and maintain their esteem; inspire them to self-actualize and gain respect.
22. Work to understand the style and motivation of others. Give one minute praising !
23. Be decisive; your career depends on it -> Afterall, destiny is shaped at the moment of decision !
24. Position and title doesn’t come with automatic rights to lose temper, throw tantrum, lose self-control, lose perspective, lose sanity
25. Be aware of the connection between your fears and your judgements -> feel the fears, take a deep breath in and do away with them; then sleep on any particular issue/problem for at least one night - before making any major judgement

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