The Not-so-daily Growth Blog #39/365 | 6 things you should focus on in your first (or new) job
Guess who’s back! Back again! Shady’s back! Back again!
Where was I? Ah, I was drooling in the beauty of a new life, new energy and new experience.
Oh, the excitement of a new job — The freshness, the joy of being an amateur and the vulnerability of one’s discomfort in one’s out-of-comfort-zone.
Sheer bliss. (Well, most of the time).
Long long ago, when I first started working (after my MBA), I had felt similar feelings but it was different back then. There was an office, there were people in that office, there was a team I could speak to, ‘board meetings’ I could listen in on and an induction program that involved ‘team-bonding’ activities.
It is a lot more ‘lonely’ now. You get up from the same bed, sit on the same desk and look at the same view of your desk and the window next to the desk. Nothing really changes from the day before, when you were essentially jobless.
It is very weird but at the same time quite liberating. All the ‘changes’ are virtual. All the energy is only inside you with no reflection of ‘change’ in the externalities. The mind has to convince itself that things are ‘new’ now.
Long ago, on one of the last days of our MBA-life, our Ops prof and placement office head gave us some sound advice on our last breakfast together — ‘when you start your new job, report to office at 8.30am, at least for the first six months and never leave early. Work as hard as you can — be the hardest workers in the office and you’ll see results.’
I took that advice to heart and I still enjoy reporting to my work-desk at 8.30am in the morning (8am on Monday mornings). It gives me a certain sense of bliss, of excitement and control over my day. I loved doing this when we all worked from office and I love doing it now. All that has changed is the environment in which most of us operate — #workfromhome.
With that absolutely mind boggling perspective, here are the six things I think we should focus on in a new role / new job / new start or generally, in life:
#1 — Start early
Yes, this is quite subjective in nature but it has worked very well for me. For me, starting early means being able to get to my tasks, my work and my commitments before others start demanding my time.
Earlier when I led a team, this made a lot more sense but even now, when I am an individual contributor, I love getting my emails scheduled (never send an email out at 8am to anyone unless it is urgent), my daily tasks sorted, my internal documents + Salesforce updated and clearing out my head for the day ahead.
#2 — Learn Learn Learn
Every day, setting aside at least 30–60 minutes to learn something makes a whole lot of difference to life, in general. In my previous job I’d let my learning take a back seat and did not understand the importance of becoming a product expert for a long time. This hurt me and my overall growth journey. Yes, I learned but I could have saved myself a lot of time & effort if I had just made sure I spent enough time learning on a daily basis and also on weekends.
Learning means getting to know the product, the market and the competitors well. That’s all that matters. The rest just flows.
#3 — Reach out, observe, shadow, make notes
This is even more important now, than ever before. In the post-pandemic world, human interaction is at a whole time low and if we’re working from home, chances are that no one will reach out and ask us how we are doing or if we need any help to ramp up. It is important we reach out to each and everyone in the team (and otherwise) to learn more and learn faster.
I tried to be shameless in my reachouts. I still am. I keep asking folks to add me to calls, let me shadow them, share deal stories, share email templates and even learnings from their mistakes or deal losses. I think we need to be a whole lot more shameless, a whole lot more ‘in-your-face’ in the current virtual world. Set up those one on ones, those team calls, reach out on messages, emails, chats etc. Very very important!
#4 — Be a YES person, or better still a ‘Hell Yeah’ person
If someone in the team asks for help, be there to help them. If someone wants a volunteer, imperative that we raise our hand, if someone is hosting an event and wants us to be there to help with setting up the stall, say YES. The more we experience, the more we learn. The more we create an aura of helpfulness around us, the more other people reach out to add us into even more things.
It is up to us to create a great experience for anyone who reaches out to us for anything. That’s how we get open our own doors, get introduced to new things and newer experiences.
#5 — Know that it’s never going to be the right time to do something but we need to DO IT
I wish I could have learned this sooner. Right from the time I was a student, I’ve put off things rather than get to them right away. Now, my main aim or prerogative is to always get to the difficult things first and put them out of the way. Also, not just difficult things. These could be mechanical things that need to be done every single day so that I can keep moving the needle.
For example, prospecting. I know I need to reach out to at least 20 folks on a daily basis which is equal to 100 folks in a week or 400 folks in a month. That means I am increasing my chances of building my own pipeline and boosting my chances of crossing my targets. As we work hard, we also create our own luck and things happen randomly, by chance and with exceptional intensity.
#6 — Attitude and Gratitude
Most importantly, enjoy, even if we’re not sure of what we’re doing or where we’re headed, it is very important to enjoy the process. Attitude can move mountains, can open closed doors and shift perspectives. Building an attitude that is positive, caring and friendly is one sure-shot way of ensuring a more wholesome experience, no matter what we do or where we are. For me, attitude has been a major force behind my growth in my previous lives (work experiences) and even in my family.
Finally, gratitude — If we have the resources to be able to sleep with a roof over our heads, eat three square meals a day and not really worry about money, we should feel really very grateful about everything we have. There is no need to whine about a lost deal, a cold customer or a rude team-mate/boss. Everything else is ephemeral in nature.
Well that’s mostly it from my learnings in the last three months. Actually no, that’s not it, there is a lot more where that came from. I think I’ll get back to writing more now. It’s been a while and I’ve really missed it. Like Dumbledore’s ‘Pensieve’, writing here helps clear my head quite a bit and it really feels like I have removed a whole lot of data from my head and saved it into an external hard drive. I literally feel emptier and more peaceful. Hence, I think I should do this more.
So here’s to getting back to writing more, and sharing more.
Next up? The world of Mar-tech maybe? Or maybe about my new diet + workout regime? Or maybe why I haven’t used Instagram in the last 10 days or so? Or maybe about my emotional state around little animals (puppies and kittens)?
Ah well, we’ll know soon enough, wont’ we?