The office is the new classroom

Did you ever read the book, All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarden? I remember that being such a innovative piece for its time, though I never read it. However the concept was still clear, what are the basic life lessons that can be applied to adult life? It’s a brilliant philosophy but I think that I went a bit too far in my application of it. And yes, that’s probably what I get for not reading the book. I (mistakenly) found myself feeling that, apart from knowledge and such, when it comes to life lessons as they say, “there’s nothing new under the sun.”

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s easy to live life with your head down. It’s easy to do and frequently it makes life easier as well. But like mom always used to tell me, “easier is not always better.” It may be easier to stay in one’s hometown, but many people find new knowledge and experiences by going away to college or around the world. But don’t be fooled, there is no way to live that guarantees a life without problems. So you may as well choose difficult paths that help mold you into a stronger, smarter and more equipped person.

With all this in mind, I’ve started opening up my eyes a bit more at work. If you’re going to spend 40+- hours in one place every week you may as well spend it in a determined way. I’ve been keeping track recently of the broader life lessons that I’ve learned at my office. Here are just a few, without getting too specific about the circumstances that brought me to these lessons.

  • Staying in the middle of an issue does not always shield you from criticism from either/both extremes.
  • As an “expert” it’s your job to be ready to learn and ready to teach at any given time. Never think you only have to do one or the other.
  • One of the most valuable things to know is what is important to those around you. Understand them, learn what makes them tick. 
  • Plan as you may, there will always be someone around you who forgot to plan at all. While there lack of planning doesn’t have to be your emergency, plan a little bit of flexibility into your time just in case.
  • The best benefit a job can have is someone in your line of sight that understands you. Nothing compares to looking up in a moment of panic or stress to have someone looking back with an understanding or comical look on their face.
  • Some of the most unexpected people can bring the greatest of inspiration. Learn from everyone. You never know what information from another field can be applied to your own. 
  • Make the extra effort to share with others how your field can improve their work life. People will care more about what you do when they see how it impacts them. 

Those are the lessons for a few days at least. What else have you learned about life from work?

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