Five Things Learned from My Mentors

There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm. ~Willa Cather

I’m admittedly slow to pick up social cues, and sometimes slow to pick up on workplace politics.  I had the opportunity earlier this summer to talk about mentoring and it gave me the chance to reflect on the peers and supervisors in the workplace that have changed my approach to work and workplace shenanigans.  Many other career coaches will have undoubtedly already covered this topic… but here’s my take.

1. You don’t have to like or be friends with the people you work alongside… but you do need to be civil and respectful.

Early on in my career and sometimes now when I’m very tired and/or hungry, I’ll allow my disdain for someone else’s work style to show through in my interactions with them. Not cool.  Not professional.  I do not have all the answers to the problems of the world, and frankly aren’t we all just trying to get through the day without a major hassle?  Why make someone else feel less than.. just because I’m feeling less than..

2. Get plenty of sleep.

Having enough sleep allows me to be able to think clearly, calmly and not feel that every challenge is a crisis.

3. Appearance does matter.

Whether we like it or not.. it’s true. The more professional and business-like your wardrobe for work, the more people treat you in a more professional and business-like manner.

4. Don’t take yourself so seriously.

I’ve seen this comment traveling the twitterverse and blogsphere a great deal lately. It’s great advice.  Take the tasks and the deadlines seriously and set your self-importance to the side. You’ll get the job done faster and build better work relations.

5. Don’t make the mistake of caring (too much).

One of my supervisors once told me, ‘Foley, You made the mistake of caring.’  It wasn’t that I shouldn’t be invested in what I was doing but that I needed to put the situation, the work task and the challenge into perspective.  It wasn’t all about me.

It also follows that lovely quote about not ever seeing the quote ‘I wish I had spent more time at work’ on a gravestone epitaph.

Keep it in perspective.  How important really? Have I completed the tasks? Communicated to the rest of my department where I stand on my projects?  Then, I am good to move on to the next task, the next project or better yet, good to head home for the day.

Seems simple enough, right? For me, it’s always great to remind myself to go back to the beginning.

Author: AdminRenegade

Storyteller. Wicked sense of humor. Tenacious learner, Coffee Lover, especially Dunkin' Donuts.