Saturday, February 5, 2011

Thoughts for young professionals

While uploading some old posts on my new Romanian blog, I came across some interesting stuff and wanted to share with you in English. It is a collection of lessons learned during my professional life, up to now. Some of them came from my ex-bosses, some of them are just pure conclusions I draw by my own, in the professional life ("trial and experience cycle").

Of course it is only a part of the teachings I remember, will be extended continuously with new aspects. For the time being, it goes like this:

... learn when and how to compromise, without compromising yourself - personally, professionaly and socially

... remember that (wo)man is not a machine, spare parts are neither cheap nor mass-production items; if you perform 110% all the time, sooner or later your circuits will fail; not always in an evident and abrupt way, more often gradually than all at once (just like in the joke about impotence - first you make a full of yourselves a couple of times...). Therefore, even thou competition is good for motivation and drives great results, don't let it turn into a way of life.

... before you demand respect and recognition from others, learn how to judge yourself properly.

... never consider that you know enough, never look down on those who know less or perform poorer than you; it is possible even to learn from such people, at least about how you do not want to be/become.

... a plane cannot fly with only pilots on board. Any functional team needs different sets of skills in different people to achieve overall performance.

... teaching others help you multiply your own knowledge, while continuously extending your professional support network.

... just because you are the greatest specialist in your field, does not mean that you have the right skills to lead other greatest specialists in your field. Or, in other words - a good manager does not need to know how everything himself, but he/she must know just enough to enable him/her to find, properly coordinate, understand, motivate and retain the right people.

... do not let failure to pass by you without learning anything from it.

... do not let success pervert your mind and soul into imagining you are the best.

... remember that trust should be gained and not granted, is easy to loose and difficult to re-gain.

...  praise is quite easily forgotten, offense is remembered for quite a long time; but the helping hand that reaches out to you when you are down is the one never forgotten!

... do not hit someone when he/she is down! Life has ups and downs.

... do not walk in life by burning the bridges behind you; sometimes in order to get ahead you will need to take a few steps back...

... do not wait to give feed-back, otherwise it will build up tension; alternate negative with positive messages in order to get a constructive result.

... understand the nature of a problem before you start offering solutions; explore the consequences and only then start dealing with it; but do not wait too long, as real problems not only do not go away, but have a tendency to grow, and sugar-coating fuels their growth.

... approach your work with enthusiasm and passion, but do not expect it to solve your personal problems or improve the quality of your life. It is still work!

... do not fall in love with companies, because companies never fall back in love with people. But treat your company with respect, which is the key for any long term relationship. Always remember that loyalty, honesty, responsibility, professionalism, but also patience, understanding and compassion are all virtues and not weaknesses.

... and finally: work is not all about having fun, relaxing, getting the thrill of your life, achieving top performance with a smile on your face. It is also about effort, struggle and compromise. Happiness comes once you have done a good job... overall in your LIFE!

I wish you to find a proper balance and enjoy every day - as early as possible in your life!
Georgina Popescu

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