top of page
  • Writer's pictureKaren Divya Shekar

Lessons Learnt From My Professional Life

It’s only been nine months since I entered the workforce but I’ve got lessons to share!


First, let me give you some background.


After college, I was sure I did not want to work in a traditional set-up. I told myself another round of the rat race wasn’t for me. I wanted to achieve my dreams and become a writer.


No desk job, no deadlines, no crazy career ladder to climb!


Growing up I’d seen both my parents (one is teacher and the other is an engineer) diligently go to work every day of their lives. They were thorough professionals rarely taking a day off. But I always felt there was something missing in their lives. They never had time to indulge in hobbies, make friends, or visit their relatives. Their existences were one steady routine of work, home, sleep, and repeat. Something I disliked.


On Sundays afternoons they used to nap for what seemed like the longest time. Their bodies were tired out. Meanwhile I used to stay up reading novels. I felt they never really had time to just LIVE. I told myself I didn’t want that. I didn’t want to miss out on real living just so I could earn money. And besides, I wanted to be a writer. The universe owed me this career on a silver platter.


Back in 2016 I landed a job in TCS through campus placements. I did not want to take it up. Instead I chose to go to NIT Durgapur to take a Masters. The decision was the turning point of my life.


After great personal upheavals, struggling through depression, and few more bumps which shall remain nameless, I finally decided that I needed to feel financially secure in order to feel mentally secure. Strange way to put it, but having a job gave me something to cling onto—ray of hope in my shattered and broken world.


So it was nothing short of a miracle that I landed my first job after a gap of four years. It took me just three-four months of applying. My whole family concluded that God had been very good to me.


The job was the perfect fit for me. It entailed writing articles and blogs, with a sprinkling of Search Engine Optimisation. Computers is my subject and writing my passion so I never had any trouble fitting in. From day one I excelled at the workplace if I may say so myself.


And so far so good. That’s my journey to the workplace. Now, for the lessons I learnt there.


The social life at work isn’t catty or is it just my workplace?


I think the most special thing about my workplace is there isn’t any office politics. It’s such a clean, appetising and friendly environment that you feel like you’re in a family or with a group of old friends. The stray incidents that have rubbed me the wrong way, I can make peace with.


I detested my Dad’s workplaces because of the amount of catty things that used to take place there. People taking each other down, others were struggling to stay afloat. I hated that kind of attitude and I’m lucky I found a place that is free from negativity and politics.


Maybe it has got to do with the size of my workplace. And the kind of work we do. There isn’t any scope for competition and people being pitted against each other which tends to brings out the worst in humanity. I’ve heard stories of grown people weeping at Amazon. That isn’t for me and I don’t aspire to that type of work culture.


If you are currently working in a toxic environment, I encourage you to pray to God to do something with the situation.


My skills were sharpened and are still being fine-tuned


You’d think it’s easy to do my work, but it isn’t. At first I thought I just have to write something pretty and pleasant to read. But that’s not even the sum of my work. Writing articles to rank on the first page of Google SERPs is as difficult as it is to win an Olympic 100m final. I may be exaggerating slightly but the odds of your article ranking are like a shot in the dark.


Clients are paying us for every word we write. And if those words fail to hit the nail on the head, we don’t get clients repeat business. So it’s tough to write content that is fun to read, useful for people, and search engines.


I’ll talk more about the nature of my work in another blog, so stick around for that!


I made friends which is a miracle


I normally don’t make friends very quickly. In college, I purposely didn’t mix with anyone because I just didn’t want to “associate” with anybody. That’s the kind of attitude I had then. But life has taught me since that friends are the equivalent of gold and silver. If you’ve got them treasure them.


So this time around I made a personal effort to take an interest in the lives of the people around me. There was a time when I tuned out general chatter. I hated plain ole “chit-chat” about lunch, breakfast, and the things we did over the weekend. But in office I trained myself to talk the about these mundane things.


Once I did that, the actual deep philosophical conversations I longed to have just welled up from unexpected places. Soon, it became easy to talk about my past, tell people about what I’d been through. And people started opening up to me as well! That’s when I discovered that behind our eyes there is a world of hurt waiting for the healing touch of true love. And I wanted to help these people get rid of this heavy burden they carry.


So, if you’re reading this, and you have got unspoken pain, pain that you can’t talk about because it makes you cry, I’ll give you a small suggestion. Try Jesus. It’s an advice I gave a close friend of mine back in 2015 and it worked. So as a remedy that has worked for one person, I offer Jesus’ love to you. Test it first. You can walk in faith later.


I learned to appreciate money


Ah money! If you know me, you’ll know that I have a strange relationship with money. On one hand I love to acquire it, and on the other hand I have no problem giving it away. But appreciate money? That I never learnt until I had spent a month at work and earned a measly stipend.


That’s when I knew how hard it was for my parents to raise us from nothing. This is so true of every Indian family that it really breaks my heart. We’re ruled by money. And I believe it doesn’t have to be this way.


Bash the prosperity preachers as much as you like, but they were onto something. We’ve got to pray and ask God for sufficient money. There should never be a lack for God’s children.


But once I got money on my hands, I started taking an interest in making money, and I’ll talk about this sometime later. Let’s move on!


Work can get boring and repetitive


Unfortunately this is true. And my friends at work warned me about it. There isn’t a profession where boredom doesn’t seep in. The initial euphoria over discovering something new eventually dies down and work becomes dull repetition.


However!


If you follow the Japanese philosophy of kaizen and change something small every day you will overcome this boredom. I do this all the time. I opt for new projects, I try to challenge myself with something different because somewhere around the six month I felt like I knew everything the job had to offer. Sounds overconfident? But that’s what I thought.


Then after dipping my toes into financial articles I thought okay, done this too, what’s next? (At the time of writing I know what’s next, and believe me it’s a challenge).


So unless you like routine and crave doing the same thing over and over again, I suggest that you make work interesting for yourself, otherwise you’re likely to face boredom.


Sometimes I wish I had more free time


I complain that I wish I had more free time, but I don’t know what to do with it once I get it.

If, like me, you’re lucky enough to have turned a hobby into a career, once you get back home after a day’s work, there isn’t much you can do!


What’s left to explore? I’m writing all day. That makes me happy, I get back home and bam! I got nothing to do with my free time.


So while I want more free time, I don’t know what to do with it. It’s a conundrum you can help me solve by giving me suggestions in the comments below.


I learnt the fine art of being professional


At least that’s what I believe!


After my battling depression I decided I wasn’t going to hold back anymore. I told myself I would speak my mind at every given opportunity. I was sick of the “mendacity” I had indulged in for twenty six years.


So in office I do speak my mind. I tell everyone exactly what I think. They do the same albeit in a politer manner. And I’ve successfully become what I always wanted to be, unafraid to voice my thoughts.


However, I’ve learnt to speak without getting personal. I’ve got no right to trample the personal space of any person, so I always choose my words with care.


These were some of the lessons I learnt in my nine month stint in office. I still write really poor conclusions so I’ll end with a call to action!


Let me know about your office journeys in the comments below!

122 views3 comments

3 Comments


Mannivannan Divianathan
Mannivannan Divianathan
Apr 12, 2021

GREAT WRITER

Like

Radha Chinny
Radha Chinny
Apr 04, 2021

You have the talent of telling things in a smart way

Like

anitdev
Apr 04, 2021

Karen. You are an effective writer. You write with simple eloquence - a combination that I believe not many achieve. I see that your healing has truly begun. It’s brave of you to share your experience in the hope of helping others. God bless

Like
Post: Blog2 Post
bottom of page