Today is the tenth anniversary of working where I work. I have mixed emotions about this anniversary. First, I never imagined I would be this old. Second, working this long at the same place has given me a lot, but it has taken a lot. This is evidenced by the fact that I have been up since 7:15 this morning working on a project for work. I don’t like giving up beautiful Sunday mornings for work, I really don’t, but I am very lucky to have had a stable, well-paid job doing work I mostly have enjoyed and has allowed me to meet some GREAT people.
I started at my company when I was 24. At the time I felt old, but of course that isn’t old… that is quite young. But I have known little else in the working world.
Today’s list… 11things I have learned working for ten years. (list 78)
1. You have to go to work every morning. Ok, not literally every morning, but if feels like that. Some mornings you want to go, but most mornings you don’t. It is good to have a friend or a project to motivate you to quit hitting snooze and get there.
2. Give realistic project estimates. It may frustrate people to hear from the beginning how long something is going to take, but it is better to have that conversation at the beginning than to wait until the deadline is looming to say you will need more time.
3. Never, ever, ever, ever burn bridges. Always remain kind and positive with every person you work with. Because if you are there long enough, you will work with them again.
4. A good reputation is a time saver.
5. Encourage others and give positive feedback, even if you aren’t the boss. Work is never-ending and sometimes hard or boring. The more you can give positive feedback to others, the more harmonious the work place, and the nicer a place it will be.
6. Show up on time. Everybody warned me when I started with the company that all meetings start ten minutes late and that I would get used to it. I haven’t gotten used to it. I still think it is unproductive to have everything start late, and to this day I endeavor to show up on time.
7. Take breaks. Take a few moments to talk to a coworker or get a cup of tea or walk around the floor. Working is a distance marathon, not a sprint.
8. Be able to separate yourself. I AM SO BAD at this one, but I need to get better. Leave work at work, don’t think or obssess about it. Again, you won’t make it for the long haul if you let work stress you out.
9. Just get it done. Turn on your computer, put your butt in the chair, and just get it done. Even if it isn’t your job, sometimes you have to get it done. Whining that there isn’t enough time or that it is someone else’s job rarely works out – just get it done. Stay late, wake up early, or ask for help.
10. Admit when you don’t know something. This is the biggest and best advice I can give from my ten years. Too many people like to pretend they know something when they don’t. It doesn’t benefit them at all, just paints them into a corner. It has never hurt my career to admit I don’t know something. I ask for the information and I get it and move on. People like to teach others and show they know something, and are always willing to teach me something.
11. Stay positive. The longer I have worked, the harder this one is to remember and do. But it is important to stay positive, keep an upbeat attitude and a smile. It is easy to dislike everything and everybody, but it just makes things more miserable for you and the people around you. Plus keeping a positive attitude helps you keep a good reputation.
One more thing I am reminding myself today on this anniversary is how lucky I am. To be in the first world doing challenging work for fair pay with some people I like, that is lucky. When I first started working I had done some horrible jobs and every day felt like a lucky joy that this was my job now, working on computers and going to meetings and having smart coworkers. I need to get back to that mentality. It will make the long haul seem more scenic.