10 lessons you should learn

It's always better to learn from the mistakes of others. Here's what 10 successful people had to share.

You don't always have to learn things the hard way. How often have you gotten wise after the fact and said, "If only I had known. If only someone had told me." Well, we're telling you now. It's always better to learn from the mistakes of others. We spoke to ten jetsetters who have made it through the ranks, starting from the bottom rung, and now are sitting
pretty on the top of the ladder. Here's what they had to share. 

  1. Don't emphasise your faults: Nobody's perfect. Everyone has their share of faults. The key is not to go about announcing it to all and sundry, and especially not to your bosses, unless you want them to be constantly looking over your shoulder, expecting you to make a mistake and constantly checking your judgments and decisions concerning the area of your weakness. If you are asked your weakness at an interview, mention something inconsequential, adding that you have been keeping it in check and have already improved substantially.
  2. Get it in writing: Even if you haven't come across many, believe me, there are enough dishonest people out there. So better than playing the innocent who gets taken for a ride by someone they trusted and crying over spilt milk, save yourself the heartbreak and inconvenience, and GET IT IN WRITING. 
  3. Seize the moment: Ever had someone tell you to send in your CV; you thought you'd do that later and by the time you got down to it, it was too late? You probably just shrugged your shoulders and continued with your present job. Well, don't. If something sounds like a good opportunity, it's a shame to lose out for no reason other than a laidback attitude. 
  4. Don't accept responsibility unless you are given the corresponding authority: If you have been make the Features Editor of a magazine and you have to make sure deadlines are met,this may mean chasing after the marketing team as well to ensure classifieds are in on time. So if you are going to need to pull up the marketing team, you have to make sure you are authorised to do so, and everybody knows it.
  5. Don't expect others to have the same standards as you: Everyone's different. Just because something gets your goat, doesn't mean it's just as irritating to everyone around you - and vice versa. Janhavi, a marketing assistant, confesses, "Once I needed a telephone number and had forgotten my filofax at home. I knew my colleague would have it so I removed her diary from her bag, took down the number and left the diary on my desk. It so happened that she returned from her lunch break, saw her diary on my desk and hit the roof, saying how dare I touch her bag without her permission, what if she had left for her appointments without her dairy and suddenly realised she didn't have it after reaching there. etc. Instead of apologizing, which I should have done since I was in the wrong, (though it wasn't such a grave wrong in my eyes), I retaliated and we ended up yelling at each other at the top of our voices. The result? Constant tension in the air. She'd bitch about me to her friends, and I'd do the same with mine. Our colleagues had to choose which camp they wanted to be in and it definitely contributed to the office politics. So remember, if you do something you don't consider a big deal, that doesn't mean it's not going to bug the hell out of someone else. 
  6. Don't mix business and romance: If you get involved with someone at work, it affects your judgment and compromises your position. And it causes needless complications to your relationship. If it's a short fling you're looking for, look outside your workplace or once it ends, there can be unpleasantness. On the other hand, a lot of romantic relationships start with friendship and if you feel a romance that has the potential for a long haul and seems to be going places coming up, consider changing your place of work or department so that the two of you are not in contact career wise. This is not only healthy for your career, but healthy for your relationship as well. 
  7. Your career can't revolve around your personal problems: Okay so you're late to work everyday because you've got a mother-in-law who's constantly nagging you and you've got to wash all the dishes before going to bed at night, wake up early the next morning and prepare breakfast for the entire family, pack their lunch tiffins, send the children off to school. phew! Your life's a regular roller coaster, so shouldn't you be given a breather? Shouldn't you be allowed to enter office late and leave early? No. Sorry, but that just doesn't cut it. If you want to function by your own rules, start your own company. 
  8. Don't knock the immediate boss: If your immediate boss is a fanatic about filing reports in a certain format and you think all that's a big waste of time because hey, you've got other things to do than enter useless info in long-winded tables, you'd better change your way of thinking, and fast. Remember, it's your immediate boss who passes on how good or bad an employee you are to the Big Boss, and it's on his recommendation you get a raise or promotion. 
  9. Adapt to your boss's personality: Try and figure out the personality of your boss and deal with him or her accordingly. If your boss is impatient and you know your suggestions may not get the hearing they deserve, instead of wallowing in frustration, pen them down and send a memo. 
  10. Don't expect the system to function automatically: Don't assume you're going to get your annual raise and benefits like clockwork, unless you're working in a large organisation with a separate department to look after salaries - and even then it doesn't hurt to check up on your benefits and perks. If you are not concerned about what's coming to you, don't expect anyone else to be.

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