Last time, I wrote about the Ten Things That College Never Taught Me. This time, it’s a little bit different. Because today marks the day I officially entered the corporate world (I bummed for a month after graduation before working for an advertising agency as a copywriter and marketing assistant), I decided to compile the Ten Things I Learned in the Corporate World (First Edition). I know it’s only been a year and I have much more to learn, but so far these are ten valuable lessons to remember:
1. Always wear a watch.
In this digital age, wearing a watch isn’t as important anymore because you always have your cellphone or gadget to check what time it is. But wearing a watch subtly suggests that you’re conscious about the time (Time, after all, is money.) It also makes a great fashion accessory, even for minimalists (like me) who tend to downplay accessories.
Check out this really cute outfit by Danika Navarro of Hello-Rio.com
2. Have a planner.
I started keeping a planner when I was in 3rd year high school and ever since, I valued its significance. Although there are digital planners available these days (I even have an app on my phone), for some reason they don’t work as much compared to writing it down on my planner. I don’t know if it’s just me, but since it’s more tangible, the chances of me remembering the event, meeting or occasion is more likely than putting it in a digital planner like Google Calendar.
My 2013 Planner which I call Porter
3. Be OC with details.
Whether it’s writing for Glamourbox or WhenInManila.com, or working in the office during the day, whenever there’s a task assigned to me, I’m very OC with details. I always make lists, etc. This helps me to remember things easily, especially because my memory can be unreliable (at times). Hehe. It’s an effective way of helping myself and my brain.
4. Bring your own coffee mug.
You never know when the office you’ll be working in has available mugs.
In my old job, there were coffee mugs provided for us. Sometimes though, they run out throughout the day so you have to grab one from the sink and just wash it yourself. In my new job, there are also coffee mugs available but since we’re a bigger company, these mugs run out fast all the time. Most of the coffee mugs in my office also belong to someone so you can’t just grab a random mug to use.
To make things more convenient for me, I brought my own as well. It’s really useful even though I bring baon and a water jug. At least I always have a mug to put in my coffee or coconut juice!
5. Don’t sit around all day. Take a break and go for a walk.
Ever heard about those stories on people getting carpal tunnel, etc.? I used to always think I was too “healthy” for that. I was under the false impression that nothing could harm me because I was physically fit and was an athlete.
But sometimes, work can take its toll.
Even if you’re just sitting around the whole day.
And I’m the perfect example. Because even if I do play ultimate and I do get my dose of exercise each week, my asthma returned and now I’m forced to take a long break from disc. I don’t even know when I can play again. I’m not allowed to do yoga, or go jogging, or even go swimming for now—not until my lungs have fully recovered. And it’s really sad.
Aside from that, I started feeling pain in my lower back. My mom explained that sitting around all day could be the cause of it. So I make it a point each day to just take a quick break and go for a walk—even if it’s just right outside our building.
This is one of my favorite places to walk in whenever I take breaks.
6. It’s okay to eat lunch alone.
Not that I purposely want to be a loner. But often when my colleagues go out for lunch, I choose to sit in my desk and just read while eating my baon. I save a lot more whenever I do.
7. Commit to your deadlines.
In the past year that I worked for an advertisting agency and now, a digital marketing agency, I learned that it’s crucial to commit to your deadlines—especially if these deadlines were set by the agency and not the client. Even if it was set by the client and you agree to the deadline, always commit to it.
There was one time that a client accidentally set the deadline on a Sunday. It was an app launch, and their clients were waiting for it to be released. So even if it was supposedly a rest day, my boss, the developer, and I had to wake up early and have a conference call just to make sure the app was indeed launched that day. Sometimes, clients can be very demanding. But you learn to manage it anyway, and when you do, it’s not so bad.
8. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Even the simplest questions! Because sometimes, the simplest questions can lead you to learning the right answers. Each company has its own way of doing things, and each person working for the company has his or her own way of doing things. You can’t always just stick to a template (although they are very helpful). When I first started working, I was really shy. It wasn’t that I was a know-it-all or I was too full of pride to ask questions. It was just that I was so shy and awkward to talk to people. But this was something I overcame, and now, even if I fear that sometimes the question is stupid, I ask it anyway. And more often than not, the answers I receive help me in executing my tasks and getting the job done.
The bottomline is—if you’re not sure about something, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
9. Document EVERYTHING.
Cupcake would always tell me that verbal agreements are useless and that things always have to be put in stone. I realized how true this statement was when a colleague and I had a misunderstanding with a client and they made it seem like we were the ones at fault for not informing them about something. But when we looked through our e-mail archives, it indicated clearly that we did inform them.
So the lesson here is evident. Always try to document everything—even if it’s just a text message or a screenshot of your conversation.
10. Multi-tasking isn’t very effective.
You know how they say that girls are good at multi-tasking? Well, even if that’s the case, I learned that it isn’t as effective as doing one task at a time. When you multi-task, your focus is divided. There are so many things happening that it can even be overwhelming. Compare this to doing one task at a time with your full focus on that task—the chances of error are less likely than when you’re doing so many things at a time.
Also, I recently discovered that I tend to have panic attacks when I multi-task. This also leads to my asthma attacks. To manage this, I try to slow it down and just breathe.
So that’s the first edition of the ten things I learned in the corporate world. Hopefully, to those people who are still in college or are just about to graduate, you find this article helpful.
Got your own lessons to share? Comment below or post them on the Junkyard’s Facebook page!