Life Lessons I Learned At Work That I Wish Were Taught In School

In life, the best teacher is an experience.
For the past 15 years that I have been working with my 9-6 job in some of the biggest corporations, it has taught me a lot of life lessons that I’m really grateful for. Without these lessons, I wouldn’t be where I am right now and what I am right now as a person.
These lessons I learned were not taught in schools or universities but were learned based on real-life experiences, working in a corporate environment. I am not discouraging anybody to ditch school but I think real world working issues could have been handled well if we at least have learned how to handle these issues when we were studying. I can’t help imagine those days when I was cracking my head learning Trigonometry and Algebra and I cannot even use those now in handling my stress at work, how to pay my bills, how to deal with the difficult boss and how to save money for retirement.
Here’s the list of some of the life lessons I learned and wish I have learned in schools.
1. Handling Stress – There are many kinds of stress we can face in our daily lives as a working professional. Stress caused by so many things, caused by the job itself, people around us, too much pressure put on us, financial stress, environmental stress and a lot more. What is more alarming is that the effect of these stress on The effect depends on how strong you are as a person. There are people whose tolerance to stress is really great but there are those who are very fragile that even a light stress breaks them down. What are the ways we can do to de-stress?
Some, they go on vacation, some do exercise, read, meditate, watch a movie, listen to music, eat their favorite food or talk to someone else. What worked best for me? I can take light stresses such as deadlines and traffic jam but those times that I really break down because of stress caused by people, the most drastic thing I do is just have a cone or two of ice cream, that’s about it, nothing more drastic than that. I find it relaxing having those sweet and cold cream in my mouth. It’s weird but it calms me down. This way is greatly opposed by my husband but he himself buys for me when he sees that I’m about to break down.
Lesson Learned: Stress will always be there, we just need to find out an outlet where we can de-stress.
2. Burning Out Unlike when we were studying, we didn’t get feel burned out that much as we feel now when we are working. Who would know that we’ll feel burned out later on? The energy and enthusiasm we have on the first day of our new job eventually fades as the day goes by. This is an alarm for us. When you start feeling burned out what is the first thing that comes to your head? Mine will be holidays. This is the very reason why companies give annual leaves because the feeling of burning-out is inevitable and it has a great impact on people which will eventually have an impact on the company. This way, the company can ensure that its employees have some breather. How do I deal with burn-out? I take my leave and go for a short vacation. If there are other things to be done like errands, as much as possible don’t file leave for it. Your leaves should be allotted for vacation not running errands otherwise it will just go to waste.
Lesson Learned: Humans are like batteries too, our energies will eventually fade but we can always re-charge ourselves.
3. Different kinds of people are everywhere  When we were studying we get to meet a lot of people with the same purpose in life at that time, to study and learn and graduate.  Once we start working and step into the real world of adulthood, everything will be different.  Different people everywhere but have a different purpose in life. Some people you get to know and work with will become your friends some will become your worst nightmare. Some will help you grow as a professional some will just do everything to really put you down. Everywhere we go there will be these kinds of people that we have to work with. Some work hard for the money, some work hard for the fame and title, some work because they are bored in life, some people work to find their prospective partner and some work for other reasons we don’t know.
The workplace is like a jungle, we have to do everything to survive. I have a friend who always keeps on leaving companies. He comes to the company to work but the moment he sees someone that he doesn’t like he right away quits and packs his stuff. In a year, he joined and left roughly 10 companies. He is expecting that work should be a happy working environment with people that have the same pleasant characters as he has. Reality is, there is no such place because there are different kinds of people everywhere.
Lesson Learned: Companies and its people will not adjust to our expectations because there are different kinds of people in every part of the world. We have to learn our ways to adjust instead. People will come and some will even destroy us. We have to focus on our main reason why we are working. For me it is the money, that’s all.
4. Savings – Savings is critical. When we were studying, most times our parents provide us school money to buy things we need. School money may not be that much at that time but as students, that’s the only source of money we have. Boy-band magazines, make-up, clothes, bags, jewelry and some other things we want to buy kind of motivated us to start working. That moment when we started our very first job, we are so happy and excited for the very first paycheck we’re going to get and to buy that thing we’ve wanted to buy. This habit will grow and will go on for a long time until we finally realize that we wasted too much money spending on things instead of savings.
In 15 years of working, I can say I wasn’t able to put my money to good use. Managed to save a bit and buy property but not enough for me to retire or even start my own business. Only that moment that I thought of resigning and starting my own business, I realized that I should have saved more money so I can quit anytime and just start my own business. I really regret not saving and using my money wisely.
Lesson Learned: It is always of best practice to save and save and save money. Use money wisely for we will never know when we will need it really badly.
5. Competition – Competition in school is way more different than the competition at work. At school the competition is just a small thing, maybe competing on subjects or our crush’s attention. At work, competition is tough and complicated. Even you don’t want to compete; there will be people who want to compete with you. There will be people who will be competing with you for the title, your bosses attention, some will even compete with you for some petty things such who has the better car, better phone, better designer shoes, and The competition will always be there even you don’t want to compete.
Lesson Learned: Just be yourself and ignore the competition. Just work and do your thing. You are not working to compete but to fill the plate on your table at home.
6. Bullies – When I was in High School, I was bullied very badly. It ruined my self-confidence until now it did affect me. Why? Because when I started working I was also bullied and in all the company I joined I was bullied. I thought that when I finally finish studying I will be free of these kinds of people but I was disappointed. Bullies are everywhere and we have to accept it. However, we cannot let these bullies rule over our lives for the longest time. I had enough and told myself “This has to stop.” The bullies target people who are vulnerable and weak, people whom these bullies think that cannot defend themselves. I am not saying that we have to start learning karate or jujitsu. We have to be strong and aggressive and be firm and confident with our selves. All these pains that these bullies caused us, we can turn these into a fire that will ignite the courage and confidence that will make us strong and brave and motivated. We don’t owe anything to these people.
Lesson Learned: Being strong, firm, confident and brave are characters that are necessary to have. Otherwise, these bullies will ruin everything that we have.
These are just some of the many things that I learned working as a full-time employee. However, these are lessons and experiences that had a big impact on me as a person. These were mostly negative things but these were the big turning points in my life.
Have you experienced things like these as well? If so, I hope that you may find these empowering and not as detractors.
Happy Women’s Day to All.
Lots of Love,