Sunday, July 6, 2014

Basics from School

I miss school.

School was a place that supposedly prepared me for the real world, but I still haven't learned all my lessons yet. Aside from what is taught in school curricula, the experience of school is what truly prepares you for the workplace. Habits, for instance, is something developed during school to help you survive reality. I know this and yet I still haven't learned my lessons. I think the top 3 habits I've learned in school yet still don't follow are:

1. You need to please others to get ahead, especially your superiors.

When you please people, they want to keep you around. To get good grades in school, assignments and presentations had to follow instructions, be interesting, and be simple. You can risk taking a leap by adding a creative flare or doing things your own way to accomplish a goal, but if it doesn't please the person grading you, you lose. It's not like the comforts of the Internet where you can say no to anything you don't like or want to do, do or say almost anything you want, and go at your own pace. If only the world works that way.

2. Don't ask too many questions and just get the job done.

Guessing what people expect can be tough. I'm one of those people who need orders and details written down as reference before I do something. For example, when preparing dinner, I'm at a loss of what to cook until I receive requests or suggestions. The troubles I encounter and create are usually magnified when habit 1 and 2 are involved. If only I can square root the magnitude of my problems. The worst experience is using the wrong words to convey your message and people become frustrated with you. It can lead to serious issues with a domino effect that come back to you.

3. Your work life and personal life need to cooperate but try to keep them separate.

My attentiveness from my sleep habits and my emotions can cloud my judgement when working. I get cranky and rebellious when I'm tired, which stirs trouble. I don't like to sleep early because there's so much I want to do in my personal life. I downloaded an app that tracks the hours I sleep in attempts to ensure I am rested, but it doesn't help me when I can't sleep due to stress. Sleeping habits aside, the emotional events in my personal life affects the people and my work habits in my work life and vice-versa. I can try to keep it together by putting a wall, but sometimes the wall breaks like a dam. It's worse when stress is involved. When I'm stressed about something from work, I can't sleep. If I don't sleep enough, my judgement is clouded. Clouded judgement at work leads to stressful trouble from work--it's a cycle. I could try to relax, but trying to relax makes things more stressful. I could use drugs to help me sleep, but I personally want to avoid using drugs as a solution.

At least I developed some good habits. My top 3 developed habits from school life are:

1. Don't leave things to the last minute.

The worst thing that may happen is not getting the job done on time when you start too late. Always try to start things early because it gives more time to follow a comfortable pace. I like to allow myself to take time off from work so I can come back to it with a new set of perspectives. What I like most about this habit is it helps with maintaining good work ethics. I admit though--procrastination is always appealing.

2. Meet deadlines.

Like the name of that one Rolling Stones song: time waits for no one. Top this habit up with good habit number 1 and the results are timely quality work. (As long as my bad habits don't kick in.) There are still cases where quality work requires more time, which I respect.

3. Don't take things too personally at work.

Unless they're a close friend or family member, I try not to take things too personally. People who don't like each other can still work efficiently and effectively together when they have a common goal and drive. When I'm angry with someone, I try to find an outlet in my own time in a private location. For example, playing minesweeper in a corner helps me cool down.

Yes, I am very thankful for school. I could dive deeper with the habits I mentioned or even add more habits like networking or taking initiative, but this is all I want to share today. As much as I sometimes wish the workplace had slap on the wrist punishments like school, school's out.

I miss school.

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