I Learnt It The Hard Way...

By Siew Ching

Work can be difficult sometimes but the lessons you pick up along the way? Priceless.

Every day is a learning day when it comes to work, be it something as simple as how to work a new office tool… and sometimes a little more gut punching like how to resolve a conflict with a client that can potentially cost you a promotion. It is the latter that can make or break you, and how you come out of it will help path the rest of your success at work. Tough as these lessons may be, there is a silver lining behind each one and will make you an even more resilient individual – and equipped with the experience to work smarter to your advantage.

Just take it from these people we spoke to who shared the toughest lessons they learnt in their career and what they gained from it.

“I quit my job to accept a role in something I didn’t have a lot of experience in, simply because it paid me a lot more. I told myself I would learn along the way and it would be a great opportunity. I was so wrong! Not only did my new boss not spend any time teaching me the ropes, she basically blamed me for everything that went wrong – which wasn’t entirely my fault because she literally just left me by myself and only showed up when the big boss was in town and made it look like I was incompetent when really, I didn’t know what my KPIs were or essentially what I was supposed to do! I quit that job just two months in because not only was I wasting my time not learning anything, I was stuck in a toxic company culture. I went back to doing what I was doing in the first place and realised that money isn’t the answer to a great career but instead passion was what I really needed. And when you love your job, you’ll be good at it and people at the higher ups will notice.”
Ching Yi, Content Editor

“I had the most horrible colleague! She would sabotage my work, belittle me in front of the team, talk down to me… but at the same time would confide in me with sob stories about her life that I felt sorry for her instead of feeling angry! I let her walk all over me. I thought it was sad that nobody really understood what she was going through. But what made me realise I was taken advantage of was when she completely blamed me for something she did which costs me a huge promotion and was given to her instead. And she didn’t even show any gratitude for anything that I did! From then on, I started standing up for myself and made sure my good work showed for it. I was quick to defend myself from her bullying and she soon realised I was no longer a pushover. My bosses also noticed I was more capable than what they had expected and gave me more responsibilities. The moral of the story? Don’t let others undermine your potential and always stand up for yourself. It’s one thing to be kind to a colleague but another to allow yourself to be put down.”
Michael Ew, Consultant

“When I was put in charge of putting a team together for a new division, I hired a friend for a role I thought she would be suitable in. She was great at her job… but she clashed with everyone else in the team! Because of our long friendship, I took her side mostly and was blindsided by that. Bad move! I ended up having to put out more fires than getting good work done. What I thought was a good idea by hiring her ended up being the biggest mistake I made as a leader. I quickly learnt that no amount of talent is enough to offset her lack of consideration and rudeness. The ultimate blow? When I realised that she was going behind my back talking to my bosses about how incompetent I was at handling the team! She was essentially eyeing my job! That’s when I realised there needs to be a clear division between friendship and work.”
Michele W, Team Manager

Photo by Hello I'm Nik on Unsplash

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