Today was my first day back at work - what an eventful day it was! The day was a mixed bag filled with melodious “compliments of the new year” greetings (are we doing this until Valentine’s Day again this year? LOL); gushing bosom meetups (hugs); cheerful holiday recaps; catching up with friends and chasing deadlines. Yes. The latter had to feature prominently too – reminding us why we are here after all.
Anyway, I wore green, symbolising what I've proclaimed as the year of growth for me. I wore my afro out with a clean, natural face and no lipstick. I wanted to show up in a manner that fully represents who I am. Cool, calm and collected but equally bold and daring.
As the new corporate year starts, here are some of the tools I aim to use to ensure I survive the big C – Corporate. I want to keep this short so I will share only three of them.
1. Have a plan
The first day, actually the whole week back at work is always eventful. We tend to spend a lot of time catching up and not doing much work. As someone who values the human connection, I appreciate the importance of this but also realise that without boundaries, it is easy to find yourself looking back at the day and realising that you didn’t get anything productive done. To counter this, I walked into this day armed with a plan - a checklist of things I needed to action before I go home.
Having a clear plan for your day, week, or month helps with time management, thus increasing your productivity levels. With a plan in place, you are able to prioritise well, ensure you meet your work expectations and deliver on time and efficiently.
2. Assess feedback objectively
We are encouraged to be open and receptive to feedback because most times, it cues us towards growth. However, sometimes the feedback we receive is someone else’s distorted perception of reality. I used to take feedback personally, because let’s be honest, some of it will plainly cut you down and make you question yourself. But I’ve since stopped these soul-crushing tendencies and have adopted a strategy of receiving feedback openly but taking time to process and assess it objectively.
When I struggle with feedback I’ve received, I also go to the lengths of consulting other people to get their views. This process has helped me put a lot of things into perspective. Through it, I’ve realised the importance of not taking in all feedback with face value.
Ask questions to get clarity. Go deeper and assess the feedback for yourself. Then create space in your home (heart) for what needs to reside there. Which brings me to my next tool.
3. Stay authentic
Authenticity starts with knowing yourself intimately. Who are you? What are your values? Are the things you do at work aligned to these values? There’s a lot of pretence in the corporate world. People come in and position themselves, whilst trampling on others. To survive this dog-eat-dog world, certain behaviours are applauded over others. And if you don’t conform, you may be disadvantaged, not considered for a promotion, etc.
However, when you are inauthentic, it means you need to keep up to a façade to get ahead. This is too much work!
Don’t lose yourself - walk in your truth always.
Of course, at times you will feel like an outsider or like you don’t belong, but rather that than putting yourself in a compromising position. A position that will steal and rob you of your peace. Definitely not worth it.
Have you started work yet?
What’s in your corporate survival toolkit? Please share in the comments section so we can learn and grow together.