Updated: May 6, 2021
I’ve been asked a few times if I ever regret working in the corporate world, and my answer would always be a big “No”.
Being an employee has taught me a lot of valuable lessons that continue to remain relevant in my life as an entrepreneur, seven of which I’m sharing today.
1. Do not ask and compare salaries.
It’s considered impolite to ask how much an officemate is earning.
Discussing income can cause interpersonal conflicts, and make either one feel jealous or inferior, which can affect your working relationship.
Today, I learned not to compare how much I’m earning against my peers because I’ve discovered that what really matters is I’m making more money today than I was last year.
We all have different skills, talents, and opportunities — and someone will always be earning less, and earning more than you. So instead of comparing yourself to others, simply focus on increasing your cash flow year after year.
2. There’s beauty in having a routine.
Wake up, go to the office, work, go home, and sleep — it’s a routine that I did for many years as an employee. A lot of people call this cycle the rat race, and we all want to get out of it.
But not until I quit my job and become a freelancer, and later on an entrepreneur, did I learn how important and essential having a daily routine is.
Establishing a regular daily schedule helps conserve your mental energy.
When the things you do every day become a habit, you’ll need less time planning your day, and you can focus more on executing your plan to attain your goals.
3. Learn how to deal with different kinds of people.
You can choose where you work, but you cannot choose who you’ll work with.
And like most of you, I’ve had my share of weird colleagues, gossip-loving officemates, arrogant bosses, and many other personalities.
The corporate world is a social environment and whether you like it or not, you will need to learn how to deal with different characters and find a way to work with them effectively.
The people skills I learned in those years have definitely helped me in facing the diverse personalities of clients, suppliers, and peers that I meet and work with regularly.
4. Cash is king.
“Cash is king” is a cliche in the business world. It refers to the importance of cash flow, and to survive you need to keep the profits high and the expenses low.
Occasionally, our boss would ask us to share ideas we may have for the company. And in those moments, I understood that what he was really asking from us are suggestions on how the company can make or save more money.
Today, I’ve become more aware of the things I do, and avoid wasting time on doing mundane stuff. If it will not help me make or save money, then it’s not worth spending my “working time”.
5. Your value depends on the problems you can solve.
In the corporate world, those who often get promoted are not the ones who work hard, but those who have shown great ability to solve problems and handle issues that arise in the company.
You may not see your supervisor or manager physically working all the time, but they earn more than you because they are efficient at avoiding, handling, and fixing problems.
And that’s why whenever I’m putting up a business or deciding if I want to pursue a project, the first thing I ask is what problem will it solve for the customer. When you become a solutions provider, the money will follow.
6. You cannot improve what you don’t measure.
I hated making job reports back then because it’s a long and boring task. But I realized later on that those are important not just for the company, but for my self-enhancement as well.
Those reports allowed me to objectively measure my output, and when I compare them to my past performance, it allowed me to see areas where I can improve in my work.
Today, monitoring metrics such as personal income, monthly expenses, annual net worth, and many others have helped me improve my finances. And there are other things I also measure that help me improve my personal and professional life as well.
7. Learning should never stop.
I was always excited when we have to attend training because it’s a welcome break from our daily work routine, plus we get to spend a day or two in a hotel with a buffet lunch and snacks.
But why do companies regularly invest in employee training? Because it’s good for them in the long-term — you get better employees with updated skills and knowledge, and rarely do they leave after, especially if they’re happy at work.
And it’s the same for you. When you continuously learn and improve, you become better equipped and more efficient at reaching your goals and achieving success.
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Photo credit: markjsebastian