Lessons Learned in Grad School Thus Far

I'm halfway done through my MBA program, which you probably saw from my earlier post. A lot of times people will ask me "what's been the most valuable or biggest thing you've learned from your MBA program thus far?" It's hard to pinpoint one thing, but I'll share with you a few really important points that I've come to realize, both personally and professionally. 

No more "Shooting from the Hip" decisions

I'm really grateful that business school has taught me how to become a more informed decision maker, whether it be in a personal or professional setting.  Before going to business school, I went more on "gut feeling," not necessarily considering and weighing the quantitative factors.  Though there's still room for improvement, I know my analytical reasoning and quantitative skills are getting better. I guess you can say that b-school transforms you into some numbers and data driven decision maker, as most of the classes are so numbers heavy. For someone like me who is pretty far removed from numbers in my professional life, it's a pretty great skill set to learn. 

Done is better than Perfect

As Sheryl Sandberg famously said her her book "Lean In," I never deeply understood what "done is better than perfect" meant until now.  I had a tendency to try to make sure everything is done perfectly, but after a couple of terms, I realized that not only is it impossible, but attempting to do so will also lead you to burnout. In my case, when you're trying to do your best academically, while trying to stay healthy / workout / well put together, be a good partner / friend / daughter / employee, keep your finances going and house clean and tidy (the list goes on) -- it's going to be impossible to do everything perfectly -- and that's OK.  I've learned to be comfortable with doing things at 80% but keeping everything well balanced.  There's no point in trying to stress at making the last 20% perfect if it's not going to add that much additional output.

Don't forget about the ones who support and love you

I'm a firm believer that success is never achieved alone. It takes a lot of help and support from those around you to get you where you are, no matter how small the action. I'm thankful to my employer for giving me the time off for my residencies, I'm thankful for my friends and family for understanding why I might not be able to see them as often, and I'm thankful for a supportive partner who is patient and gives me the time and encouragement I need to stay focused.   So, be appreciative to those who give you the opportunity and support you to achieve your goals. Remember that "success is never achieved alone. There may be one person in the spotlight, but dozens of people behind the scenes making it happen."

With that, I'm off to my next residency in India. Until then! 



5 (Crappy) Work Experiences That We Should All Learn How To Handle

In the ideal world, "going to work" would never really feel like working. There would be no conflicts, as you love everyone you work with. Tasks would be easy to handle and you'd nail every performance review effortlessly, getting paid all the money in the world.

Unfortunately, for the majority of us, that's probably not the case.  To me, one of the hardest parts in adjusting to working life wasn't learning about how to perform my daily duties, but learning how to handle difficult situations with professionalism (at all times).  Most of the time, when I felt someone was wrong or had wronged me, the best thing for me to do wasn't arguing back to get my point across. Rather, it was more important for me to learn to re-adjust my perspective and angle on the scenario, and to view it as an opportunity of professional and personal growth.

I compiled a list of crappy work situations that we wish would never happen, but unfortunately does sometimes. Disclaimer: this post was drawn not only from my personal experiences, but also from the experiences of my friends and observations from my coworkers.

1) Working for a bad boss or a micromanager: Nothing sucks more than having someone always hover over you while you're trying to work.  Constant checking in from your manager can be irritating and put a strain on the employee-manager relationship.  When this happens, try to figure out the root of the "why."  For instance, maybe your boss is quantitatively driven, and hasn't received any numbers from your work lately.  The solution would be pro-actively providing stats and numbers to back up your work.  Or, maybe your boss had a difficult employee in the past, and wary of his/her team slacking off.  Whatever it is, earning the trust with your employer and showing your boss that you are reliable and self sufficient should alleviate the situation.

2) Being yelled at by a client/customer: While you might be more forgiving when your boss yells at you, it might be hard to swallow when a client or customer does the same. When I was doing telemarketing sales for LivingSocial, I had a few instances where customers/client would yell at me for calling. It sucked and made me feel bad, but at the end of the day, it's important to remember I didn't do anything wrong, and not to take it personally.  On the other hand, if you missed a deadline and you were at fault, that's another story.  Bottom line, when trying to win someone's business, it's important to remember that the "customer is always right." Okay, even if they are wrong, there's no point in fighting with them, trying to prove them wrong and aggravating the situation (unless you are okay with losing the business, possibly burning bridges, and hurting your reputation which I'd advocate against).

3) Getting fired: This has never happened to me personally, but from what I can imagine, it's probably an emotional roller coaster.  Instead of being angry at your boss, the company, your coworkers or even yourself,  take a step back to reflect on what happened and what went wrong. Perhaps you did or said something that you knew you shouldn't have - take that as a (hard) lesson learned, and make sure to improve for the future. Or, maybe you were cut for performance issues, but it stemmed from a disinterest in your job and lack of motivation; if that were the case, figure out what type of future/company role would get you more excited and passionate. Overall, there's no point in berating yourself and being bitter at others for what happened; move on from the situation, reflect on how you can grow, and learn to forgive.  (For those looking wanting to read more, I found this list to be pretty interesting).

4) Gossip crew:  If you know me, you'll know that I dislike gossip and drama in my personal life.  It's even worse when this is mixed into a professional setting and when it affects my performance on a job.  Unfortunately, sometimes gossip is inevitable. If there's a "gossip circle," do your best to avoid getting sucked in and avoid encouraging or spreading the drama.  It might be tempting to vent to coworkers about a situation; it might even feel therapeutic, as if you are bonding through venting together, but remember that people talk. Also, I'm a fan of keeping personal and professional social media accounts separate, as that could also spread unnecessary drama and gossip.

5) Getting a bad performance review - This one doesn't apply to me either, but from what I I've observed, after receiving a poor performance review, employees will either feel lower morale or quit altogether.  Do not get defensive or unruly towards your boss; instead, take it as constructive feedback, and figure out how to grow.  While I'm not advocating quitting, if poor performance is drawn from a continual lack of interest in the company and role, then (just a thought) you might want to explore and figure out options that will motivate you and spark your interest.  I found this article very insightful in how to handle poor performance reviews.