The article below is especially useful for all those young managers who are about to enter/have just entered their corporate life. At the start of our professional career, we all in one way or the other get influenced by (in varying capacities) what we hear/read from our seniors or industry experts on the success mantras of corporate life, Do’s and Don’ts and things to focus on to excel professionally.
This leads to young managers beginning to implement some/all of these Guru mantras in their day to day routine and work style without giving it a complete thought. Eventually, some of them may work and some may not. The intent of this article is to share 5 lessons that I have seen young managers realizing a little late in their corporate career basis my own experience as well as seeing a lot of my colleagues and friends.
- You need to upskill yourself every day:
Yes while this may sound very obvious, but most of us don’t do the same as soon as we enter corporate life. One of the key reasons for the same is the perception that once you are employed, your employer will take care of your training and development needs. It may be true in some cases, but not always. In today’s highly competitive scenario, where multiple candidates will compete with each other for the same role, you need to continuously up skill yourself to bring more value to the table. There are multiple ways of doing it such as subscribing to relevant blogs, attending industry seminars, short-term online/offline courses, connecting with alumni/industry experts informally, online training platforms such as Coursera/Linda and proactively volunteering for cross-functional projects within your organization. The need of the hour is to invest generously in developing yourself and you need to take the ownership of it.
- Protect your core: Be original, be yourself –
This is one of the most common mistakes that I see young managers doing where they try to become something which they are not – this is mostly led by peer pressure, the pressure to quickly gel in with company culture and look cool. Just to be clear, I’m not discouraging here to improve upon your soft skills/functional competencies and get inspired from others/role models. What I am warning against is sudden, significant and unwanted changes in your work style/personality traits leaving your inherent core. This will lead to you not being emotionally happy since you are doing something against your natural flow impacting your productivity, performance and self-confidence. You need to create a differentiated positioning for yourself in corporate world rather than becoming a “me too ” – hence discover what you love, play to your strengths and develop a unique style of your own and you will see others copying you.
- Your Best Investment is your Health: –
While everybody knows the same, most of the new managers compromise on their health at the cost of excelling at their workplace. By the time, you realize the same, it’s too late – either you have already developed some common health syndromes (Insomnia/Depression /Obesity/Diabetes etc.) or it will be too difficult for you to change your lifestyle. Believe me (and I’m talking from my own experience), it’s absolutely not worth it plus it’s a clear indication of you not managing your time effectively. 30 minutes of physical activity daily is probably the best investment that you will do in your career. The key is to take care of this very early in your career. Keeps your health at equal or higher footing vs. your professional career right from Day 1. Remember you are valuable to any organization as long as you are productive.
Find the activities that you enjoy: – walking /running/squash/yoga/TT/badminton etc. One more thing that may help is you find some time in office for the same – since most of the offices these days have provisions for the same – it will not help physically but will also recharge you mentally (For ex I play TT for 25- 30 minutes in the office daily)
4. Stay grounded, Stay connected: –
Corporate life is like a rollercoaster, you will experience never seen before peaks and highs that will catapult you into a different league in terms of social-circle, lifestyle, standing etc. and equally steep lows that will make you question your existence and immerse you with self-doubt. All the highs are like a mirage and sometimes young managers start taking them too seriously and get infatuated by the same giving them far more important than what you need. This is the recipe for disaster as you start optimizing time from something that is a must – your support system, your roots – your friends /family and well-wishers. Your support system helps you stay grounded and connected to your values and moral system. Allocate some time in a month to connect with them – through a phone call /Video-call /Face to Face meetings or occasional holidays. Believe me, when everybody will close their doors to you, this is the only door that will take you in.
- Your career is more than just your CV and growing fast:-
When I ask most young managers what do you want to do in your corporate life – most of them answer by giving a time-bound target of reaching a certain position within the organizations – while there is nothing wrong in having an aspiration for a fast-tracking career – but you need to have a larger professional goal other than speed – it can be learning, creating value, making an impact, contributing to society, solving complex problems, leading teams, coaching young managers or driving innovation. Having a larger purpose to your career helps you in taking the right decisions in tough situations, staying motivated throughout and differentiating yourself from others.
I will be more than happy to hear your thoughts /feedback on the above article at
About the author:
Tarun Aggarwal is a Consumer Goods Expert with more than 9 + years of Sales and Marketing experience spanning across geographies, functions and categories with 2 of the most admired FMCG firms In India – Colgate and Marico. Currently, he is working with Colgate Palmolive India Limited as National Key Accounts Manager – Modern Trade leading the All India Modern Trade Retail business for Top Retail customers such as Future Group /Aditya Birla Retail and D-Mart.
Other than work, Tarun enjoys occasional poetry (@ambrosia4u.blogspot.com), blogging on leadership lessons (@ tagglines4u.blogspot.com), reading, amateur Insta Photography @ Taggstories and travelling. Tarun is also actively engaged in helping and guiding students and young managers to identify their career path and excel in the same and creating engaging content for leadership/functional training.