Professionally Speaking

I had a mini Eureka moment at work. And I assure you it rarely happens.

So for all practical purposes, I am a “junior” in my team given that there is a minimum gap of 8 years in terms of work experience with other members. And it has been a tremendous learning and grooming experience! It feels pretty awesome being treated with the same level of respect, authority and expectations. And I have been extremely lucky to have a team that has mentored me during my plunges in unfamiliar waters.

But this awesome senior helped me understand something – do not bow down simply because of your age and lack of experience. My role revolves predominantly on client interactions and being a liaison; there are folks with a gazillion years of experience under their belt but often clueless in certain areas. I am supposed to jump in and steer them towards the right direction.

I had flat-out refused at first… Frankly, I was scared. I simply could not take them to task, review their work and give “constructive feedback”. But slowly I learnt how to handle delicate situations. I did fumble and mumble but all in all I managed to come to terms with the work. But it was difficult to be rid of the block “I am inexperienced – how can I do this!”.

And then came the “Eureka” moments. Our team was expanding and we needed more resources. So lo and behold! I was assigned with conducting preliminary interviews. Pop went “No! No! No!” inside my head. The “junior block” reared its snotty flaming nose very aggressively. But okay! Here goes…  I reached out and dialed.

And my doubts melted away. It struck me with the subtlety of a club that intelligence comes from area of expertise – what I lacked in years I made up in expertise. I was warm and cozy in the work while these candidates were still in the blue ocean. In that one moment, I found my confidence and my humility – to acknowledge people for their work and not just years of experience.

Skills. Skills. Skills. The work is what defined me even though the process itself was challenging and annoying. Today, one and half years later, I am entrusted with project management apart from the consulting assignments. I am learning to handle multiple projects and balance priorities driven by my instinct. I am slowly understanding people and significance of the professional relationships in this maze of development. I am allowing myself to make mistakes rather than not do anything at all. And I am thoroughly enjoying being in the driver’s seat with its breaks and accelerators!

So yay! For our work. For our expertise. For our learning….

Okay, let’s be real! The YAY is just for our weekends… The rest is stupid.


What was your defining coming-of-age moment in your professional life?

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33 thoughts on “Professionally Speaking

  1. I learned a number of things in my professional life:
    – Diplomacy works! Suggesting to someone that they consider an alternative is far more productive than simply telling them.
    – To be human is to be fallible. Experienced people make mistakes, as do the inexperienced. The key is not so much to avoid mistakes, but that you learn from them and do not repeat them.
    – If faced with a question you cannot answer, be honest and supportive “I’m sorry I do not know the answer to that question, but I will find out and get back to you.”

    I just love people who are honest with me and admit when they don’t know something, but will find out and let me know!

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    • Thank you Colin for sharing your experiences… These are simple tips that can be unconsciously imbibed in our workplace. Too bad how some people don’t make that effort!

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  2. Learning never gets old. Its only we do. And those ‘Eureka’ moments happen every now and then! 🙂

    And yeah! leaving apart all the stupid rest, nothing is better than weekends!

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  3. I like this. I’m glad you’ve got the confidence to see your junior status doesn’t make you a noob.
    I always enjoyed cracking open a new thing — like researching and making a discovery. It’s the details. I think being a why child led to this.

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  4. That is so wonderful! I understand that “no, no, no” screaming in your head. I am the same. But when it is something I basically always wanted to do or at least get the chance, then I say Yes immediately in order to not trick myself… lol. Also sometimes things are just falling into your lap because it is time…. you experienced how ready you were to take the challenge 😊

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  5. It’s a pleasure to know that you have a good working environment. Counting myself there are a lot of people who wake up and swear their fate before going to work. I hope you have a wonderful experience in your job. 🙂

    Weekend is not far, have a wonderful one.

    PS: Brakes (delete this line once you have changed it) 😉

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  6. Hmm.. defining moment
    in my professional life?
    SMiLe..S.. After i left
    and no longer looked
    back.. but
    sure that’s
    what experience
    iS for.. never looKing
    at worry aGaiN.. noW
    but at lEAst for mE
    so impossible
    bEfore…
    i used to
    wonder why the
    older folks coming
    out of the storeS alWays
    had the most sincere
    and biggest grins
    and it seems
    all too simple
    now..
    as they
    no longer
    race a rat..
    anyWay.. living for
    money makes the work..
    work for living makes A liFe..
    Love what yA do.. Ya can’t go
    anywHere better as far as i FeeL..:)

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  7. Well said Praj. This experience must have cajoled you to perform better and better. You still have very long way to go. Nice beginning. All the best.

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  8. I think we learn something new each day.. and that is very important. . To know what you have learnt..

    I have learnt so much in my line of work.. and I am hoping it’s going to help me in what I am going to do next.. Although each day being a different day at work will be missed a lot.. But for me it’s time for new pastures…

    All the best always and ooooh friday today weekend is here.. and the best part I ain’t got to work weekends anymore… yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

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    • I am sure this is something you will experience even more now that you are embarking on new adventures. Thank you Bikramjit for sharing your experiences here. Good luck and enjoy the weekends 🙂

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  9. I have a lot to learn. Can’t say I can relate, but these small bits of advice will sure come in handy sometime! My way of taking away something memorable from this… 😊

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  10. I feel like I am in your seat now and doing more or less the same things. I feel elated that I accomplished some things that others could not (just because I believed in myself).

    Three Cheers!

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  11. A good lesson to lean! I love your courage and how you stood up to that snotty flaming nose of junior block and helped it clear out the snot.

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  12. As long we live, we learn. And, with time, we grow skills and expertise in different fields.The initial hesitance was very much in my case; being a stock market professional, which they say, is a ‘men’s world’. But I learnt and did mistakes and again learnt from them. Client interaction is the toughest thing…I do agree… 😛

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