Tips for those who want to learn on the job.

It’s a jungle out there
Disorder and confusion everywhere
No one seems to care
Well I do
Hey, who’s in charge here?
It’s a jungle out there
Poison in the very air we breathe
Do you know what’s in the water that you drink?
Well I do, and it’s amazing

These lyrics of It’s a Jungle out There by Randy Newman cannot be further from the truth if you are in a new environment. Especially a new corporate environment. And to add spice to the source- your first corporate job.

It is jungle out there and few survive and I am spongely learning.

In my journey of bettering myself for the projects that I plan to undertake in the coming months, I have taken off to uncharted territories, territories with so much rules and regulations. Territories where I have to look a certain way. Which is something I thought I would not conform to.

In this jungle of a place, I have come to learn a few things and would wish to share.

1.Observe the tasks, people and the overall environment and adjust to the kind of conditions you know exist in your office. Learn everything you can as you go along; this will ultimately help you if you have a career plan in mind.

2. Be a sponge. Start by listening and learning. Set aside what you know, just for a bit. Immerse yourself. Take the time to understand how things are done and why they are done that way. There will be a time and place to bring experiences to bear, but first, absorb.  Don’t forego the opportunity to first integrate into your new world.

3. Curiosity. React with genuine questions and sincerely pursue the “why.” Curiosity, unburdened by the baggage of judgement, is the universal solvent.

4. Moment of choice. The shoshin path – “I don’t understand this. I want to understand why we do things this way,” – an approach which springs from the belief that my confusion results from a lack of knowledge. Or, the been-there-done-that path: “Since I don’t understand this, it’s probably stupid.” Since it’s hard to mask how we genuinely feel, adjusting how we genuinely feel is significantly more important than what we say.

5. Build relationships. Effective relationships are a platform on which everything else rests, but they take time and care to cultivate.

Hope you find this helpful in your learning endeavour.

N.B shoshin (which in secular parlance means “innocence” or “inexperience”) refers to a beginner’s mind—a state of openness and wonder that allows a person to approach life unfettered by the preconceptions, biases or habits associated with knowledge and experience.

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