Having worked in corporate for a couple of years, I know one thing: Almost everybody complains about their job.
Except for a few, people don’t love their jobs. I know I am generalizing, but if you have worked in the corporate world, you will agree.
No matter if you’re a manager, a c-suite executive, or a fresher… if you are working in a corporate job or planning to join one soon, read this post.
Here are the 6 lessons from stoicism I learned and practiced that made my corporate job(s) less miserable —
Get Ready to Face Arrogance
“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: the people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly”.Marcus Aurelius
Right before you set your foot in your office, get ready to face arrogancy and ungratefulness from people you work with. Most of your colleagues are running on auto-pilot, and they are not making conscious choices in life.
Every one of your colleagues wants a better job position, more perks, benefits, salary, and less pressure work. But not everyone will get everything. So, there will be bitterness, jealousy, and even dishonesty.
Expect all of this, and continue doing your work the way you would have done otherwise. Show compassion to everyone you meet, and don’t judge them for being tough to you. Whoever is causing you pain, must be having a lot of pain inside of himself/herself.
So acknowledge the unfairness of this world, and be prepared for unjust actions from others.
Learn to Tackle Your Ego
To accept without arrogance and to let go with indifference.Marcus Aurelius
Your ego will have you seek attachment to your job and work. It will have you attach your self worth with your salary. Be self-aware about your ego.
Do your job, and do it well. Accept appreciation for a good job without arrogance. And if you don’t get the well-deserved appreciation, let it go with indifference, and continue doing your job.
This one practice will help you ease out your work performance anxiety. Practice this to make your corporate job slightly less miserable.
Always Be the Problem-Solver
The Impediment to Action Advances Action. What Comes in the Way, Becomes the Way.Marcus Aurelius
There will always be challenges. Your manager might not approve your direction to work the project, you might face budget issues, there might even be client rejections to your creative solutions.
You will always have the choice — the choice to sit, complain, and cry over your challenges, or to continue your work and be a solution in every meeting.
Let me repeat this for you — “you will always have a choice to be the solution in every meeting”.
You could either drown in the waves, or you could learn how to pick your surfing board and ride these waves of challenges.
Differentiate Facts and Thoughts
We Are More Often Frightened Than Hurt, and We Suffer More in Imagination Than in Reality.seneca
“We have only 11% customer retention rate.” This is a fact.
“Most of our customers would love to purchase this again.” This is a thought (unless backed by a solid number or research).
This will take time, to learn how to see the distinction between facts and thoughts. The starting point will be to detach yourself from your work. Looking at things objectively will help you get better results in your job, instead of being emotionally attached to them.
The second step would be to communicate better, and not hesitating reporting hard findings.
Less emotional attachment to your work and better communication will make your job a little less miserable for you.
Demand the Best for Yourself
How Long Are You Going to Wait Before You Demand the Best for Yourself?EPICTETUS
Let me rephrase this Epictetus quote into a question suitable for today’s corporate world.
“For how long will you keep giving your best, helping your company increase its revenue (or save money) without asking for better compensation in terms of salary and other perks?”
This however doesn’t mean you should feel entitled to keep asking better salaries. That wouldn’t be fair, would it?
The reasonable process would be — you show your personal and professional growth, you do a better job, and then you won’t be in a position to hesitate to ask for better compensation.
More money might not solve all of your problems, but it definitely has the potential to make your job slightly less miserable.
Less Gossip. More Work.
Don’t Explain Your Philosophy. Embody It.Epictetus
Talk less. Listen more. Do your work.
Don’t tell why your job is becoming less miserable. Show them. If they ask you what are you doing differently, answer their question. But doing gossip will ruin your experience.
Practice your philosophy. Embody it. Don’t try to explain it unnecessarily.
Here are the 6 lessons from stoicism I learned and practiced that made my corporate job less miserable.
- Get ready to face arrogance. “When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: the people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly.” (~Marcus Aurelius)
- Learn to tackle your ego. “To accept without arrogance and to let go with indifference.” (~Marcus Aurelius)
- Always be the problem-solver. “The Impediment to Action Advances Action. What Comes in the Way, Becomes the Way.” (~Marcus Aurelius)
- Differentiate facts and thoughts. “We Are More Often Frightened Than Hurt, and We Suffer More in Imagination Than in Reality.” (~Seneca)
- Demand the best for yourself. How Long Are You Going to Wait Before You Demand the Best for Yourself? (~Epictetus)
- Less gossip. More work. “Don’t Explain Your Philosophy. Embody It.” (~Epictetus)