Five don'ts I learned from others' life experiences

  • Have a life beyond life at work - A very senior colleague devoted his entire adult life to his office work. He had no passion but office work. The day he retired he asked his wife to make him a cup of tea by scribbling on a note-sheet (official paper used on files). He had no clue how to spend his time after retirement. He committed suicide after some time. Be sincere to your work. Love your work. But don’t make work your life.

  • Make short term sacrifices for long term gains - While in college, a friend spent more time standing outside the girls’ hostel than in the classroom. The last time I heard of him, he was still struggling for a stable job. Don’t start having fun before it’s due.

  • Take time to take life changing decisions - A colleague who joined the civil service in the same year as I did, left it after a few years to explore other territories. He realised soon that he had committed a mistake. He’s still trying to get reinstated in his civil service job. Don’t take major decisions in a hurry or while in a negative state of mind. Don’t forget to consult those you trust. In the end, take your own decision but only after you have considered all factors.

  • Live your own dream - A colleague (doctor by education) joined the civil service because that was his parents’ life long dream. Not a day goes when he doesn’t think that he should have pursued a career in medicine. Don’t live others’ dreams. Life’s too short for that.

  • Have empathy for others - A very senior colleague retired from the civil service after attaining the highest position. A week after retirement, when he had to come to his ministry on some work, no one helped him get a pass for entry into the building. He had rubbed everyone the wrong way when in position of power. Don’t make enemies when you can make friends.

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