Fresh out of university, armed with a shiny new degree in my back pocket I was ready to get to work. Finally ! It sounded like such a stepping stone in the process of adulting. Earning enough of an income to get an apartment on my own and buy new work clothes, Yay! Little did I know back then that these next few years were going to challenge my self-esteem and my views on what it meant to be in the workplace. Here are some of the lessons I learned.

From Unsplash.com, pic by Scott Graham

Beware of those who seem “overly popular”

Alright this one is very important so read this carefully. During school I looked up to those who got peers recognition such as industry awards, features on on magazines, highlights on newsletter, etc. One good example is the award of the kind “top 40 under 40”. The first thing you need to know about these awards is that the individual or their employers pay thousands of dollars for them making it plain advertisement. Second is that the award is provided based on what the application mentions and perhaps one or two interviews with the individual. Their teams are never interviewed. You have no idea how this person treats others or how they behave in a day to day. These individuals are judged strictly based on what’s written on their bio and how they want to portray themselves .

Through my work experience I got to work under the direct supervision of two award winners of one of the top magazines in my field of work in North America. There isn’t much better you can do in terms of public facing recognition. At first, I was rightfully extremely excited to get the opportunity to work alongside people who had been recognized as the top of the game. As it turned out, working for these individuals ended up being a literal nightmare for me and the others of my team.

Here is a trend I noticed with these individuals: they listen to their teams ideas, take in the interesting points, and then repeat it as if they were their own. They are the public face of their teams, but in most cases didn’t do the work but gather the credits for it. They are simply repeating the information “louder” to their network. There is a serious difference between bringing a point or a conclusion because you discovered it through your own efforts, or repeating the idea your heard from someone else working in the…

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Ana Lévy

Mechanical engineer who wants to help the planet. Vegan & international, living in Montreal. Here are things that matter to me. Je suis française !