Learn From the People Around You

There’s more to work than just work. If you’re lucky, you’ll make some of your closest friends from your place of employment. There are many people whom I no longer work with but am still close to. I have learned some very valuable things from them. Here are a few tidbits:

  1. I hate confrontation and will avoid it at all costs. It’s how I’m made. Bernice taught me to grow a set, be bold, and how to stand up for my own ideas. But most importantly, she taught me how to do it with class.
  2. From Greg I learned that I absolutely hate okra stew and that I LOVE Indian food. He was the person who would always volunteer to go to out-of-the way places to try new food and encourage everyone else to eat it.
  3. From a person who shall remain nameless, I learned that even though a person might be super nice to you, they wouldn’t hesitate to pull the wool over your eyes. She broke through my naïveté and made me a little wiser. It needed to be done.
  4. Jill showed me the wonders of the Fractured Prune. If you live on the east coast of the U.S., you may know what I’m talking about. They’re the best donuts. EVER.
  5. A long time ago, Tami educated me on the following grammatical rule: there is only ONE space after a period. Now it’s the first thing I do in any text that is sent my way for design. I like to save my editors a little time.
  6. Between Steve and Jocelyn, I learned how to make the PERFECT cup of coffee. I will pass it on to you: get a coffee grinder and a French press. Grind your own beans and brew them for exactly 4 minutes. Trust me, it’ll make your morning go SO smoothly.
  7. Donna taught me how to handle the stickiest of office politics. She didn’t directly teach, but she was gracious enough to let people in on the inner workings of our non-profit. We knew the personalities of all of the board members, knew what went on at the board meetings, and exactly how she handled them at their worst. She prepared me for the next company I worked for.
  8. Once upon a time, I learned by example that you should always tie your hair back when working with the Blizzard machine or you’ll get your hair caught in the mechanism and have to be rushed to the hospital. Don’t worry, you have never eaten at that Dairy Queen.
  9. From a triad of management in a very small company, I learned that nepotism, racism, and sexism are very much alive today, thus making me slightly more of a cynic. I also learned how to deal with it when there is no HR department to turn to.
  10. Perhaps the most important thing I’ve taken away from my colleagues is how strong a bond can be forged when you all go through hell together. Any petty squabbles we normally had paled in comparison. So if you’re in a bad situation with other people, don’t hesitate to lean on them and learn from them.

There are many other things, but these are the most memorable. My palette has been broadened, my faith in humanity has been shattered and rebuilt, and I’ve become a wiser and (I like to think) better person because of the people I’ve had the luck to work with. I hope that you, too, have the same kinds of people sitting around you.

Popular search terms for this article:

learn from people around you

 Post Tags
Stephanie is a graphic designer who has managed art departments in the non-profit and corporate worlds. She is currently Work(ing)Awesome(ly) at home with her company Studio Lewis Graphic Design.


  1. Nonchalant Savant on the 18th March

    From the people around me I’ve learned:

    …that it’s good to set firm boundaries as some folks think nothing of running roughshod over them IF YOU LET THEM.

    …to never ask someone to do something that I’m not willing to do myself. Including cleaning the toilet.

    …that business is much more fun when it’s us against them instead of me against everyone else.

    …that the longer that URGENT memo sits on my desk, the less urgent it becomes.

    …it’s easier to get someone to buy into your idea if you can give them the credit for it. It’s a big-picture philosophy.

  2. Alex on the 18th March


    That was awesome! I’ve learned so much from people too. I am a good listener. I don’t talk much when I am with people because I want to hear what they have to say and learn. I don’t learn anything from hearing myself talk.

  3. Julius on the 18th March

    I’ve learned from my former colleague that being calm at all times and being careful with what you say would prevent more trouble during a heated discussion.

    I’ve also learned from another of my colleagues that rewarding yourself during appropriate times gives you a good sense of accomplishment.

  4. ammar hassan on the 18th March

    i learned from different persons like

    from my friends’ boss

    ……… See things / tasks from a distance, You will feel easy to do the things

    from a book “Who moved my Cheese”

    ……… Notice the change coming in your life, and try to Be the change

    from one of my seniors

    …….. Be proactive , create trust

Add a Comment