What I learned at work this year

In the fashion of Bill Gates’ blog post, I thought I would also write a post about the things I’ve learned at work – and also in my personal life – this year. I have done a similar recap of the previous years on the blog every year around this time, so it’s only fair to follow this tradition now. Luckily, I started writing this post before my holidays in Pakistan – where I felt like travelling back to spring or summertime – when the Christmas and end of year magic were in full force, so I had the mental mood of writing a yearly wrap up.

It has been a year of palpable growth. I have never felt so different and in so many areas at work, and this has definitely been accentuated towards the end of the year. I attribute this to the experience accumulated – I still have a long way to go but I can clearly feel how the experience I am accumulating is further shaping my growth – but I truly think that only time and experience are what open your eyes in so many ways.


What I learned at work this year-min
Just a couple of the things that fuelled my 2019: my laptop and coffee.


There have been some obvious highlights in the year such as getting a promotion or finishing my Masters’ studies while working full-time and doing crazy hours. But for looking back at 2019 I’d rather recap on the things I’ve learned and that I believe have helped me grow and become a better person. So here they are, my 2019 highlights and lessons learned:

Managing people – The highlight of my year professionally has been discovering that I am enjoying working with people closely and managing them, especially when bringing in the coaching and mentoring factor. I don’t know if this is something that comes with experience – and by know I have had experiences with managing people on both ends of the spectrum, better and worse – or it’s something temporary, but I am excited to keep growing in that direction with the new year and decade ahead.

I have genuinely thought for a long time that I am not a “people’s person” but I am enjoying discovering the opposite more and more. Of course, I myself am still at the start of my career, with only 4 years into proper work life but feeling how I can already give back to people that are just starting out and supporting them is bringing me a lot of happiness at work.

Saying “no” more often and becoming more of “zero bullshit tolerance” person – If you’ve followed along this year, you probably know that I’ve had a pretty heavy and tumultuous year at work. This made me put countless hours into work – during the work days, work nights and weekends – go through lots of stressful meetings – many of them with our C-suite, many of them with VP-level executives from the world’s biggest corporations – sometimes bearing bad news for my clients and many times not being able to control the output of my work based on my input.

Being exposed to such a year, pushing through hard times and enjoying some successes as well along the way, allowed me to gain more confidence and own myself even more in a way that I am willing to cope with less and stand my ground more and push back. Unfortunately, I know that I have been “conditioned” to being a “people-pleasing” person, and even though I try to fight

Showing up for myself – This year has brought a lot of understanding around the idea that I need to show up for myself because no one else will. If I work myself away, nobody will tap me on the shoulder and tell me how great I am – and even if they do, it won’t make much of a differece. Realizing that I need to make good decisions for my own wellbeing and heath every single day, brought a whole new perspective and the ability to have a new beginning and make better decisions every single day.

I am proud of making time to work out for myself quite consistently this year and putting myself first every single day, and I have done this quite literally this year, I’ve put myself first (almost) every single morning by showing up to workouts early in the morning regardless of the heaviness of the work day waiting for me and how much I would benefit of an extra early hour or two at the office. This also makes me feel proud on a differnt level because while I enjoy mornings, I never thought I would be able to work out first thing in the morning and with finding the right type of workout, I’ve learned to absolutely love it. 

Apart from these highlights, I also wanted to share some more thoughts on things I have done or want to do more of:

On losing fears. I feel like I have lost more fears this year, both at work and in personal life. I have always tried to have a “nothing to lose” attitude, especially at work – I know I can do well in any environment so I am not afraid of losing my job or  – which has allowed me to always speak my mind and stay honest in conversations with people from direct reports all the way to C-level.

On reading more. I have picked up on reading more this year, both fiction and non-fiction and this makes me immensely happy. While the amount of books I read it’s still very small, I am happy to see the progress and it’s something I want to keep doing more and more. My favourite book is, without doubt, Michelle Obama’s Becoming as reading it brought a lot of inspiration and drive to do and be more.

On travelling, In the midst of the crazy work year, both my boyfriend and I have been valuing and cherishing the time spent travelling more and more. Travelling allows us to disconnect and create memories in a completely different way and this is something I want us to do more and more.


Looking ahead

What I wish for 2020 is to keep growing into myself, make better decisions every single day and conversly, use every single day as an opportunity for making better decisions and choices that will help me become a better version of myself. I am excited for all that’s to come and the growth ahead, and all that I really wish for the years ahead is health to support all of this and see it all.


Thank you for reading and do let me know your 2019 highlights and/or lessons learned in the comments section below. I hope everyone has a happy and healthy start in 2020!


  1. Happy New Year! 😀 Such a delightful read! I love that you’ve placed putting yourself first as one of the points. We’ve to do that and cheer for ourselves too! And you did this so consistently this year!

    1. Thank you for reading it, Komal! So glad that you enjoyed it. Yes, toally agree! And I think it’s a never ending journey, because we will often still feel guilty or want to prioritize other things, but using the opprtunity that every new day (and every new year even) brings, to remind ourselves that without a happy, healthy self we are nothing is so, so important.

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