While we seldom heed the wise words of our parents, once you become an adult the strangest thing starts happening – you find yourself in situations at work, in social settings, alone, when suddenly you hear them – your parents’ voices in your head, telling you what to do. Even more unsettling than the fact that one of your parents just spoke up in your head, you realise they are right. And suddenly you feel at ease. Strange, isn’t it? Actually, if you really think about it, it’s not strange at all…

Every so often this happens to me. Things my dads (context: I am the biggest daddy’s girl on earth. I’m an even bigger daddy’s girl because I am blessed enough to have two dads – my biological dad and my other dad – I refuse to use the filthy word stepdad) said to me years ago, resound in my head.

Upon finding myself in the corporate world, there are 5 things they have taught me which I use in the office every day:

  1. Keep a paper trail. I think my dad started telling me this when I was somewhere in high school. This is one of the best pieces of advice I use at work. Just put the phone down? Send that person an email reciting everything you decided or confirmed over the phone. Informal meeting on your way to the kitchen? Send an email when you get back in the office. Create archive files and save documentation of all important information, events or decisions. The time will come when you are glad you did it, maybe even sooner than you think.
  2. NEVER send an angry email. Another one drilled into me – not only at work, but in all aspects of life this has come in handy. Under no circumstances do you put pen to paper when you are angry. Wait ten minutes or 24 hours before replying to any issue that has your blood boiling.
  3. Choose your battles. Think three times before kicking up a scene and think four times before starting the battle. More often than not, there is a less confrontational way of solving disputes.
  4. Don’t take the bait. Every office has that one person who likes to stir, baiting people for reactions because they enjoy the drama (if you can’t think of one person like that in the office, quickly do some introspection and make sure it’s not you). Identify that person and be aware of bait they throw out, then actively ignore it.
  5. Sometimes, it’s going to suck. Then, suck it up. When I complained to my dad about not having enough leave days, he laughed in my face. Then said something along the lines of “welcome to adulthood” and “deal with it”, resulting in this pearl of wisdom: suck it up. Yes, it sucks, but absolutely nobody is going to take pity on you and you need to deal with that fact.

Share your pearls of wisdom – planted by your parents – with me and I’ll expand the list!