Wisdom Unleashed: Lessons from Seasoned Professionals

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In our community, we posed a question to WisGen: “What is a professional lesson(s) you wish you had learnt early in your career?”

As anticipated, our WisGen had valuable and illuminating lessons to share. Below are the lessons lovingly shared with us, as we lovingly share with you, dear reader.

Nakul Subramanyam

“People will forget about what you did or did not do for them but will always remember how you made them feel.” This valuable lesson would have made me a better professional early in my career and would have helped me focus on relationships and not just my work!


Chinmay Chakravarty
  • Learn to love what you do! In today’s world of cutthroat competition, your top priority should be to land a job. You may not have the luxury of choosing between jobs, and the job you find yourself in may not be the one you wanted. But you must find ways to enjoy it and pursue excellence at it. As hard as it may be, try not to hate it. Most importantly, do not rue or lament it before your friends, because the cumulative force of those likely reactions will make you miserable. Simply put, enjoy your work and excel in all its spheres to work towards building a good life!
  • Be professional in your work. I have noticed that people, not only at my workplace but in government and private organisations lack professionalism. This behaviour has hampered work and will continue to do so, despite technological leaps.


Satish Rao
When you initially begin to build a career there is a lot to learn, and you pick it up quickly in the first three to five years. The market pursues you and keeps enticing you with exorbitant offers to join new opportunities. But don’t get tempted as some of them may not be suitable for you in the long run and you end up hopping jobs till you realise that in a very short span, you have changed 4-5 employers which is not good for your experience or your CV. Additionally, it does not offer good growth prospects. Choose a good company, try to stick around for an extended period, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to advance your career there.
Ranjan Basu
Being decisive is important, but the moment you choose is just as, if not more, important. Like clicking a picture, you know you must push the button to take the image, but the moment you choose to press the shutter button also matters.
Satyanarayan SS

Be clear in your communication at all times!

Shailen S Bhargav

Two lessons, both of equal importance, which I wish I had learnt sooner are:

  • Do not brag about your achievements in the infancy stage of your career. It is important to celebrate achievement without sounding conceited, so talk about what or who helped in reaching the achievement. The people who are listening to you must be able to identify the steps taken so that there is a valuable takeaway.
  • The importance of learning from failures. I have learnt more from them than my successes, both of which I’ve had a fair share. From my failures, I’ve learnt not to get dependent on my past laurels. It is because of this I’ve been able to refrain from over-committing and instead steadily expanded my capabilities. I have also learnt the importance of being open to learning from colleagues and how to improvise and adapt in situations that call for it. By keeping these things in mind, I was able to triumph more in my professional life.
Swati Kundu

The importance of making good decisions, not being impulsive, and being calm in stressful situations.

Sunita Sinha

Be clear with your professional goals and focus on reaching them. Be adaptable and flexible since you may have to take detours or change your goals. Keep trying new things, it will help you avoid becoming complacent. Finally, enjoy your life and career. It is the journey and not the destination that matters.

Kenneth Scott

With 30 plus years of experience in the hospitality industry, I wish that I had learnt sooner:

  • It is important to continually add to one’s professional qualifications through upskilling apart from the value which will be added through opportunities at work, such as taking on added responsibilities, which will happen as you progress.
  • It is a marathon, not a sprint; if it makes sense, choose an organisation, and stay committed over a long-term period rather than shifting after a couple of years. Remember, the longer the game fewer the players.


Brig Arun Sabherwal, VSM

We all know that success in any profession depends upon Mehnat (hard work), Kabiliyat (competence) and Kismat (good luck), but what we often ignore is complying and confirming with the behaviour expected in a particular profession. E.g.: An Army Officer’s behaviour, attire and grooming, punctuality, uprightness, loyalty, etc. is different from that of people in other professions like acting, teaching, medicine, politics, law, etc. To be successful in any field, a certain degree of compliance and conformity with the behaviour expected in the field is necessary.

Ganesh Baskaran

Retain and improve on successes. Revisit failures of the past; create space for the future; and live in the present.


Firdaus Nariman

Two lessons that I wish I had learnt early in my career are:

  • It is of paramount importance to ensure the team one is leading is high on morale and is happy. From personal experience in the hospitality industry, I’ve realised that a happy team can ensure that guests are happy. Satisfied and happy guests are more likely to return and generate positive word of mouth.
  • Long-term and short-term goals are important. One cannot realise long-term goals without setting short-term goals. Understanding the importance and need for this early on will help in career growth.

Opportunities never repeat in a person’s life.


Rajesh Chhatlani

I was an employee at an organisation for nearly two decades and prioritised the growth of the company over my own. My colleagues thought of me as a loyal fool, yet I continued to believe that if the company prospers, I too will be able to grow and prosper. I realised much later that my growth and the company’s growth are not directly proportional. I should have networked with my peers and taken an active role in growing my career.



The art of saying “no”. One needs to learn to say “no” and realise that saying “yes” all the time does not result in career growth.


Shubha Murthi

Make a clear demarcation between your personal identity and professional identity. A lot of times, in my experience, the personal and professional distinction gets blurred when one works for a long time and especially if one is passionate about their work. Now, this does not mean I am asking people to not be passionate about work. After all, passion brings conviction which propels us to courageously venture into uncharted territories. My advice is to separate your personal and professional identity early in your career. Doing this will help you nurture relationships, build new friendships, and network. Having different relations with people will come in handy when you’re no longer professionally engaged, at least in my experience. I learnt this lesson well into my forty’s and it is one I wish I had learnt much earlier in my career since it would have given me more peace and purpose.


Lakshmi Sankaran

A team is only successful when each of its members succeeds. I wish I learned this sooner. I always wanted to work as an individual contributor on several projects, which meant I was not able to share the success stories of teams. In retrospect, I realise even an independent contributor must channel their work towards the greater good of the organisation.


Yacoob Hussain

Do not underestimate the importance of hard work and keep learning new things, whether it is knowledge or new skills.

Ajay Saran Mathur
  • Adding a qualification is always a benefit. So, enrol yourself in classes or apply yourself to a new project and find out your capabilities.
  • No one is a superhero so do not feel shy when meeting people of stature. Just keep your head on your shoulders.
  • When you aim at a goal do not get disheartened if the goalkeeper blocks it. You either get to know your weakness or the other person’s strength. It is a win-win situation.
  • Self-confidence and assurance are key. People may try to distract you by teasing and heckling but remain cool. You can think better with a clear and level head.
Jayashree Ravi

As an art director in advertising, my experiences have provided insight and taught me valuable lessons. A few of them are:

  • Collaboration is Key. Learn to collaborate effectively and communicate ideas with your team.
  • Understand the target audience. Knowing your target audience is crucial in creating effective advertisements.
  • Creativity within constraints. Learn to be creative and innovative within set limits. It is a valuable skill. It will push you to think outside the box and find solutions that deliver impact without overspending.
  • Adapt to trends and technology. Being adaptable and staying up-to-date with the latest developments will help you remain relevant and competitive in the industry.
  • Storytelling matters. Learn how to tell stories that evoke emotions and connect with the audience. This is essential to creating memorable campaigns.
  • Brand consistency. As an art director, you play a significant role in ensuring visual consistency and adherence to brand guidelines.
  • Embracing critique. Constructive criticism can lead to stronger ideas and better outcomes.
  • Balance creativity and strategy.
  • Resilience and patience. Learn to stay resilient and patient during challenging times.
Sunil Kumar Gupta

Do not comment on matters that are outside or beyond your work remit. It may not always be appreciated by the people who are above you. Know the organisation and people you work with before being candid.


Aruna Bhalla

The lesson I’ve learned is that it is important to market my training skills to reach a larger audience.

Venkatesha Prasanna Basabhat

I was in my final year of B.E. in Mechanical Engineering and was working on a project on Solar Heaters. The system required us to make a few turned components and fabricate the solar panels.

I approached the people at the workshop. One experienced toolroom operator assisted me in making the required components, fabricating, and assembling them to complete the project. He was an ITI technician and highly knowledgeable in his field. He asked me a few questions of which I had no practical knowledge. He explained how to become a successful mechanical engineer and advised me to spend more time on practical aspects instead of just theory. It was an eye-opener for me.

The lesson from this anecdote is the importance for engineers to give importance to practical experience to be successful in the industry.

Making B.E. Graduates industry ready requires institutions to train students in industry-relevant knowledge.


VN Dalmia
  • Avoid differences with the government. Try to compromise.
  • Avoid labour strikes at any cost.
  • When going to market with consumer products, don’t launch a single product. Launch a basket to spread the risk.


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