Open letter from a father to a son who has just started his first job
You have always made me a proud father, always. When you were fifteen and studied with so much dedication and sincerity, when you stayed up all night to prepare for your boards and excelled at it, beta, I always knew that you had it in you to do something great.
Maybe my simple ‘congratulations’ didn’t convey the amount of pride I felt when you told me about your first job, but I hope this letter does.
As you start an important chapter of your life, I want you to remember a few things. Things that I learned the hard way, things that I wish someone had told me when I was starting off.
Son, over my journey of thirty years in my last company where I went from a junior clerk to regional manager, I learnt five valuable lessons that I want to share with you today. I hope you will draw from your father’s experience and reach the peak of your career much sooner than your father did.
You will make mistakes at work but take them as a learning opportunity. From small ones that can be overlooked to big ones, I want you to never be afraid or ashamed of making mistakes. A mistake is just an opportunity to learn; you will learn what you did wrong and how to set it right, and my advice would be to take responsibility for it too. Staying true to what you believe in will make you stronger as a person and you will respect yourself more.
You will excel at work if you work hard. Simple as it may sound, that is the secret of being the best. Hard work beats everything; whether it is talent, favoritism, or office politics. Just give your hundred percent without making any excuses, and the right people will notice and the right things will happen.
Take out time for yourself while you are working hard. Yes, your work is important but not more than your health. You are young now – maybe you think putting in long hours wouldn’t affect you and I hope it never does, but do not let work stress get to you. Do not compromise on your health! An advice that my father gave me, which I am now passing on to you, is that every day you should spend twenty minutes with yourself. Take a long walk, listen to soothing music, or simply think about things you are grateful for. This simple exercise will give you some time to yourself and will help you to connect with the person you are on the inside.
Chase excellence not money. I read this quote somewhere “Never stop learning because life never stops teaching”. At this stage of your career, you should aim to gain as much knowledge as you can. Learn from your bosses, your peers & your clients; there is something you can learn from each one of them. Absorb as much as you can and make the most of it.
Understand the value of money and manage wisely. Beta, I know it will be a great feeling when your salary gets credited. I remember the first time I was handed Rs. 750 by my boss, I had the biggest smile on my face that day. So I understand the joy and excitement you will feel on getting your first salary, but sometimes, when people start earning, they also start spending it mindlessly. I trust that you are wise enough to ensure that does not happen.
I’m not saying you should restrain your desires, but keep a check on your expenses, even the smaller ones, and save more. As Warren Buffet rightly said, “Do not save what is left after spending but spend what is left after saving”.
In fact, don’t just save money, multiply it by investing in the right places. When I was your age, we only had limited investment choices. Today youngsters can earn so much more than just their salary, by just investing a part of it in options like ULIPs which also come with life cover. And remember son, you will also have to start paying taxes now. If you invest wisely and correctly, you will automatically save through tax exemption on investments.
Son, remember life will not always be a bed of roses – it will be filled with ups and downs. I’m sure whatever comes your way, you will handle it well. And if you ever need a shoulder to lean on, always remember, your father is just a phone call away.
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