I will be honest in what I have learned.
You get paid to work for 8hrs a day, and before the pandemic, we had to travel for almost 2-3 hrs. So you almost end up giving 12 hrs towards your work. You have a family too, don't ignore them, your next promotion can wait, but you will never get the time back you lost not playing with your newborn kid.
My journey started at an office inside 2 BHK flat, where there was no AC 😂 it was worst in summer to be sitting there for 8hrs, but leave it aside. I joined as a trainee, and I had a Bond for a year. I quickly came to know this job is very toxic, and I have nothing to learn here. I wanted to leave but could not, as I had a Bond for a year.
As we say, "If you want to become a Senior Software Engineer, Start acting like one." If you get some responsibility at work aligned with your next role, take that. That's how I moved from SSE to Team Lead. My manager came to me and said, we need someone to take care of our Production Support Team, and I took that opportunity. I was already helping the Production Support Team and collaborating with them.
You may not have some work to do every week 8hrs*5 days. You will also have free time; it's ok to enjoy it, but make sure you also utilize that free time to learn something new. Most of the organizations I worked with had Pluralsight subscriptions; also, YouTube has excellent content. Remember, you are not going to get that time back.
I have been into situations where we had some people playing dirty politics. My suggestion even if it benefits you, it will not be for a long time. Please stay away from it; focus on your work.
Whenever I got the opportunity to build something, I always used to think like a user. In my earlier days, I was the designer, coder, PM, and BA. I used to think of end-to-end flow, how I could make it easier to use. For example, I had to make some changes to our Inventory management application to change some taxes values. I added an extra module to add new taxes and change the existing Tax values.
In my time with Startup, I started an initiative to share whatever I learned with my Team. And still, do with almost every organization I worked. Even one of my current clients has a weekly session, where you can share some topics. It helps you focus on that topic, and you make sure you know it better as you have to present it. The other ways are writing blogs, creating videos.
Getting involved in the community helps you learn new technologies, take different responsibilities, and does wonders to your confidence, as you get to interact with developers outside your work. And can help you get your next job via networking. I got work opportunities via networking after getting involved in the community.
The last learning from my Career so far, start contributing to Open Source. I have learned a lot by contributing to Open Source, and it made me a better developer at work. As going through the code base of projects, Angular made me learn the internals of the framework. Also, I got recognition like GDE and GitHub Star, which made my work more visible in the community.
You can also read my journey below
Also I shared How I went from $1000 to better salary