Time to invest in your Career - Part 2

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We have this programme on Intrapreneurship - wherein we impart the professionals with management skills so that, they can always have a holistic view of business. I happen to share this with some of friends who are IT Professionals. Though, most of them were able to sense the importance of the programme, many of them said, “Sid, great job! This is need of the hour but, I doubt if I can invest enough time. We will catch up on this later.”
 
Professionals by nature have a skewed way of looking at things. If he is a Marketing professional then, he will see things more in the marketing perspective. If he is a Finance Professional then, he will look at finance every time. But, when one starts taking up leadership positions in the organization, they have to see business as a whole. And if you are aiming for growth then, at some point of your career, you need to take up some management positions even if it means leading a technical team!

It becomes very critical to invest in your career right from the
beginning. Just like financial investments- the earlier you start, the better. Following are the facts which can probably influence your career.

1. Change of Priorities: As a young professional, one has the
flexibility to invest more time in the career. The initial years should be used to position oneself in the industry by learning the necessary skills- technical, domain and even management! One can be more proactive during this period by seeking more opportunities to learn and build the career!

Once you have a family, the priorities definitely change! At this time, professionals look for stability! This phase will reap you rewards with lesser efforts if you have invested enough time in the initial phase of your career!

Also, if you have not picked up the right skills at the right time then, there is always a possibility of you being obsolete in the market. One can see many people around who still keep saying the organization has been unfair or the market has been unfair!

2. Change in industry dynamics: In the 80's, typewriting and shorthand were must have skills to work in the service sector especially. In the post-liberalization era, computers came and those who could not catch the dot com bus were left behind!

This is a time where the competition is fiercer! Only the competent will
get a chance. This is a time where just knowing one technical or
functional skill may not give you a job! Companies world over are
looking at professionals as an investment and they want to make sure
that, they have picked the high return one's! Communication skills,
leadership skills, team skills etc, are some of the must have skills of this decade across every industry.

3. Wrong Patterns: Everyone has a pattern in the thinking process.
Some are good and some are not so good. Good patterns are those
patterns wherein your thought, word and action are aligned thereby, helping one to evolve personally and professionally. Good patterns help you grow. Good patterns are constructive. Good patterns keep you afloat in the midst of difficulties and challenges.

Wrong patterns pull you down. Being a team lead if you still think like a fresher then, it is a wrong pattern. You can never lead a team. You will have to be a team lead first and then start acting like a team lead.

Can patterns be corrected? Yes and No. Yes, if you can identify it
sooner. No, if it is too late like, already spend decades working as an employee and if you own a business at this point of time, there are chances that you will still work like an employee.

To identify the patterns sooner, one needs to be exposed. One needs to move out of the comfort zone and start venturing in new avenues.

Any company has a five-year plan wherein it is decided where the
company should be in the next five years - and what, when and how to do tasks for the company to reach. On similar lines, a professional must be having a three-year, five-year career plan which will help in giving a path to growth! If one wants to be a manger in the next two years, then one must be a manager now so that, he will act well when he is given that designation.

So, it is high time to look at career as a long-term investment and start investing more time to impart necessary skills which will ensure that you can grow faster and reap higher returns.

Siddharth,
IIEMT.

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