Learn, perform & excel
Prof R S S Mani says there are no shortcuts to success, especially when you are stepping into the career world. ‘Work comes first’ everything else later should be your mantra
The current newer trend is that many students pursuing higher education enter the corporate word after completion of their graduation in engineering, pharmacy, law or management. The others seek careers after completion of their MBA or masters in computers or even commerce or engineering. We often realise that these professionals are in a tearing hurry with their careers and are seen as fast track professionals. While it is good to have a desire to excel in ones careers, they must exercise caution to ensure that they do not burn out.
Here are some nuggets of advice to chart out your success:
Stay grounded: Remember to bide your time and learn as much as you can on the first job. The sooner one settles down the impact of the ‘Reality Shock’ is reduced. Reality shock is that phenomena many a new employee suffers from because of deviations about what he expected the company to be and what it actually is. Learn to respect seniors and indulge in active listening and not show off the power of theories and concepts. Let us appreciate and accept that indifference, resistance and resentment would get you nowhere; in fact some humility would help you cross several hurdles.
Patience and persistence pays: Patience is one virtue that can help professionals do a lot better in their organisations. Very often they complain that the training appears to be an extension of their education. This may be true to some extent but organisations have their own complexities and specific characteristics and a sound awareness of these would help a great deal. Let us also remember that for most professionals, this is their entry point into the organisation. Hence they have to develop virtues of patience and persistence. This would also send positive signals to various seniors about their sincerity and dedication.
Focus on performance not preaching: For the initial few months, the best strategy to be followed is to learn as much as you can, complete all allocated tasks on time and display a high level of enthusiasm. No task should be perceived as mundane or routine and must be completed meticulously. As is often said ‘Be seen not heard’. Further criticism, judgement passing and bragging should be completely avoided. Also, the ‘I know more’ arrogance should be judiciously avoided. Do not try to prove yourself right by proving others wrong. This very often leads to situations where you end up digging your own grave. Remember that seniors /colleagues too have their competencies and are capable of doing things as well as you or even better.
Prove your mettle: If you think you are great; then prove it. This should be the sole objective of the new incumbent into the organisation. Do take up projects and assignments and complete them successfully. Ensure that the deadlines are met and quality is of the highest standards. Prepare for every meeting you attend and this can increase your own confidence and also impress your superiors. Let us realise that the blue chip company you have joined has been running successfully without you and concentrate on how to add value and not fault finding. Conciseness, brevity and enthusiasm can go a long way in fuelling a positive impression about you in the minds of seniors. Yet another important aspect to be remembered is that ‘work comes first’. Picnics, fun, dates, films and surfing the net should take a backseat.
Solicit feedback for continous improvement: One of the most critical approaches to excellence is to ensure a continuous communication channel with your immediate superior. You shall continuously solicit feedback from your boss about your performance and develop on your strengths and eliminate the weaknesses. The normal tendency of many superiors is giving negative feedback when things go wrong; else keep quiet. Talk to your boss about your performance and develop on your strengths and eliminate the weaknesses. Take your boss into confidence and never bluff. It is this continuous interaction which would often fetch you objective appraisals at the end of your probation than a subjective one. It is also important to realise that in life you could even choose your spouse but not your boss. Hence, the best strategy is to maintain the best of relations with him/her. Draw inspiration from his/her strengths and ignore the weaknesses. Make him/her aware of your competencies and see how the synergy between you both could help improve your performance and that of the department and the company.
SURVIVE, STAY ON & SUCCEED
If you are high profile performer, then have the guts to stay on and contribute to the organisation. It is very easy to show off your mettle by boasting that you have another job offer within three months but the real challenge lies in your ability to combat the odds. Stay on and contribute. You must prove your loyalty and commitment to your current organisation first; lest you are accused of being a job hopper. Loyalty here doesn’t mean the number of years you have spent in an organisation, but to the contribution you have made to that organisation. Job hoppers grow faster in the short run but disappear in the long run. A period of about 1.5 to 2 years is optimum time to prove oneself and contribute back to the organisation that hired you. Do not be carried away by the hype or glamour or salary or perks. It is best advisable to choose a job where you have a fair degree of independence and responsibility and in a professionally managed organisation. Once you settle in and start contributing, you will enjoy your job and succeed too. The real acid test would be when years down the line, your resignation is accepted with a heavy heart and not gladly (as good riddance to bad rubbish).
The writer is Vice President, Institutional Development ITM Group of Institutions.
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