B.Tech Degree Shops (aka engineering colleges) – Who will clean the mess?

Recently I met a 3rd year student of a private engineering college in Greater Noida. To avoid problems for me and the college, let’s call the College Best Standard Institute of Technology (BS-IT). Here is the profile of the student I met (let’s call him Sam), so that you can decide for yourself if this is a representative sample of students going to normal private engineering colleges in the hope of good education and degree:

Class XII – No name school in a no name place with average marks because he was preparing for IIT-JEE in Kota for 2 years

Class X – Top notch school in an industrial township, average marks

Decent performance in school level Maths and Science Olympiads (the ones that start from Grade 2-3), very good at logical and memory-related skills

Middle-class family, father a PSU employee Continue reading

Managing conflict at workplace – II

In the previous post, I described the scenario of two smart people in conflict in an organization and why they need to engage in a deep conversation.

Here are some of the aspects of such a conversation that A and B need to keep in mind:

  1. Create shared goals: Without such a goal, no conversation or work relationship can happen. Assuming A and B feel they want to belong to this organization; they have a good place to start creating a shared goal. If they want to contribute significantly to the organization, this is another shared goal to use. A and B need to have at least this conversation before other kinds of conversation can take place.
  2. Empathize: Putting yourself in other person’s shoes is critical to understand why the other person is behaving the way he is. If you can truly see things from other’s perspective (and hold off your own biases), results are sometimes very surprising and insightful. Both A and B need to try it.
  3. Be charitable: Both A and B need to be willing to give the benefit of doubt to the other, and assume they have good reasons to behave the way they are behaving. Just changing to this perspective can make each of them understand the other better. Ask the question “Why would a rational and smart person behave/say the way they did in all these examples?”. Continue reading

Review of career sites – Mission impossible?

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have been reviewing some of the career sites that seem to be popular in India. The goal was to understand how good (or bad) these sites are and then hopefully recommend some sites that are useful. However, while going through these sites, I realized that I promised to deliver something which is very hard to achieve. This post discusses my insights from this exercise in a broad sense.

Here is what I tried: I looked up popular sites (based on search results and my review of local ads of these services in India), and proceeded to review their content, presentation and layout, and overall value they offer. In most cases, I had to register for the site, which I did rightfully. Based on what I saw on these sites and what I claim to know of career management, I started to capture comparison parameters to be used across sites. However, most sites fell woefully short of any reasonable utility value to their target audience.

Here are some of the observations I have, based on this exercise: Continue reading

Measuring Career Growth – Final (career phases framework)

This is the last article in the series on Measuring Career Growth, which started off by talking about measures of success and implication of having multiple measures vis-à-vis time, and was followed by posts on financial and learning goals, followed by a post on job complexity and satisfaction. As I promised in the last post, I will try to provide some framework to handle these measures in some useful way when we engage in our career planning and review.

As I mentioned before, job complexity and job satisfaction are important measures, but difficult to quantify in any meaningful way; I have found them more useful in subjective reviews of the career plan. In this post, I have focused on Financial and learning measures and their interplays with time elapsed.

Assuming that you have defined your financial and learning measures that you want to achieve over a defined time period, following table describes various scenarios that may happen. I use a positive and negative signs to denote that actual value is more or less than planned value. This means that + is good in financial and learning column (achieved more than planned) but bad in time column (using more time than planned).

  Continue reading

Measuring Career Growth – Part III (Job Complexity and Satisfaction)

This is the 3rd post in the series on measuring career growth, and a follow-up to the post on financial and learning goals. In this post, I will talk about 3rd goal (job complexity) and also touch upon the job satisfaction aspect of all these goals, which came up in one of the comments.

Job Complexity goals: As I mentioned before, this is a hard one to measure since it changes infrequently and there are too many parameters that influence this. Job complexity come from how many of the following dimensions are involved in your regular actions and decisions: Continue reading

Measuring Career Growth (Financial and Learning goals) – Part II

This is the follow-up to my last post in which I talked about various measures of career success and the need to prioritize various goals so that trade-offs can be made when time is factored in. In this post, I will focus on two goals and their measures: financial and learning.

Financial Goals: Even though it may sound trivial or easy, financial goals should still be framed and kept around to make sure you are meeting them. Other than the obvious way of framing the goal (“X % raise over Y years”), you can also frame them in terms of utility of money. Continue reading

Measuring Career Growth – Part I

In one of my previous articles, I talked about various measures of success that one can use for their career planning and management. Specifically, I talked about 4 ways:

  1. Financial goals
  2. Learning/competencies goals
  3. Job complexity goals
  4. Career Plan goals

Note that setting any kind of measurable goal is an exercise in itself (see a series of great posts on Cube Rules about setting SMART goals)

In this post, I want to talk about time factor which plays an important role in any career plan and measure: Continue reading

Discovering your life goal

This is a follow-up post to my previous post on mapping career path where I mentioned a way to map out your career growth path if you know your life goal, your value system, your strengths/weaknesses, your likes/dislikes, and your skills/competencies.

How does one discover/find/define the life goal?

This is an important question, because this determines the paths you take and choices you make in your life. There is a spiritual aspect to this question, which deals with your inner peace and bliss, and I don’t wish to go into that direction. I want to attempt and answer the question in the context of career choices.

Most of the time I have found that asking “Why” to your first thought about life goal helps getting to a better answer. Here is what such a dialog with yourself (or with your mentor/counselor) may look like (some of my interviews have gone like this too):

Continue reading