Job Search – Strategies that work better

How do you change a job? Here is the case in front of me (and this is typical of so many examples I have seen):

  1. He wants to get into a new job that gives good role, company has good culture, it leverages all the strengths the person has.
  2. His modus operandi is something like this:
    1. Update the resume
    2. Post in couple of job portals
    3. Get in touch with some of the past contacts (previous bosses and peers primarily), and solicit their help in changing the job
    4. Wait for interview calls and attend them as they come
  3. When you ask ‘why you want to change the job’, there are no clear answers and he doesn’t display any sense of urgency.

I have now seen enough job hunters who engage in such an important career-impacting activity with such a passivity and unclear reasons. Most of the times, their only strategy to job search is ‘hope’. This bothers me a lot because careers take extremely important detours when jobs are changed. The person must be very clear about the objectives of the change, as well as stay active and engaged in the process to ensure that they stay in the driver’s seat and make it a career-enhancing move. Being successful in a new company is hard and takes time, so one should try to achieve career growth while being in the company (having done multiple role and geographical moves in both big and small companies in my career, I can assure you that this is one of the best ways of growing career). If job change does seem warranted, Continue reading

Managing conflict at workplace – I

I would like to talk about one of the topics about work relationships that come up very often (and came up again very recently).

Scenario

A is a smart guy, well-established and on track to be promoted to next level. He is admired by others in his group and he is proud of himself.

B is a new hire in the team, equally smart (maybe more), who is trying to establish himself in this team. He has better skills than A in some areas and his hiring manager had mentioned he could be the next lead of this team.

Expected result

A and B work together to improve the performance of the team manifold because now the team has two smart guys to leverage.

Actual

A and B get into conflicts way too often and these conflicts drag down their performance as well as performance of the team. Net result is that team is less productive than when only A was around.

Sounds familiar? This is a very frequent occurrence in growing organizations where smart existing people have to work with smart new people and the result is not always on the expected lines. Continue reading

Personality Style or Weakness – you are the judge

One of the persons reporting to me mentioned he has bad memory and so he cannot quickly respond to out-of-context questions. He further inferred from this that this weakness will stop him from doing his job effectively.

After more discussion, it was clear to me (though I leave this decision to the person himself) that it is not so much a memory problem but instead a manifestation of his personal style where he is not very good at quick response when put in a spot. So my advice to him was to understand this aspect of himself more deeply and see how he can avoid being put into such situation (or use his other strengths to get out of it!), rather than treating this as a weakness and trying to acquire skills (memory enhancement, public speaking courses?) to mitigate this. 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

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

Mapping your career path

In my previous posts on managing one’s own career, I mentioned that a great way to measure your progress in career is tracking it against your desired career growth path. This is a great way because it provides us with the most direct way of mesuring the return on the time and talent investment we are doing in current job. However, this raises the question: how do I create the map of my career path so that I can track my progress against it. Easier said than done, right?

Here are the ingredients I have used to map my own career and of people who have asked me for career advice:

Continue reading

Manage your career, please!

This thought again came to my mind yesterday while talking to a relative of mine. She has great potential, good educational background, but she seems to be stuck in a company and gotten into a comfort zone she doesn’t want to come out of. I tried very hard to make a case for doing something different for her career, but I am sure she didn’t get convinced about it.

Here is the point I was trying to make: at least in the initial phases of one’s career, it is important to be very cognizant of the return one is getting from the time (and career investment) being made, and as soon as one feels that return is not good, some changes should be made in the career (changing manager, project, team, or company).

This raises the obvious question: how do you measure return on investment (ROI)?

In one of my previous posts on talent investment, I gave one way of measuring this return (salary) and made the point that it is a bad measure in initial years. So what is a good measure?

Continue reading

Family and Friends as career counselors – Revisited

Couple years back, a cousin of my wife, a student of class XII then, was torn between her interest and  her college choice: she had been a gifted artist and painter as a child and in school and she wanted to pursue that as her career too, while her father wanted her to join some reputed  law college (because “everyone good in our family is in legal profession”). It was tough for her to argue with her parents, but finally she prevailed (I like to think I helped her in pushing this through by explicitly siding with her in animated conversations with her father, of course it was helped by the fact that this was my ‘in-law’s place’, and IIT background may have helped my case too since “IITians are supposed to be smart!”). Right now, she is in second year of a reputed fine arts college in Mumbai, and extremely happy. Of course, parents are happy too since while doing the research for this college, they found more details about how these careers (multimedia, animation..) actually make more  money now a days than regular engineering or medical professions.

Continue reading