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Starting Out In Your First Job? Make Sense of Work and Life

Dinesh joins his first job and is eagerly looking forward to make an impact. He is a go-getter with lots of enthusiasm and energy. His idea of success is to grow rapidly through the ranks and become the CEO. He feels that he needs to compete with his colleagues for work and takes on more and more while alienating his team. However, he discovers that at the workplace he is finding it tough to move initiatives forward and his team mates aren’t cooperative. Over time Dinesh receives feedback that he is overstepping on other peoples’ work and needs to revisit his attitude and approach. Dinesh is confused since he thought he was progressing well and success meant doing and achieving a lot.

Fiona is learning the ropes in design and often finds that her ideas are ignored by other senior members of the team. The team is quite diverse with people from different countries and ethnicities contributing to a global design project.  While ideas are exchanged very little is done with the suggestions that Fiona puts forward even though in private many team members admit they are excellent and worth driving the company forward. Fiona talks to her manager but she asks her to sort it out directly.

 Most organizations continue to hire for skill and countries such as India boast of the world’s largest bank of employable graduates. There is good news for management graduates as hiring for MBAs is rising although the number of ‘employable’ graduates is as low as 10% in countries like India further fueling the need to address issues facing the industry. While interviewing for candidates the critical factors for selection include proven abilities to lead, writing skills, academic success and oral communication. Among the concerns that the industry has are the lack of ‘team player’ attributes, leadership qualities and empathetic attitude from those expected from new hires. Often the education system in some countries teaches students to be competitive while in the corporate world expects them to collaborate and partner for success. Switching mindsets isn’t easy.


Moreover, there is a misconception about success and what it means for new comers or for that matter, anyone. Most equate it to better salaries and positions and growth is often linked to vertical ascent in an organization.  According to Peter Drucker, a leading management thinker there is no such thing as success. It was merely an absence of failure and those who didn’t think deeply about their own life’s purpose and manage themselves effectively were going to feel inadequate in the long term.

Conflicts at the workplace can be debilitating. Most conflicts take place between line managers and teams, at different levels of management and at the entry level often due to personality clashes, stress, workload, poor leadership and insufficient resources. New hires aren’t aware or ready to navigate these challenges and work through such issues resulting in mismatched expectations and uncertain futures. Career spans are reducing rapidly with the millennials expected to change jobs every year or two. While this new generation is adept with using newer forms of technology and social media they still need guidance in navigating the workplace and making sense of the organization’s goals. Just like how the millennials expect opportunities to grow and learn the organization also expects them to stay connected and give back in more ways than one. 

How can Dinesh and Fiona think about their work and purpose?

What must new hires know and do to be relevant? Do share your views.

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