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In a recent conversation I heard a friend lament that very often we hear of what we must do to succeed in our career and not much is shared about what people must avoid to get better or stay on course. That got me intrigued and based on what I have learnt along the way here are career tips and perspectives.
This blog post is in two parts – in this one I will share 5 tips and follow it up with more later.
Tip 1: Compete with yourself: Blame the education system (in some parts of the world) or how organizations (some of them) groom employees – the workplace is where one can see competition for unrealistic reasons. Most organizations try to influence employees to think that they compete with each other – for position, power, resources and what have you. That is what, organizations feel motivates and drives performance. The truth is the opposite. While the infamous bell curve make employees to think that everyone is compared, it can get difficult to avoid comparing yourself with others. Remember, that everybody’s life goals are different. Compete with yourself only. There isn’t another you and only you know if you are getting better or not.
Tip 2: Gain deep expertise in at least one skill: Very often, we try to be an ‘expert’ at everything. This is counter-productive. There is always a debate of being a generalist or a specialist early in your career. Yes, you need to have a fair understanding of all aspects of the area or sector you are in – however, gaining deep understanding of one area is crucial to your future success. Some organizations talk of the T-shaped professional where you become strong in one pillar and then ‘branch’ other in other streams as you add more skills, while retaining the core strength.
Tip 3: Make learning your goal: Anonymous review sites have made it easy for people to compare salaries within the organization and outside. People focus more on amassing money and hope that it helps them secure a future in the end. This approach is short-sighted. When you make learning your goal, your attitude to life changes. Wealth follows you naturally since organizations pay those who are great learners and contributors.
Tip 4: Reinvent your position: Every position and role will have its limitations. However, nothing stops you from revisiting your scope vis-à-vis the business environment. Re-establish the goals and make a new start. Get stakeholders to reflect on the approach and potential gaps. Include feedback and improve your plan. If the role was transactional in nature think of ways to get to the next level by automating processes and adding value in other places. If one set of stakeholders aren’t supportive, grow your credibility with another. If you find one channel not working out, check if there are newer platforms that work.
Tip 5: Think two steps ahead: If not – three! The world moves at a fast pace. You may not notice all that happens. Think of your next moves now so that you can work towards them. Don’t wait for things to change and catch you off-guard. Plan your career based on your goals and interests. Or else you will become a pawn in someone else’s game.
Those are the 5 tips for this segment. I am interested to know what you think.
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