During my eventful career as a business consultant and a career consultant, I have lived through a few more recessions and global economic shakedowns than I would care for. The one fact that was reinforced with unfailing regularity during these tough times was that – the ones who survived – and in fact sometimes flourished – were those who took a real passion in their professions, in other words, loved what they did – and was not just in it for the money. Though this might sound something out of a corporate motivational lecture, it is a fundamental truth of life that generates excellent practical real-world monetary dividends.
To elaborate on the above – when money is the sole motivator for choosing a career the end result is usually mediocrity, the mass of “casualties” that are the inevitable fallout of any major global shake-downs or economic meltdown are these “professionals “ in the wrong field, i.e. who jumped in on the bandwagon in search of a quick buck, basing their choice of careers solely on market trends.
Such a class of professionals usually provides grist to the mill of mediocrity, they have their uses when the economy – or any specific industry – is on the upswing, this is when organizations tend to be flexible with KPIs like productivity and profitability because the top-line looks so good and the future looks rosy. However they are the first casualties when things take turn for the worse. They were the casualties of the “dot com bust”, “the economic meltdowns” or other gazillion other debacles that the world of business and commerce has seen. In other words they stop being RELEVANT.
Any career or education consultant will vouch for the fact that two questions they are asked most often are – “what is the job opportunity in this field” or worse “which field has better job opportunities”. These are possibly the single biggest career-destroying questions one can ask. To start with, one needs understand the clear distinction between the concepts of a job vs. that of a career, to put it succinctly a job is a temporary state of affairs – you may be in a job for 3 months or 30 years, but a career is something that defines your overall personal brand as a professional. To illustrate the point better consider the two following statements as the opening phrase of your CV and choose which you would like to be the statement that defines you.
“An electronics engineer with 5+ years of experience……”
“An assistant manager with ‘xyz’ organization since 2002…..”
If you chose the second option, we wish you all the best and you can stop reading here.
If you chose the first option congratulations! You are already on the path of a successful career and your “relevance quotient” just went up a notch.
Now that we have established what you want your “brand identity” to be, the subsequent steps obviously are planning towards the goal and execution.
Planning: Ideally this stage should start from high school however, it is never too late. One of the most effective methods for narrowing down ones areas of interest, is to run, what I call the “boredom” test, i.e. if you did not feel like –or were bored of – studying during a particular study session; which is the subject or the book you would reach for to make the best of a bad situation? Look back and you will have your answer about your ideal choice of career.
Continued in Part 3….