By Rakesh Seth
Director ICPI, and
Chief HR Mentor, Reeocsyys
A large number of college graduates are pursuing higher education to enter the corporate world. They are all positive that they will get a job of their choice and retire after a successful and smooth career without any bumpy roads ahead. But business career graphs seldom follow straight upwards trends – they will have their own ups and downs.
How many of you really question the direction in which you are going every day, and wonder how the work you are doing adds value to you?
Knowing yourself, and therefore arming yourself with the equipment to make correct choices concerning your life and job, is not something easily learned.
Questioning yourself about your needs, personality type, strengths and weaknesses, and your values are just a start. You should try to develop a day to day awareness of your behaviour and attitude towards the various aspects of your life and work. Ultimately, it is perception and sensitivity that determines whether you, as a leader and a manager, will be able to motivate, delegate, reprimand, negotiate, communicate and perform all the other managerial tasks.
It is not simply a matter of answering questionnaires, adding up your scores and drawing glib conclusions. Self- knowledge is a process that continues as long as you are alive. There is no beginning or end.
Flow of Life
Since life is dynamic, continuously flowing and not static, you should be aware that you are changing – your body, your thoughts, your attitudes – every moment. It is important, therefore, to keep up to date with yourself; to keep breaking the habit of thinking that you fit a particular mould.
Balance Sheet of SWs
You should keep a personal balance sheet, listing your strengths and weaknesses, values and desires and then review it at a set date every year or two years, to see how you have progressed.
Be prepared to change. After gaining a better awareness of your strong and weak points, concentrate on your strengths: winning is about giving your strengths full rein. That is not to say that you should ignore an obvious weakness. It will have to be dealt with through effort, training, and experience; most managers can become competent at all the managerial skills.
Acceptance of Social Change
Be aware that the rate of social change is increasing and that in the future, more people may be working at or from home, and there will be more leisure time and job sharing. Change and impermanence are part of tomorrow’s world. Be ready to accept the challenge.
Confronting The Future and Reality
You should be aware of the fundamental changes in life that will affect you and your work and be prepared to adapt accordingly.
Entering The World of Work
After leaving school or college, you face the challenge of trying to establish yourself in the outside world. It is likely that you will be relatively fit and eager to get on with making money to pay for your rent and leisure activities. You will probably have lots of confidence and energy born from a lack of experience of failure and these provide the necessary impetus to get you into your working life.
Make A Mark
Later on, perhaps from the age of 25 to the early 30s, you will start focusing outside work on your personal and emotional life. Your job may not be as exciting as it first was but you have begun to establish a financial base and are now looking for a partner to share your life with, and a house to buy. Now is also the time when you may start looking for an alternative job.
From the late 20s to late 30s, you will probably be fairly set in your job, even if you have changed careers, and may be living with your partner in purchased accommodation. Security will be high on your list of needs and you will still be ambitious, having been promoted but with more rungs to climb. You might find that your job, at least temporarily, becomes of secondary importance.
Managing Family Life
You might also find that babies mean sleepless nights and coupled with a tailing off of your leisure activities. It is harder to cope with and more stressful at work. If this happens to you, check to see whether your workload can be lightened by, say, delegating more. Also, make sure that you are using your talents and have not strayed away from using your natural strengths.
In their early 40s, men and women experience a phase of shifting and transition. The infamous midlife crisis may result in turbulent change for you and your partner. You may have anxious feelings about fulfillment, linked to concern about your career planning.
Managing your 40s is a challenging task. Your desire to grow faster than others, handle your child’s education, workplace pressure, technology obsolescence, job cuts, self-perception creating doubts, etc., are all part of your 40s. One should know how to stay calm and focus to steer this phase with confidence.
Effectively manage demands created from various quarters of your life like domestic and social.
Reinventing The Second Innings
If you have weathered the storm that follows the midlife crisis, you should be able to cope with the next phase of readjustment. Now you should have settled into your position in the company and be making the best of it. Retirement will be increasingly on your mind: “How will I cope? Should I be saving more? Shall I try to carry on working or negotiate a consulting position? Will I have the leisure interests to fill my day or will I be at a loss?” You will begin to take stock of your career and what you have and have not achieved.
More or less everyone goes through the same journey; there could be minor changes and adjustments depending upon the nature of work, culture, and country.