ARE you MANAGING your CAREER or IS your CAREER MANAGING you?


Most of us need to work for a living. That’s a given! What kind of a living and doing what is totally upto you. You acquire skills and knowledge and get into a job with an organization or perhaps, strike out on your own, early in your career or at some point after you have acquired a few years of work experience working for someone else . Hopefully, in a job that you like and a company that you adore.

As you evolve in your role and understand your realm of influence better, you take on further responsibilities and start climbing up the ladder or perhaps, find a better role at a different organization. It’s important that you identify your skillset, domain and organization you work with, in order not just to enjoy what you do but to make your biggest impact with your work. For someone in control of their knowledge, skills and work, the holistic management of their career comes easy. 

Most of us embark on a career that spans between 30-40 years of our productive life. Its ideal to have a plan, keep revisiting it from time to time to make adjustments and changes and execute on your life plan. As you grow and change, so do your surroundings, work culture, work needs and your own interests and needs. Its important to revisit your career path, skill needs and interests from time to time to ensure you make adjustments. You may need to learn new things with the changes in play, environmentally, technically or otherwise. You may no longer be interested in skills that got you excited about, at the beginning of your career. You would have gathered expertise and experience over time which helped evolve you as a person and a professional and now, you may want to discover your new potential by chasing after what inspires you now, at this point in time.And that is how it should be when it comes to managing and realizing your potential.

On the other hand, if you are not in control of your skills, likes and dislikes or hold on to a job, not to give it your best, but for security or a paycheck, then you are not just doing a disservice to the organization you work for, but to your self and your potential. You are barely living and scraping through without testing your own mettle and making, even an attempt at realizing your potential. By this, I do not mean that you need to stop one day and jump ship to pursue what you believe you want to do. What I mean is start with introspection, understanding yourself and your creative, personal and professional needs. Now, take stock of your family’s and living needs. Create a plan for transitioning yourself to what you really want to do. Ensure you build in time and energy to acquire new skills, plan and execute on that plan in a step by step manner while you review its results. Make adjustments to your plan based on results. From time to time, ask yourself, if you are enjoying this process and if this is the right direction you want to go in. Course correct, if needed.

I have friends who went through a 15 year career as an Engineer and realized that what they wanted to do was be a doctor, went back to school for several years before they became a practicing doctor in their mid 40’s. I know of people who embarked on a second career after retirement, this time pursuing their passion.At any point in life, you can take control of your life. Its never too late. First, quell the doubts and fears and affirm in yourself what you plan and hope to do. Then, just do it! Irrespective of the size of your material success, you will be glad you did it for this will be the best time of your life and those around you, for they will see a different you and will have a new found respect for you. Your inspiration for others will be immense! And you will leave the world a better place, with no regrets! Just these aspects of it are worth it!

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Rules of Engagement and Realm of Influence


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It’s the people, human resources that are the most important asset of any organization. It is these associates, employees, contractors and those engaged in various capacities that turn the wheels of the organization every single day in the direction of its aspirational mission. These associates come together in various roles, manning several myriad functions that together create the structure of the organization.

The roles and responsibilities of such associates, often times are overlapping and most definitely closely inter-twined to form the fabric of the organization. That is where rules of engagement and the sphere of influence come into play. Rules of engagement vary for every role within an organization and are based on their core responsibilities toward the organization. The job description lays a framework of expectations from a role & its associated responsibilities as well as expectations from the incumbent. However, rules of engagement are unique and evolve based on several factors. The role and its connectivity to other roles as well as the overarching organization are crucial. But what makes it unique, is the personalities occupying those roles. Every person is unique and is a sum total of their experiences at a given point in time. Their understanding of the role, responsibilities and inter-personal dynamics are unique as well. Their interpretation of this has an impact on their framework of rules of engagement. They engage and act based on all that they are influenced by.

In order to succeed at a role, it’s a given that one has to have clarity of vision of their role’s expectations and responsibilities, but more importantly, they need to develop a keen insight into the unique organizational dynamics at play and learn to shape their transactions accordingly, to the benefit of what they are set out to achieve as a part of their role with an eye on the big picture mission of the organization. This helps them maneuver well in reaching their professional as well as personal goals. Rules of engagement and the realm of a role’s influence, although have a rough framework; they are extended, expanded and emphatically executed by the unique personalities occupying these roles. The incumbent’s unique understanding and engagement with these rules, which, predominantly is influenced by their personalities, shape the fluidity and flexibility of a role’s influence. It is for this reason that several factors are looked at when recruiting people to occupy roles. It’s never just about the role that is vacant. It’s also about organizational fit. Beyond that, it’s the organic evolution of Darwinism within the organization, evolution by natural selection.

Image Courtesy: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Build your brand or risk getting branded!


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Millions of us that work, very closely adhere our self-image to our work. It’s debatable whether that’s fortunate or not. We tend to closely associate our recognition by the position and company we keep. You are either a Software Developer or a Sales guy at Google, Apple or Yahoo or somewhere else.

Hence, when someone leaves a job, they are kind of lost until they find their image back at a new role. However, it doesn’t have to be that way.

I believe, everyone should craft their unique identity and brand based on who they really are, what they like and are passionate about, and how their uniqueness comes across as an advantage to a position or an organization they associate themselves with.

Let me enlighten you with an example that many will understand. There are several skilled and stellar actors in our movie world. Some are known for a single role or certain kind of roles they play. They are branded for that role and/or movie or for that stream of roles they play. Their work in specific movies and roles tends to brand them. While, there are others who have crafted their own unique image and play multiple roles in a variety of movies, yet hold their own. You watch a certain movie because that particular actor starred in it. Some movies, you go to watch for the movie and others, you watch because of the actor. That’s the difference.

Not everyone is fortunate to have that range of visibility for their work, yet with a bit of smarts, you can differentiate yourself from the multitude that work in a similar line as you, and put your own stamp on the work you perform. Not only does it distinguish you but also attracts better and unique opportunities your way that can propel you way beyond your wildest imagination.

Take on the challenges you are faced with by the horns and put your best foot forward, and always give that little bit extra of yourself to make your mark!

What does success mean to you?


Yesterday, I called an old friend in India. His 6 year old son picked up the phone and we chatted for a few minutes. The kid was animated about an event at home from a few days ago and started relating it to me. His grandpa was felicitated by a group of people who came from different places. I asked him who they were and what did they felicitate him for. He replied that they were a group of 60, some seemed young and some older and they had come from different places in India. Some were from abroad too. They came together to honor his grandpa, their teacher from years ago. The little one was thrilled to see the happy crowd and a happier grandpa. My friend took the phone next, had an equally excited tone and talked about how thrilled everyone was to come together and honor his father! Sept. 5th was teacher’s day in India and these students of his dad from over the years, took the time to come over and meet his father and the family; reminisce about times they had spent together and thank him for shaping their lives. By the time, I let go of the line, I was excited too!

Isn’t it amazing? These erstwhile students made an effort to get together, meet and greet their teacher and show their gratitude. He must have been a wonderful teacher to have left such an indelible mark on these students that they came looking for him. I consider him a very successful teacher.

Success means many things to many people. What does it mean to you? Revenue, profits, bank balance, power, position, a luxurious lifestyle, large cars, bigger homes, etc.

When you really look at the core of any job done; there are two things that matter. At the point in time, do you enjoy what you do and are you giving it your best? Your ultimate goal might be to become a CEO and run your own company or more generically, is at the pinnacle of your career, but you may not be there yet. Right now, this moment, there is a job you do and you are responsible and accountable for it. Do you take that seriously? If you do, you ought to give it your best. Your best will translate into the best possible results on the job no matter how they are measured. With this affable demeanor, you will make associations that take note and these combined with the results you show pave the path to your dreams. Going back to the two things I mentioned, they are enjoying what you do so you can give it your best. That itself is true success! Everything else is an outcome.

The emoluments of a job and the perks that come along with it are outcomes, not success. Success lies in the relationships you make along the way, the lives that you impact and improve, the lessons you learn and impart, inspiration you provide and the respect you command. What one would consider as success in terms of material wealth or better lifestyle are all outcomes of the success you cherish.

Outcomes, as we discussed are natural results of a job well done. Is it a crime to aspire for outcomes? Not at all, but when you focus only on outcomes instead of enjoying what you do and giving it your best, the success measures get compromised and it all remains just that, aspiration and never a reality.

True success is in the relationships you build and maintain over time. There is an old saying that inspires us to count our blessings in the friends and supporters we have. Look for success in your friendships, camaraderie and in a job well done. Trust me, all else that shapes a happy and fulfilled life must and will follow through.