This topic has been on my mind for quite sometime and I wanted to pen it down today. I do know it is not a conventional easy topic too. With the March/April fever of performance reviews there is sense of accomplishment fore few and for some a sense of disappointment. This blog is not to outline how to outperform your reviews but it is to seed a thought to your short term excitements with the long term visions. I am a strong believer that everyone needs to have an answer to – “Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?”.
Often when I meet the new generation of kids with 2-4 years experience they come and tell me – “I am not going anywhere in my career”. Kids, don’t get me wrong here – “You are yet to have a career”.
It’s not what you achieve, it’s what you overcome. That’s what defines your career.
There are some things that will ensure you go no where in your career, and this is not possible without your consent. Let me call out some of the traits that will need to be changed if you want your career to go somewhere:
- Passing the buck: Please don’t stuck to this thought and don’t get rigid in your communication. I understand it is not your job, but are your trying to be helpful and making an attempt? It is this positive attitude in life that will help. Don’t avoid work (any work) and your chances to take responsibilities.
- We are not genius: I understand we don’t know everything that is put in front of us. It is fine to say – “I don’t know”. But that is not what you should be doing. If you make genuine efforts and add saying “yet let me find out for you”. Same as point 1, be helpful and get / give / find answers – not blank faces.
- Blame game: Stop doing a blame game. You need to stand up and stand tall if you want to in front of your colleagues. You don’t impress anyone by putting down someone else in front of all. If you are a manager, well accept in public but blame in private 1:1 – be a leader not a mere manager.
- Make time: If someone has come for help to you, acknowledge their existence and lend an helping hand. Don’t try to focus on the gossips but move on to help with the burning fire in front of someone. In a team everyone wins – not just the individual. Learning and sharing is a journey and make it memorable with people around you.
- Come in early, don’t call in sick: Exceptions are there to this rule. But if you made a commitment – make it happen no matter what. I am off the school of thought that if committed it is done with no compromises. If you constantly try to evade off then don’t think no one is noticing. In an organization you don’t (mostly) get a choice to pick the tasks which you like to do, if you don’t do it – someone will step up or will eventually do it.
- Improvise and innovate: I cant iterate on this very point. You don’t want to get step by step instruction on how to get things done. Innovate and don’t get stuck to the process boundaries that exist. It is always easier to think and do it our way rather than getting bogged down by our micro-manager to how it has to be done.
Communicate clearly: Clarity of thoughts and clarity in communication will lead you a long way and I love to iterate it here.
If you know where you are going, then you don’t need a GPS or compass. You will make your own new way.
If you want to make merry of where you will be in your career, well know where you want to go. Make positive strides and keep working on the learning hunger of your’s. I have advised many with a simple question – “Where do you want to go?”. So this blog is to again make that statement even more bold :). Do pass me your comments and what you think about it.