Monday, September 10, 2012

Where do you want to be?

Last week, I discussing with a friend on career moves. 

And my career has been anything but linear. And when I say that I don’t mean stratospheric growth, it means that over time I have moved my career in many a direction before finding my feet. I have worked in many a function, technical, operations, support before settling down on what I think is what I want to do. 

That decision has not been easy. You see, my qualifications are different – as per my qualifications I should be doing something else. As per my experience, I should be doing something else. If one combines qualification and experience it is something else (whatever that is). 

There are no established rules for success - your qualifications need not hold you back at all. And the real world is all about such people. I am sure you have met such people. As much as it is great to have your interest building up your qualifications leading to your experience, it is also equally great to build your career with the bricks you find on your way.
 These are some examples I have encountered in my life. Think about it. A medical doctor friend of mine started working in a brokerage. No apparent connection. But he used his medical knowedge with his financial interest to focus analyzing pharma companies. A finance friend of mine went into medical sales and then onto travel. Again, he used his knowledge of finance with an interest in marketing to succeed. And you will find such entrants in many industries - changing the way the game is played - simply because they dont have "dogmas" that often come with qualifications and experience. On the contrary - their cross industry experience, often makes it easier for them to challenge status quo by asking, "if we could do it there, why can it be done here?"

But the key is to love what one is doing. Putting interest in the mix did not ring bells, until one fine day it happened (or so I felt). The trick for the interest question is perhaps (again, my experience), “Do I like doing this on a consistent basis.” YMMV, of course. Ask this question day in and day out as you reach your desk each Monday. Ask the question do you dread your week days or do you look forward to them? Do you feel stressed doing what you are doing or are you able to do it effortlessly (does not mean lazily). Does work feel like work or play? Do you wake up in the middle of the night with a Eureka idea or would you rather not wake up at all?

Point being, as we move roles, there is a good chance that it appears that the qualifications or experience are not adding up. So, if I am a technologist who is trying to get into something else, it is not about what you left behind, it is about what you are going toward. And in that journey, what you left behind is a sunk cost. It will help you, by and large, but don’t let it hold you back from trying out something new.Also, it appears that it wont add up, but you can make add up if you want it to. Making it all add up will add more juice, if you will, to your career.

Therefore, in your career, always think about this – It is not where you were, It is where you want to be.

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